The first Union Budget of the third decade of 21st century has been presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget has unveiled a series of far-reaching reforms, aimed at energizing the Indian economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures.
Emphasising on nutrition as a critical component of health, Sitharaman proposed to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes for the year 2020-21.
She drew attention to the ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ which was launched in 2017-18 to improve the nutritional status of children (0-6 years), adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The Union Minister further said that more than six lakh anganwadi workers had been equipped with smart phones to upload the nutritional status of more than 10 crore households, which was an unprecedented development.
Other Key Announcements-
Proposals for Startups
To promote a digital platform that would facilitate seamless application and capture of IPRs. A Centre is also proposed to be established in an Institute of Eminence for working on innovation in the field of Intellectual Property.
Knowledge Translation Clusters to be set up across different technology sectors including new and emerging areas.
Technology Clusters, with test beds and small scale manufacturing facilities for designing, fabrication and validation of proof of concept to be established.
Two National-level Science Schemes are to be initiated to create a comprehensive database of mapping India’s genetic landscape, given its criticality for next generation medicine, agriculture and bio-diversity management.
It is also proposed to provide early life funding, including a seed fund, to support ideation and development of early stage Start-ups.
Storage & Logistics
To promote storage infrastructure and reduce wastage of food grains Sitharaman proposed creation of warehouses through viability gap funding on a PPP mode at block level. She also proposed warehouse building by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) on their land too. As a backward linkage, Sitharaman proposed village storage scheme to be run by Self Help Groups (SHG). “Women, SHG’s shall regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi” said Nirmala Sitharaman.
To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat, Sitharaman said, “Indian Railways will set up Kisan Rail-through PPP arrangements. There shall be refrigerated coaches in express and freight trains as well”. “To help improve value realization especially in North-East and tribal districts Krishi Udaan will be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation” added the Finance Minister.
Recognizing the contribution of animal husbandry sector in farmer’s income, Sitharaman aimed to eliminate Foot and Mouth disease, brucellosis in cattles and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goat by 2025 and to increase coverage of artificial insemination from 30 percent to 70 percent. “we shall facilitate doubling of milk processing capacity from 53.5 million MT to 108 million MT by 2025” said Sitharaman.