The answer to deep structural problems in agriculture has to be structural as well!!
Our first prime minister has rightly said; “ Most things, except agriculture can wait”!!
Agriculture is the backbone of Indian Economy contributes to the overall economic growth of the country and determines the standard of life for more than 50% of the Indian population.
However, our agriculture sector faces lots of problems and thus accounts to about 14% to the overall GDP. These problems are
- Fragmented land holdings-
Nearly 80% of the 140 million farming families hold less than 2 acres of land. As the land holdings are small, more people invariably work on the farms in the rural areas and coupled with obsolete technology, as a result farm income comes down.
- Irrigation problem –
Most of the farming in India is monsoon dependent. The problem here is of proper management of water or the lack of it.
- Seed Problems
Most of the farms specially the poor and marginal ones-are dependent on seeds sold in the Market. Moreover, the HYV seeds as well as the GM seeds which promises higher yields forces the farmers to buy seeds for every crop.
- Sustainability Problems
Lack of proper understanding of the need to grow crops sustainably will push farmers into a vicious circle-of debts, heavy use of fertilizers, water mismanagement, low productivity and thus more debt for the next cycle.
- Supply channel bottlenecks and lack of market understanding
Food wastage running into thousands of crores of rupees every year is nothing short of crime in a country where more than 25 % is below poverty line.
Looking into the problems faced by our farmers, our present govt. has taken several measures to improve the conditions of our farmers and our agriculture systems. Some of these measures are
- PM Fasal Bima Yojana
Launched in 2016. Compensate farmers for any loss in crop yield
- E-Nam Protal
It connects farmers with buyers on online platform for trading commodities.
- E-Rakam Portal 2017
With this now farmers can sell their agricultural yields online
- Agri UDAAN 2017
To promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agricultural sector.
- Negotiable warehouse receipt in e-format
- Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund for building an efficient milk procurement system
- Gram Samvad Mobile App
It allows rural citizens to access information on and implementation of rural development scheme at panchayat level
- Bharat Net Project
- Rastriya Gokul Mission
- Loan Waiver in UP, Haryana, Maharastra by BJP govt.
Although the govt. has launched several schemes to benefit our farmers and increase our productivity and double the farm incomes by 2022, these plans are not much successful.
In the last 4 years, the level of real agricultural GDP and real agriculture revenues has remained as constant.
Farmer’s income has got compressed due to inadequate revision in support prices. They were hit hard by de-monetization, and GST is taking its toll due to slump in cotton textiles that it has caused. The govt. has done lot many things to improve the conditions of our farmers, but on ground the schemes are less benefited.
It is true that these problems cannot be solved over the night but based on our careful analysis; one can say that these steps are in right directions though implementation in most cases has been rather weak. Also we firmly believe that without agriculture champion schemes may fall much short of their promises and claims.
PMKSY was launched on July 1st, 2015; to give hark khet ko pani and improve water –use efficiency through more crop per drop. But the implementation of various components to this scheme depends on water resources, and rural development. However, a new mission directorate for PMKSY has been set up under the ministry of water resources.Out of 99 projects, 26 are in Maharashtra- they are beset by long delays and allegations of large scale of corruptions.
The idea of e-NAM was to enable buyers located in distant places to purchase agri-commodities from any mandi. So far 417 mandis located in 13 states are claimed to have been connected with a turnover of approx. 15605 cr. But inquiry says that there is no inter-mandi auction and there is no evidence that farmers have gained out of this.
The ambition of creating an all India agri-market is therefore still remains a distant dream. To sum up, although the Modi govt, has made right moves, its flagship schemes have not made much difference to lives of farmers so far.