Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema presented the state budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 on 10 March 2023, with a focus on agriculture, education, and health sectors. The budget size for this year is Rs 1,96,462 crore, an increase of more than 20%. The effective capital expenditure for the year has been set at Rs 11,727 crore. In this article, we will explore the budget allocation for the agriculture sector.
The budget for the fiscal year has allocated Rs 13,888 crore for agriculture, a 20% increase. To support the sector, a new policy is to be implemented, along with a revolving fund for buying basmati crop, a special cotton seed scheme and an insurance scheme called Bhaav Antar Bhugtan Yojna with an initial allocation of Rs 15 crore in FY 2023-24.
Cheema announced several schemes to benefit farmers, such as a market price risk mitigation scheme for the horticulture sector and the solarisation of agricultural pumps. PUNSEED sold traceable seeds, benefiting 50,000 farmers. In addition, 2,574 Kisan Mitras have been appointed to provide extension services in each village, and Rs 125 crore has been allocated for the assistance of Rs 1,500/acre for direct seeding of rice.
The budget proposes an allocation of Rs 100 crore to expand MILKFED’s procurement network in villages and to promote its products in both national and international markets. Furthermore, the Green Punjab Mission has been allocated Rs 258 crore to plant one crore saplings in 2023-24, and to develop 151 Nanak Bagichies and 68 Pavittar Van.
The 2023-24 Punjab state budget is geared towards enhancing the lives of farmers and protecting the environment. Allocations for agriculture have been increased, while new schemes and the expansion of initiatives such as the Green Punjab Mission and MILKFED are set to bring positive changes to the state.