Crypto Bill Likely to Miss Budget Session Export Incentives Likely

The Centre is unlikely to introduce the much -awaited cryptocurrency bill in the upcoming budget session of Parliament as it wants to hold more discussions and build consensus on the regulatory framework. The government also wants to wait for the pilot launch of Reserve Bank of India’s digital currency, expected in a few months.

“This will also involve support for exports to help India farmers establish markets for their products,” the official said.

Additional transport, marketing and branding incentives for exports covering diverse farm produce are likely.

Steps to strengthen the cooperative segment are also expected, with a new dedicated ministry in place.

The government is also eyeing incentives over and above the Rs10,900 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for food processing to promote the creation of relevant storage and logistics infrastructure. The gross value added (GVA) in the food processing sector was Rs2.24 lakh crore in FY20, contributing 1.7% of the total. The GVA in the food processing sector accounted for 11.38% of the GVA in agriculture and allied sectors.

The government wants this share to rise.

“Value addition and exports of farm produce can go a long way in securing more sustainable export growth, especially if we can reduce the dependence on exports of water-guzzlers such as rice,” said ICRA chief economist Aditi Nayar. A comprehensive support plan to help in income diversification for farmers dependent on a single crop through assistance via research and development as well as credit support is also under discussion, the official said. “Policies must priorities demand -driven activity. More importantly, the policies should now be made keeping in mind ‘global’ for each agri commodity and not just regional or local,” said Sachchidanand Shukla, chief economist, Mahindra & Mahindra.

He said it was time the processing industry was linked to retail, which would quicken farm-to-fork channels and put more money in farmers’ pockets. The government “must also hasten or incentivize investment in logistics, including cold storages,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a target of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022-23 in 2015-16, but the pandemic has made reaching that goal difficult.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in the budget for the current fiscal year, announced nine measures for the agriculture sector that included raising the farm credit target to Rs16.5 lakh crore.

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