The government is likely to increase the budget allocation for farm education, research and extension by up to 15 per cent to around Rs 8,000 crore in 2018-19 fiscal as focus will on making rapid strides in doubling farmers’ income, sources said. The Union Budget for 2018-19 will be presented on February 1. “There has been a minimum 10 per cent annual increase in the budget allocation for agri-education, research and extension purpose in last few years. We hope 15 per cent higher budget allocation would be made available for the DARE (Department of Agricultural Research and Education) for the next financial year,” the sources said. The funds will used on priority areas with an aim to address the country’s key farm sector problem and make rapid strides in the direction of doubling farmers’ income through use of technology and innovation, the sources added.
In the next fiscal, the DARE is planning to focus on using technology and agri-innovations in particularly 150 backward districts and build capacity of farmers in tribal areas. It is also considering initiating programmes on use of sensors in agriculture, build and transfer post-harvest technology, use of animal cloning for commercial application, genome editing in select crops and bio-fortification. For 2017-18 fiscal, the government had initially made an allocation of Rs 6,800 crore for the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) that functions under the Agriculture Ministry.
Additional funds has also been sanctioned through supplementary demand, taking the total budget to around Rs 7,000 crore for agri-research and extension activities for this year. Already, 90 per cent of the budget allocation released till third quarter of 2017-18 fiscal has been spent by the DARE, the rest will be done in the remaining period, the source added.