The agriculture sector is the backbone and crucial in our Indian economy that provides employment to 48.9 percent of the total workforce in India and contributes around 17-18 percent to the country's GDP. This year's budget can be a landmark in terms of agrarian policies and rural initiatives. Government will continue to keep emphasis for the growth of agriculture, focus more on the market reforms and to ensure that the farmers get a better price for the produce.
To ensure the advancement of the rural economy, the combination of strong agricultural regulations, ease of improving the source of non-farm incomes and thereby promoting rural employment schemes and good policy are especially important for the upgradation of rural sector.
The sector will attract more budgetary outlays from this budget. Reforms such as 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana', the delivery of remunerative prices to farmers, electronic trading facilities, boost to agro processing facilities, crop insurance will all aid in reviving of the sector and the income of the farmers.
Also, the focus of the budget should also be on dairy, fruit and vegetable items which have potential to grow 3-4 times. To meet the future challenges, government should create additional milk processing infrastructure to aid the scheme of doubling farmers' income.
The contribution of dairy and animal husbandry to the GDP is 30 percent of the agricultural share and also growth rate is as high as 14 percent. Dairy sector should be treated at par with the agriculture sector with more fund allocation during the budget, with attractive schemes where maximum people in rural India can grow. It should also enjoy the income tax exemption as the agriculture sector.
The writer is Chairman and Managing Director, Keventer Agro