New Delhi, February 2, 2024 – Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget 2024 in Parliament. This was an interim budget as it came just ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections. No changes were announced in the tax slabs in both old and new regime. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Nirmala Sitharaman for presenting a balanced budget.
This was Nirmala Sitharaman’s sixth Union Budget. The full-fledged budget will be presented by the new government that comes to power after the elections.
The interim budget – a short-term financial plan – seeks Parliament nod for a grant in advance to meet the government’s essential expenditure for the first four months of the new financial year.
Dr. A R Sharma, Chairman of the Ricela Group and Past President of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, has applauded the government’s initiative, “Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan,” outlined in the recent budget. Recognizing the pressing challenge of India’s heavy reliance on edible oil imports, which has escalated to nearly 60% in recent years, the industry has been advocating for the introduction of a National Mission for Edible Oils.
The Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan is a visionary initiative that aims to provide substantial financial support to boost oilseed production, ultimately reducing the nation’s dependence on imported edible oils. Currently, India imports around 150 lakh tons of edible oil, valued at over 1.35 lakh crore (17.25 billion USD) annually.
Expressing his appreciation, Dr. A.R. Sharma emphasized the importance of the initiative, which focuses on key oilseeds such as mustard, groundnut, sesame, soybean, and sunflower. The program includes critical aspects such as research for high-yielding varieties, the widespread adoption of modern farming techniques, establishment of market linkages, procurement, value addition, and crop insurance.
The primary objective is to reduce the current dependency on edible oil imports from 60% to 30% over the next five years.Dr A. R. Sharma-Chairman Ricela Group
Dr. Sharma revealed that the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India had appealed to the Hon’ble Finance Minister for adequate financial support to ensure the successful implementation of the Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan. The primary objective is to reduce the current dependency on edible oil imports from 60% to 30% over the next five years.
He further recommended encouraging private partnerships with companies involved in the Oilseed Extension program and research activities under the Central Government’s guidance. This collaborative approach is expected to complement government efforts and significantly contribute to the augmentation of oilseed production and productivity in the country.
Commending the government for its comprehensive approach, Dr. Sharma also acknowledged the introduction of a program supporting dairy and fisheries farmers.
This initiative reflects a holistic commitment to enhancing the overall agricultural sector and ensuring the well-being of farming communities. The Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan is poised to be a game-changer, fostering self-reliance and sustainability in India’s edible oil production.