New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech on Friday brought good news for artisans under the scheme of Fund for Upgradation and Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI).
Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government aims to set up more Common Facility Centres (CFCs) under the SFURTI for generating sustained employment opportunities. SFURTI envisions 100 new clusters in the year 2019-20 to facilitate 50,000 artisans in making the traditional industries more productive, profitable and capable of generating sustained employment opportunities.
The focused sectors would be bamboo, honey and khadi clusters. The scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) has been consolidated for setting up of Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) and Technology Business Incubators (TBIs).
The scheme aims at setting up 80 LBIs and 20 TBIs in 2019-20 to develop 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industry sectors.
The Finance Minister further said that fishing and fishermen communities are closely aligned with farming and are crucial to rural India. Through a focused scheme – the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) – the Department of Fisheries will establish a robust fisheries management framework.
This will address critical gaps in strengthening the value chain, including infrastructure, modernization, traceability, production, productivity, post-harvest management, and quality control.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to investing widely in agriculture infrastructure, the Minister said that government will support private entrepreneurship in driving value-addition to farmers’ produce from the field and those from allied activities, like Bamboo and timber from the hedges for generating renewable energy.
She said, “Annadata can also be Urjadata”. She also announced that 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations will be formed to ensure economies of scale for farmers over the next five years. Dairying through cooperatives shall also be encouraged by creating infrastructure for cattle feed manufacturing, milk procurement, processing & marketing.
On agricultural marketing, the Finance Minister said, “This government will work with state governments to allow farmers to benefit from e-NAM. The Agriculture Produce Marketing Cooperatives (APMC) Act should not hamper farmers from getting a fair price for their produce."
"Ease of doing business and ease of living both should apply to farmers too. We shall go back to basics on one count: Zero Budget Farming. We need to replicate this innovative model. Steps such as these can truly double our farmers’ income in time for our 75th year of Independence,” she added.