The Kisan Drones will be used for crop assessment, digitisation of land records and spraying of insecticides, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the Budget.

Nirmala Sitharaman in the foreground with picture of the Parliament in the background
Money Union Budget 2022 Tuesday, February 01, 2022 - 13:31
Written by  PTI

In a bid to modernise the agrarian sector in India, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, February 1 announced the ‘Kisan Drones’ scheme. This will also help promote chemical-free natural farming and public-private partnerships for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across the country during the financial year 2022-23, the minister said.

Presenting the Budget 2022-23 in Parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman said that inclusive development is one of the four priorities of the government moving forward. As part of the inclusive development, the government will promote the use of the Kisan Drones for crop assessment, digitisation of land records and spraying of insecticides.

The government will also facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD to finance agri start-ups and rural enterprises, she said. "This is to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprises relevant to the farm produce value chain," the FM said. The activities of these start-ups will include inter-area support for farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), machinery for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level, and technology including invitee base, she added.

The Finance Minister further said the government will promote chemical-free natural farming throughout the country with a focus on farmers' lands in five-kilometre wide corridors along the longer river Ganga in the first stage.

Read: Five river linking projects announced in Union Budget, consensus from states to be sought

To reduce the country's dependence on imports of edible oils, she said a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds will be implemented.

For the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers, she said the government will launch a scheme in PPP mode, with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agritech players and stakeholders of agri value chains.

Read: Budget 2022: Govt pushes for urban planning, clean public transport

States will also be encouraged to revise syllabi of agricultural universities to meet the needs of natural zero budget and organic farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition and management, she added.

On the procurement of agri-crops, the FM said the government's procurement of wheat and paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) during 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh tonnes from 163 lakh farmers. "Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be the direct payment of MSP value to their accounts," she said.

As 2023 has been announced as the International Year of Millets, the FM said the government will support post-harvest support for enhancing domestic consumption of millet products internationally.

The FM also said the government will bring in policies and required legislative changes to promote agroforestry and private forestry.

In addition, financial support will be provided to farmers belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who want to take up agroforestry, she added.