Chanakya IAS Academy Blog

  • The Union Government has taken a number of initiatives in the area of agricultural development and farmers’ welfare to boost the productivity and raise income of the farmers in the country.
  • These initiatives may be seen in the background of low agricultural growth, a fallout of two consecutive drought years. It is also evident from the facts and figure released by Central Statistical Office (CSO) which show that the agricultural growth rate is plummeting, causing much concern among policy makers.
  • The new initiatives taken by the government are aimed at correcting this distortion. Finance Minister in his budget speech stressed that there is a need to think beyond ‘food security’ and give farmers a sense of ‘income security’.
  • A number of programmes have been initiated and re-prioritised during the last two years by the government to augment the farm income.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:
    • It aims to develop organic clusters and make available chemical free inputs to farmers, and to improve soil health in the fields. It has opened a new era for organic production system by allocating separate funds for this purpose. The PKVY will be implemented through the State Governments.
    • Under the scheme groups of 50 or more farmers, having 50 acre land, would be motivated to take up organic farming. The government has increased the subsidy amount for the individual farmers to promote the use of bio-fertilizers
    • A special scheme has also been launched in North-Eastern region for promotion of organic farming and export of organic produce.
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana
    • The scheme has been launched to ensure the water security in the country with the aim of ‘Har Khet Ko Paani.
    • The scheme is based on three pronged strategy-
      • Creating source of assured irrigation.
      • Per drop-more crop.
      • Harnessing rain water at micro level through ‘jal-sanchay’ and ‘jal-sinchai’.
    • In this way, the scheme lays stress on end-to-end solutions in irrigation supply chain which includes water sources, distribution network and farm level application.
  • Deen Dayal Anyodaya Mission:
    • It has been announced for creation of job opportunities and durable assets to boost the rural economy in the country. Every block under drought and rural distress, will be taken up as an intensive block under the Mission. Intensive labour work will be undertaken in such blocks.
  • Soil Health Card Scheme:
    • Under the scheme, farmers will get information about nutrient level of the soil and thus will be able to make judicious use of fertilizers.
  • National Agriculture Market:
    • The agricultural markets are fragmented not only among the states but even at inter-state level into different market areas, each governed by separate Marketing Committee.
    • To overcome problems relating to this, the government has taken the initiative to set up a National Agriculture Market (NAM). For this purpose, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) is constantly in dialogue with states and UTs to carry out reforms in Agri Market Laws.
    • These reforms include, doing away with the concept of market area and enforcing single license which is valid across the state, single point levy of market fee and electronic auction as a mode of price discovery.
    • The DAC has also advise the States on taking fruits and vegetables out of the preview of APMC Act
    • With a view to enable a national market, it is proposed to use the Agri-Tech infrastructure to create a centrally provided common e-platform which will be deployed across the country.
  • National Gokul Mission:
    • It is an initiative under ‘National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy development’ (NPBBDD). It has been launched to conserve and develop indigenous bovine breeds in a focussed and scientific manner.
    • For this purpose, integrated cattle development centres named as ‘Gokul Grams’ will be developed. Gokul Grams will acts as Centre for Development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock.
  • Atal Pension yojana:
    • Under this scheme, farmers who have opened their bank account under the Jan-Dhan Yojana, can get benefits of monthly pension.
    • The scheme is applicable for citizens between the age group of 18 and 40 years.
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana:
    • The scheme has been launched from Kharif-2016 season in place of existing National Crop Insurance Scheme, which has some shortcomings like-
      • High premium for the farmers,
      • Reduced claims due to capping in premium,
      • Delay in payment of claims, its complex provisions etc.
    • Main features of PMFBY are:
      • The maximum limit of the farmers’ share of premium as token premium is capped at 2 per cent for Kharif crops, 1.5 per cent for Rabi crops and 5 per cent for annual commercial/horticultural crops. Remaining amount will be borne by the Government
      • Uniform premium for the crop in the country against the earlier different premium in different districts.
      • Claims on full sum insured.
      • Enhanced coverage of risks-coverage of additional risks of inundation risks, risks of post harvest losses.
      • Target to double the agri insurance coverage from 23 per cent to 50 per cent in 2 to 3 years.
      • Localised assessment at individual farm from area approach.
      • Use of technology like mobile, satellite etc in the accurate assessment of loss and early payment
  • Challenges in Implementation
    • The deceleration in the agriculture growth rate is mainly due to three reasons:
      • Inputs intensive farming like water and fertilizers.
      • Lack of infrastructural investment.
      • Lack of unified market.
    • The new initiatives by the government aim to redress above problems but there are some challenges which needs to be tackled:
      • To use the scarce resources optimally so that the dictum ‘per drop, more crop’ could be materialised.
      • Centrally sponsored schemes are to be financed as per the restructured way where, the State governments would be more involved in implementation of the scheme. So, success of a scheme depends on the States’ priority to that particular scheme.
      • The centralised approach adopted in the implementation of the schemes in a heterogeneous country with different agro climatic zones is a big challenge. The decentralised approach is needed for better results.
      • The benefits of various schemes are going to the owners of the landholdings and not to the operators (tenants). So tenancy reforms and modernisation of land records is a big challenge.
      • Low banking penetration in rural areas deprive the farmers of the benefits under various insurance schemes which reduces the risks in undertaking various agricultural activities.
      • Agricultural research is very important for the success of lab-to-land programme in the countryside. But agricultural research has been plagued by severe underinvestment and neglect.
      • Rural press, as community communication medium, has a great role to play in creating awareness among people. Hence, the extension and communication wing of different Agricultural Universities and at ICAR need strengthening.
  • Conclusion:
    • Given the significance of agriculture sector in the economy and society, the government of India has initiated several steps for its sustainable development and to enhance the income of the farmers in the country by way of improving soil fertility, improved access efficiency of irrigation, insurance cover to farmers and unified national agriculture market.
    • Different stakeholders have to be involved to put these initiatives into action in a sustainable mode. The challenges mentioned above may be addressed so that the expectations of the people may be fulfilled.

Question: There is a need to think beyond ‘food security’ and give farmers a sense of ‘income security’. In order to achieve it, government is reorienting its interventions in the farm and nonfarm sectors to augment the farmers’ income. Elucidate.

Source: Kurukshetra, June 2016

Read 327 times Last modified on Monday, 11 July 2016 17:04
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