New Delhi: The Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, held her fourth Pre-Budget Consultations with different stakeholder Groups from Agriculture & Agro Processing sectors in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21 here today.
The main areas of discussion during the meeting included agricultural marketing reforms, organic & Natural farming, Agricultural Commodity Markets & future trading, storage infrastructure for agricultural produce, animal husbandry, Agro processing industry, ideas for reducing food subsidy among others.
Along with the Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Shri Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Finance Secretary, Shri Rajeev Kumar, Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Economic Affairs, Shri Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General, India Council for Agri Research, Shri Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri U.P. Singh, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, Ms Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Shri Vasudha Mishra, Sp. Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation Ministry of Agriculture, Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT, Shri P.K. Das, Chairman, CBIC, Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, Shri Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.
During the meeting, representatives of the Agro-processing and Rural Development sectors submitted various suggestions to boost investment in agricultural sector and enhance market access to farmers. Significant suggestions received from the stakeholders included building brands of Indian agricultural products abroad, giving processing industry benefits/importance equivalent to agriculture, accelerate depreciation benefit to agri-processing industry, revamping of PMFBY, encouraging development of farm eco-system services and market intelligence systems; further tweaking of e-NAM, developing agro medicinal forestry, fiscal incentives for farmers with primacy to soil health, crop diversification vis-à-vis agro climatic suitability, revisiting of Food Security Act, incentives for promotion of organic farming, extending subsidy to the producers of green manure, bio-fertilisers & bio-pesticides and steps for promoting large scale production of compost by utilisation of urban solid waste. Representatives also felt the need for expansion of multi-dimensional research in Agriculture for development of new technologies and further suggested for promoting start-ups in institutes of the ICAR & Agriculture Universities for young agricultural students.
Representatives of different agriculture and rural development sector included Shri Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, CII National Committee on Agriculture and Food Processing Industry, Shri N. Satya Narayana, Chief Executive, National Cooperative Union of India, Shri Arun Deshpande, A.B. Grahak Panchayat, Shri Vipinbhai Patel, Executive Committee Member, South Indian Sugarcane Farmers Association, Shri Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samal, Shri Y. Sivaji, Honorary Chairman, Kisan Foundation, Shri Dinesh Kulkarni, Bharatiya kisan Sangh, Shri Manish Gupta, Director, (Strategy & Joint Venture), IFFCO, Shri Rajiv Palicha, Chairman, All India Spices Exporter Forum, Shri Samir Shah, Former Managing Director & CEO, NCDEX, Shri David Gandhi, Expert, Sloping Agriculture Land Technology (SALT), Shri Ashok Gulati, Infosys Chair Professor (ICRIER), Shri Ashwini Chhatre, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, Shri Randhir Chauhan, Part President, Irrigation Association of India, Shri Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy, Secretary General, Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, Shri Ashok Kumar Dalwai, CEO, National rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) and Shri Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD among many others.