India’s agriculture has grown progressive, rudimentary practices descending into oblivion
India’s agriculture is in an epoch-making era under the PM Sri Narendra Modi Ji. It is the phase where farmers are reaping the utmost benefit of numerous welfare measures and schemes without any hindrances. The incumbent government, since it assumed power, has unleashed revolutionary efforts to transform the country’s agriculture, from being a dependent to an AtmaNirbhar. And, to realise it, budgetary allocations have been tremendously improved over the last seven years, from Rs 21,933.50 crores in 2013-2014 to Rs 1,23, 017.57 crores in 2021-22, annually.
Farmers’ welfare has been the focal point of this government. Its agriculture policies have centered around the farmers enabling them to avail themselves without any hiccup and hurdle. To exemplify, for the first time in the history of India, farmers are receiving monetary assistance directly into their bank accounts under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, their damaged crops are compensated with PM FasalBima Yojana, fertility of soils has been improved through Soil Health Cards, debts have been abolished by equipping them Kisan Credit Card and many others. Of the set targets of 16 lakh crore, 0ver 14 lakh crore loans have already been disbursed via KCCs.
The MSPs for crops have been raised systemically to be commensurate with the input costs. And, the most effective strive has been the DBT in MSPs (Minimum Support Price) that got rid of the middle man and helped benefit the intended beneficiaries. A record number of procurements have been made through MSPs, and the same has been offered to other crops to induce crops diversification and opt high yielding crops.
The pandemic has not inhibited the government from extending monetary assistance, while the PM has explicitly stated in his pubic rallies how over 1.5 lakh crores were transferred even amidst the COVID pandemic.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare is working vigorously to set up 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) across the nation to facilitate the farmers to become entrepreneurs.
To reduce India’s dependence on the import of edible oil, cultivation of edible oils are promoted in the states that are favorable and more areas are brought under the cultivation of oil palm, with special emphasis in the North-Eastern region, under National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP). To this effect, a first-ever summit was organised in Assam to underscore the potential of the north-eastern states in substituting the nation’s reliance on edible oil. Oil palm areas are expanded and processing units are established.
The Ministry, in its latest decision, has initiated a step to spur production, fertility of soils and diversify crops, and to effectuate, free of cost hybrid seeds mini seeds kit is being distributed to over 8 crores farmers, in 343 targeted districts of 15 adaptable states. The thrust of PM Sri Narendra Modi Ji to make India’s agriculture self-reliant is being ascertained in the truest spirit.
These are not merely on paper but tangible on the ground, and I have endless real-life accounts to share on how farmers across the length and breadth of the nation are benefitted from farmers’ centric policies of the Modi government. The decision-making mechanisms have been decentralized while the space once reserved for the officials is opened to the farmers. Coconut Development Board now allowing a farmer to be its president is a validation of it.
The notion of Indian farmers being impoverished and in tatters with bulls and plough are no more the case. Farming has become progressive with the application of modern technologies and sophisticated support systems. Seeds with distinct features to endure climate change and combat malnutrition in India, developed by ICAR, was dedicated to the nation by the PM Sri Narendra Modi Ji. These 35 varieties of climate-resilient seeds will also help counter malnutrition.
MoUs with the private players was signed to make the farmers take an informed decision about the cultivation of precise crops and in a specified time, resulting in higher yield. The farmers will be provided logistics and procurement support, enabling them to choose the just market for a better price.
Over 1000 Mandis have been assimilated into e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) in 18 states and 3 union territories, mitigating the volatility in the markets, and giving access to a unified market. Further, Kisal Rail has shrunk inaccessibility, expanded the market and is delivering agri-produce fresh from the farms to the customers, in the shortest time possible.
Agriculture is imbued with contemporary technologies and the rudimentary practices are descending into oblivion. Professionals are stepping in farming with expertise, energy and eagerness and making value addition to crops; exploring international markets. Advanced mechanisation such as artificial intelligence, drones, robots remote sensing and GIS technology will be employed under the digital agriculture mission that has been set in for 2021-25. Database of 5.5 crore farmers have been created, their land records linked and exercise to generate a unique farmer’s ID kicked off.
Organic farming has been popularised, and those who have left a mark in agriculture are recognised and accorded top civilian awards. The government has bestowed several female farmers with India’s top awards who have refashioned farming and galvanised others with their sustainable techniques.
Prominence has been given to all crops that can supplement sustainable farmings and traditional farming methods are countenanced. One district one product is an ambitious scheme to identity at least one agri-product with export potential from each district of the country, to make it available in the international market. To our wonder, Nagaland’s Raja Mircha is sold in London, Jackfruits from Tripura are exported to Germany and London, Red Rice of Assam is available in the US whereas Jamun from Kanpur, UP are for grabs in the UK, a novel exercise in the history of the country’s agriculture.
In my state review meetings, held with respective states, to smoothen the coordination amongst the numerous departments of the centre and states, have categorically stated to form a separate cell to cater for the export demand of agri-products. The government’s bitter decision has born fruitful results, and the exemplification of this was witnessed in J&K. In the last visit, there, I had the chance to converse with the local farmers and apprise myself of the prospects of the region’s agriculture. The region produces world-famous saffron, and its cherries are making their way to foreign markets. The government is offering every possible help to the farmers of J&K in doubling their incomes and for this Kesar Park is being made operational. With this, saffron which was sold once for one lakh is now being sold at two and a half lakh rupees per kg.
India has taken to global forum to bring to fruition its predetermined goal to double the income of farmers and has got its resolution of observing the year 2023 as the ‘International Years of Millets,’ ratified by the United Nation. This nutrient-rich crop, once termed as a poor man crop, is carving a space in the global market. The peculiarity of this crop is that it has a little water precondition and can be grown in semi-arid land.
The list can go on to affirm our resolve of an AtmaNirbhar Krishi and welfare of our Annadatas and corroborate Modi hain to Mumkinhain.
The writer is Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare