Sitharaman meets reps of CII, IFFCO, NABARD, NRAA & more; Talks agri sector & agro processing

New Delhi: The Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, held her fourth Pre-Budget Consultations with different stakeholder groups from agriculture & agro processing sectors in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21 here today. Earlier today, FM Sitharaman met with representatives of CIL, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIWE, FIEO and other industry organisations to discuss trade & services.

Yesterday, FM Sitharaman also met with representatives of IIM, ISB, Apple, Paytm, Jio and others to discuss fintech, startups and digital economy, and later with reps of RBI, SBI, SEBI, ICICI, PNB and others to discuss the financial sector & capital markets.

The main areas of discussion during today’s meeting included agricultural marketing reforms, organic & natural farming, agricultural commodity markets & future trading, storage infrastructure for agricultural produce, animal husbandry, agro processing industry, and ideas for reducing food subsidy, among others.

During the meeting, representatives of the agro-processing and rural development sectors submitted various suggestions to boost investment in the agricultural sector and enhance market access to farmers.

Significant suggestions received from the stakeholders included building brands of Indian agricultural products abroad, giving processing industry benefits/importance equivalent to agriculture, accelerate depreciation benefit to agri-processing industry, revamping of PMFBY, encouraging development of farm eco-system services and market intelligence systems; further tweaking of e-NAM, developing agro medicinal forestry, fiscal incentives for farmers with primacy to soil health, crop diversification vis-à-vis agro climatic suitability, revisiting of Food Security Act, incentives for promotion of organic farming, extending subsidy to the producers of green manure, bio-fertilisers & bio-pesticides and steps for promoting large scale production of compost by utilisation of  urban solid waste.

Representatives also felt the need for expansion of multi-dimensional research in Agriculture for development of new technologies and further suggested promoting startups in institutes of the ICAR & Agriculture Universities for young agricultural students.

Along with the Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Finance Secretary, Rajeev Kumar, Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Economic Affairs, Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General, India Council for Agri Research,  Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, U.P. Singh, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Vasudha Mishra, Sp. Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation Ministry of Agriculture, Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT, P.K. Das, Chairman, CBIC, Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.

Representatives of different agriculture and rural development sector included Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, CII National Committee on Agriculture and Food Processing Industry, N. Satya Narayana, Chief Executive, National Cooperative Union of India, Arun Deshpande, A.B. Grahak Panchayat, Vipinbhai Patel, Executive Committee Member, South Indian Sugarcane Farmers Association, Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman,  Bharat Krishak Samal, Y. Sivaji, Honorary Chairman, Kisan Foundation, Dinesh Kulkarni, Bharatiya kisan Sangh, Manish  Gupta, Director, (Strategy & Joint Venture), IFFCO, Rajiv Palicha, Chairman, All India Spices Exporter Forum, Samir Shah, Former Managing Director & CEO, NCDEX, David Gandhi, Expert, Sloping Agriculture Land Technology (SALT), Ashok Gulati, Infosys Chair Professor (ICRIER), Ashwini Chhatre, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, Randhir Chauhan, Part President, Irrigation Association of India, Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy, Secretary General, Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, Ashok Kumar Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) and Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD among many others.

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The ID Staff

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