Agriculture Sector Growing At 4.6 Per Cent: Economic Survey
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that agriculture sector has been witnessing robust growth with an average annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent over the last six years, enabling agriculture and allied activities sector to contribute significantly towards country’s overall growth, development and food security.
“In recent years the country has emerged as the net exporter of agricultural products, with exports in 2021-22 touching a record USD 50.2 billion,” the minister said.
She said that the government has been increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all 22 Kharif, Rabi and other commercial crops with a margin of at least 50 per cent over the all-India weighted average cost of production since the agricultural year 2018-19. Relatively higher MSP was given to pulses and oilseeds in order to keep pace with the changing dietary patterns and achieve the goal of self-sufficiency.
She said that the centre has set a target of INR18.5 lakh crores in agricultural credit flow in 2022-23. The Government had consistently increased this target every year and it has also been able to continuously surpass the target set every year over the past several years. “In 2021-22, it was about 13 per cent more than the target of ?16.5 lakh crores,” the minister added.
The Survey also points out that 11.3 crore farmers received income support from the government under the April-July 2022-23 cycle of PM KISAN. The scheme, over the past three years has provided assistance worth more than INR 2 lakh crores to the needy farmers.
“Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna is currently the largest crop insurance scheme in the world in terms of farmer enrolments, averaging 5.5 crore applications every year and the third largest in terms of the premium received,” noted the survey.
During the last six years of its implementation, farmers paid a premium of ?25,186 crore and received claims amounting to ?1.2 lakh crore (as of 31 October 2022). The Survey notes that the acceptability of the scheme amongst the farmer can be ascertained from the fact that the share of non-loanee, marginalised, and small farmers have increased by 282 per cent since the scheme’s inception in 2016.
Meanwhile, country’s foodgrains production touched a record 315.7 million tonnes in 2021-22 despite climate change challenges. As per the First Advance Estimates for 2022-23 (Kharif only), total foodgrains production in the country is estimated at 149.9 million tonnes which is higher than the average Kharif foodgrain production of the previous five years (2016-17 to 2020-21). The production of pulses has also been notably higher than the average of 23.8 million tonnes in the last five years points the Survey.
The Survey described that the food management programme in India comprises procurement of food grains from farmers at remunerative prices, distribution of food grains to consumers, particularly the vulnerable sections of society, at affordable prices and maintenance of food buffer stock for food security and price stability. The government in a recent decision has decided to provide free foodgrains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 for one year from January 1, 2023.