In her maiden Budget presented before the Parliament on Friday, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman talked a lot about rural development, but the word cooperative or cooperative banks were conspicuously missing as if they played no role in rural areas.
Instead of cooperative, the Union Minister stressed the role of private entrepreneurships and said they may help in driving value-addition to farmers’ produce from the field. She, however, announced that 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations will be formed to ensure economies of scale for farmers over the next five years.
The only time she mentioned the word cooperative was in the context of dairy.” Dairying through cooperatives shall also be encouraged by creating infrastructure for cattle feed manufacturing, milk procurement, processing & marketing”, she said.
Another important issue in her speech was boosting fisheries, though she did not mention the role of co-operative in this sector. “Through the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), a robust fisheries management framework would address critical gaps in strengthening the value chain, including infrastructure, modernization, etc”, she said. She depended more on govt fisheries dept than the fisheries co-ops in her speech.
She also mentioned Zero Budget Farming and said we need to replicate this innovative model.
More than agriculture this budget focused on fisheries, dairy and allied activities, like Bamboo and timber from hedges for generating renewable energy. She said, “Annadata can also be Urjadata”.
The Budget talks of setting 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 but it does not clarify if the cooperative has any role in this to play.
Major Highlights related to rural sector
Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship’ (ASPIRE) consolidated.
80 Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) and 20 Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) to be setup in 2019-20.
75,000 entrepreneurs to be skilled in agro-rural industry sectors.
Private entrepreneurships to be supported in driving value-addition to farmers’ produce from the field and for those from allied activities.
Dairying through cooperatives to be encouraged by creating infrastructure for cattle feed manufacturing, milk procurement, processing & marketing.
10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations to be formed, to ensure economies of scale for farmers.
Government to work with State Governments to allow farmers to benefit from e-NAM.
Zero Budget Farming in which few states’ farmers are already being trained to be replicated in other states.