Prime Minister Narendra Modi The Union Budget 2023-24 on Friday said the focus of the Union Budget 2023-24 is on the agriculture sector, as in the last 8-9 years, and steps are being taken to reduce India’s import dependence on oilseeds and edible oils. Addressing a post-budget webinar with stakeholders from the agriculture and cooperative sectors, the Prime Minister said India’s agriculture budget has grown manifold to Rs 1.25 lakh crore. He said, before we came to power in 2014, the budget for the agriculture sector was less than Rs 25,000 crore. Today the agriculture budget of the country is more than Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Modi said that all the recent budgets were called the budget of ‘Gaon, Garib and Kisan’. He said that the Indian agriculture sector was in crisis for a long time after independence and due to this the country had to depend on foreign countries for food security. The Prime Minister also gave some examples of the expenditure incurred for importing agricultural products.
Full emphasis on promoting pulses and oilseeds production
He said that Rs 17,000 crore has been spent for import of pulses, Rs 25,000 crore for import of value added food products and Rs 1.5 lakh crore for import of edible oils in 2021-22. Modi said that the sum of agricultural imports was around Rs 2 lakh crore. He said that the government is working in mission mode to promote domestic production of pulses and oilseeds. He said that India spends about Rs 1.5 lakh crore on the import of edible oil. The Prime Minister also highlighted that the budget is focused on agri-tech startups and has also proposed a fund to allocate funds for these. He said that the number of startups in the agriculture sector has increased from almost negligible nine years back to more than 3,000 now. Modi also said that a new revolution is taking place in the cooperative sector. Cooperative sector was earlier limited to only a few states but now it is being expanded all over the country. This was the second webinar addressed by the Prime Minister. On Thursday, he spoke in detail on the topic of green growth. In all, he is scheduled to address 12 such webinars till March 11.
India is exporting many types of food items
He appreciated the farmers for changing the agriculture scenario by making the country self-reliant and said that today we are also able to export a variety of food items. Modi said, today India is exporting many types of agricultural products. The Prime Minister said that unless the challenges related to the agriculture sector are addressed, the goal of all-round development cannot be achieved. He also stressed on the use of drones to give instant updates about weather changes. Referring to the International Millet Year, the Prime Minister said that its international recognition is opening the doors of the global market for Indian farmers. Modi said, the country has now identified millets as ‘Shri Anna’ in this budget. He said that Shree Anna will benefit our small farmers and at the same time the possibilities of development of startups in this sector will also increase.
Relief from TDS deduction
He said TDS (tax deducted at source) will not be levied on cash withdrawals by cooperative societies up to Rs three crore. Webinars are being organized by various ministries and departments to take forward the ‘Saptarishi’ priorities mentioned in the Union Budget 2023-24. An official statement earlier this week said the idea of a post-budget webinar was mooted by the prime minister to bring all stakeholders together to synergize the implementation of budget announcements. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the general budget in the Lok Sabha on February 1.