India: Agritech Companies Implore Government to Bolster Infrastructure
The Union Budget 2019 is just around the corner. The newly-appointed finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her first Union Budget on July 5, 2019. One of the biggest areas of focus this time will be the budget allocation for agriculture. Catering to the needs of more than 60% of the population dependent on agricultural income (according to the 2011 Census), the Indian agritech ecosystem has seen a lot of innovation and disruption. But with union budget for agriculture sector, the agritech startups in India would be looking for hopes of better opportunities in the next five years, reports Meha Agarwal of Inc42.
The interim Union Budget from February 2019 presented by the then finance minister Piyush Goyal was termed as a ‘macro budget’ with regards to the Indian agricultural sector, besides the agritech ecosystem didn’t get the required focus as well.
The focus of the budget was mainly on:
- Digital transformation of over one lakh villages
- Providing a sense of social security to the Indian farmer by promising them a “stable income” of INR 6,000 per family per year
- Assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) in case of natural calamities
- Reiterating the commitment to double farmers’ income by 2022
As seen, the interim union budget for agriculture sector did not mention any specific measures for the agritech startups. However, agritech startups have continued to add fresh perspectives and ideas to help farmers solve problems at the grassroots, by leveraging technology. There has been innovation in the area of market connections, retail, B2C and B2B marketplaces, and digital economy platforms for farmers.