Agriculture credit target goes up to Rs 20 lakh crore; Focus on livestock health and disease control programme in allocation
The animal husbandry sector received a boost in the Union Budget 2023-24 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman February 1, 2023. Allocations to the sector increased by almost 40 per cent, compared to the revised estimates of the financial year (FY) 2022-23.
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying received an allocation of Rs 4,327.85 crore, an increase from Rs 3,105.17 crore in 2022-23 revised estimates.
A significant part of the total allocation went to the livestock health and disease control programme — Rs 2,349.71 crore. The country, for the last three years, has been reeling under the effect of two deadly livestock diseases — Lumpy Skin Disease and African Swine Fever.
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Allocation under the scheme witnessed an increase of 69 per cent. The allocation under it in FY2022-23 was Rs 1,390.02 crore.
The livestock sector was also reeling under a severe fodder crisis, with farmers facing a shortage of dry fodder.
Funds under the programme are kept for supplementing the activities of the state governments for sustainable livestock health by providing central assistance under various immunisation, skill development and the creation of veterinary infrastructure.
The provision also included grants to the Veterinary Council of India and state veterinary councils.
The National Livestock Mission, meant for sustainable development of the livestock sector, especially cattle, ruminants and other small livestock, was allocated Rs 410 crore.
Substantial allocations are essential to give a boost to the increasing contribution of the livestock sector to economic growth. The sector grew at a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 per cent to 2020- 21 from 2014-15 at constant prices.
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Sithraman, in her Budget speech, said:
An agriculture credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries.
Meanwhile, the Department of Fisheries also saw an increase in allocation by 38.4 per cent.
Sitharaman also announced the launch of a new sub-scheme of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana with a targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore to enable further activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro and small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies and expand the market.
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