Government has constituted a Screening Committee on leveraging agriculture innovations for farmer to facilitate combined implementation on pilot scale of selected technologies/interventions by Private companies/startups to develop and refine products based on field-level observations, data and inferences for a fixed period.
Further, government has built Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture as an open source, open standard at interoperable public goods as per budget announcements for the 2023-24. In this regards, Architecture of three core registries i.e. Farmer registry, Geo referencing of village map registry, crop sown registry has been finalized. These registries can be used to develop various farmers centric solutions by the state governments as well as private sector entities.
Expenditure Finance Committee has approved a Central Sector Scheme for blended Capital Support to finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise relevant for Farm Produce Value Chain.
Looking into the unique advantages of Drone technologies in agriculture, the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use of drones in pesticide and nutrient application in public domain in December 2021, which provide concise instructions for effective and safe operations of drones. In order to make this technology affordable to the farmers and other stakeholders of this sector, financial assistance @ 100% for purchase of agricultural drones and its attachments (actual cost of expenditure and its attachments or Rs. 10.00 lakhs, whichever is lower) together with the contingent expenditure is extended under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) to the Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and @ 75% to FPO’s for its demonstration on the farmer’s fields. In order to provide agricultural services through drone application, financial assistance @ 40% of the basic cost of drone and its attachments or Rs. 4 lakhs, whichever is less also provided for drone purchase by existing and new Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) and also a general category farmers and @ 50% of the basic cost of drone and its attachments or Rs. 5 lakhs for SC/ST/women/small and marginal farmers and the agriculture graduates.
A component called “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” has been launched under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY-RAFTAAR) in 2018-19 with the objective of promoting innovation and agri-entrepreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem. Under this programme, start-ups are encouraged to use innovative technologies to resolve challenges faced in agriculture and allied sectors. A total of 1176 start-ups have been selected in various areas of agriculture and allied sectors under this programme for providing financial support through Knowledge Partners and Agri Business Incubators appointed by the Department for implementation of this programme.
The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has been supporting Agri-based startups under the project called National Agriculture Innovation Fund (NAIF) initiated in year 2016-2017. It has two components viz. (I) Innovation Fund; (II) Incubation Fund and National Coordinating Unit (NCU):
Component I: 10 Zonal Technology Management Units and 89 Institute
Technology Management Units (ITMUs) established in 99 ICAR institutes provide a single-window mechanism to manage innovations, showcase intellectual assets, and pursue matters related to intellectual property (IP) management and transfer/commercialization of technologies in these institutes.
Component II: Agri-business Incubator Centres (ABICs) are set up to speed up the delivery of the new technologies to stake holders. The ABICs are the nodal point to provide the desired link for Agriculture Research &Development (R&D) Institutions for incubation/ commercialization of the validated technologies. So far, 50 Agri-Business Incubation Centers have been established and are operational in the ICAR network under the NAIF scheme.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.