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Union Budget 2019: Empowering 75,000 Agro-rural Entrepreneurs, Will They Get Market To Sell?

The government is eyeing to train 75, 000 skilled entrepreneurs in the agro-rural industry via multiple incubation centres and Industry has welcomed the move. Will they be able to provide them the market questions farmers’ group representatives?

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The Union Budget 2019 has not left any stone unturned for employment generation.  It seems to have gone the whole hog to develop rural India. The budget clearly aims at it and it appears the same way Considering the fact that majority of people still live in villages and depend on agriculture and traditional industries, the “Scheme of Fund for Upgradation and Regeneration of Traditional Industries’ (SFURTI) aims to set up more Common Facility Centres (CFCs) to facilitate cluster-based development to make the traditional industries more productive, profitable and capable for generating sustained employment opportunities. The focused sectors are Bamboo, Honey, and Khadi clusters.”

In the budget speech, the Finance Minister had also mentioned that “The SFURTI envisions setting up 100 new clusters during 2019-20 which should enable 50,000 artisans to join the economic value chain.” FM also focussed on the improvement of the sector, “to improve the technology of such industries, the Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry, and Entrepreneurship’ (ASPIRE) has been consolidated for setting up of Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) and Technology Business Incubators (TBIs).” The Scheme contemplates to set up 80 Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) and 20 Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) in 2019-20 to develop 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industry sectors.

Said KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India: “The most important announcement on the agriculture front in the 2019-20 budget is the announcement to create 75,000 skilled agri. entrepreneurs. This will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in rural India and will give the agriculture sector that was believed to be dependent only on  'Hand-Outs" a huge boost and encourage "Hand-Up". The emphasis on creating more Public-Private partnerships in creating agri-businesses would go a long way as there are many successful models available in the private sector”.

Chairman emeritus of UPL, Rajnikant D Shroff looks at the budget as a document for inclusive development and growth of nations and specially start-ups be it agriculture or other rural areas. Shroff says, “This budget clearly came up with greater emphasis on the investment in creating infrastructure, connectivity, digitization, encouraging start-ups to take the risk in entrepreneurship, and social developments the agriculture and industry will be beneficiaries.

Another industrialist, R.G. Agarwal chairman of Dhanuka Agrotech says “Promoting skill development in these industries (100 clusters) with 80 livelihood business incubators will make traditional economies more productive.

Talking to BW Businessworld, Anil Ghanwat, president of Shetkari Sangthna (Joshi group) pinpoints the real issue, “It is a most welcome move by the government a skilled professional is always a gift to society.”  Besides, I doubt that they will be able to sell what they will produce? What will they do when there are no market reforms? How will they repay their loans?”

The industry is welcoming the move but it will be a real challenge for the government to get market for these 75, 000 skilled entrepreneurs.    

Ravi of Syngenta added that the second important announcement was around creating 10,000 more Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). “The only watch-out here would be to look more closely on the implementation as many of the FPOs created thus far have not been able to achieve the very objective of improving the collective bargaining power of the farming community. The focus on imparting more professionalism would ensure that the FPOs are successful and here again the experience of the private sector can be harnessed in the PPP mode”.

Tags assigned to this article:
Union budget 2019-20 agriculture