New Delhi ,
During the last four and a half years, several steps have been taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in the interest of farmers. “Farmers’ Welfare” is the primary goal of this government’s agricultural policy. For its implementation, increasing employment in agricultural sector and enhancing the income of farmers are the important factors. To achieve this, the government is trying to increase productivity, reduce cost, and prioritize crops with high value, reduce risks and make agriculture sustainable.
In order to achieve this, the budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector has been raised by 74% and the SDRF allocation has been almost doubled. Corpus funds have been created like Rs 5000 crore micro irrigation fund, Rs 10,081 crore for Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund, Rs 7550 Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF), Rs 2,450 crore for development of animal husbandry infrastructure and Rs 2,000 crore for the development of Rural Agricultural Market Infrastructure.
Many policy reforms have been carried out with the above financial provisions. For the first time, Soil Health Card is being provided to farmers on the basis of a national standard, e-NAM has been started to help farmers receive fair value of their produce and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna to cover the maximum risk of farmers’ crops based on the Scale of Finance by removing capping on minimum premium. Soil Health Card and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana for organic farming, Har Medh Par Ped for sustainable agriculture, ‘Per Drop More Crop’ with special emphasis on micro irrigation and restructured National Bamboo Mission.
In the last 4 years, agricultural credit flow has increased by 57% to Rs 11 lakh crore and interest subsidy has also been increased by one and half times to Rs 15,000 crore. To increase the income of the farmers, 546 FPO has been constituted by the SFAC besides State Governments and FPOs of NABARD during the tenure of Modi Government. For landless farmers, the Joint Liability Group has been increased from 6.72 lakh to 27.49 lakh.
In its efforts to double the income of the farmers by 2022, MSPs of 24 crops have been raised by 1.5 times of the production cost, thereby fulfilling the government’s promise. There has been an unprecedented increase of upto 15 times in purchase by the government through PSS, PSF and MIS schemes.
In order to make Indian agriculture competitive a new export policy been formulated and with various efforts of the Modi government, there has been 95% increase in export value of marine products, 84% rice, 77% fresh fruits, 43% fresh vegetables and 38% spices.
Farmers’ interests have also been protected by imposing import duty on oilseeds and pulses through quantitative restrictions.
Several amendments have been made in the APMC Act for the implementation of electronic trading. In addition, the new APLM Act, Land Leasing Act and the Contract Farming and Services Act have been issued to states for implementation.
Through advanced research in agriculture, 795 new crops with biofortification and resilient to climate change properties have been released to the farmers thereby enabling increase in productivity and enhancing the income of farmers. New colleges have been established for agriculture and veterinary education, number of seats has been raised, stipends for the students have also been increased. Besides, schemes like “Farmer First”, “Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav” and “ARYA” have been started for better coordination and interaction between agricultural scientists and farmers.
Besides crops, special attention has been paid to horticulture crops and agricultural related activities. For the promotion of indigenous breeds in the Indian climate, special emphasis is being given to Rashtriya Gokul Mission, sex-sorted semen, and the development of dairy infrastructure. Through the Blue Revolution, importance is being given to various dimensions of inland and maritime fisheries and also on the development of fisheries infrastructure. Simultaneously, beekeeping has been developed as additional source of income of farmers through Integrated Beekeeping Development Centers.
The success of the government’s plan and policies is reflected in the fact that in the year 2017-18, there was record foodgrain production of 284.83 million tonnes, record horticulture production of 306.82 million tonnes, pulses production increased by 40% to 25.23 million tons.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare is implementing the 7-point strategy developed under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and also recommended by Dr. Swaminathan ji, like Per Drop More Crop, provision of nutrients according to the soil quality of each farm, large investments in warehouses and cold chains to prevent post-harvest losses, promotion of value addition through food processing, e-NAM, introduction of crop insurance scheme at lower costs to mitigate the risk, and promotion of allied activities such as dairy-animal husbandry, poultry, beekeeping, Medh Per Ped, horticulture, and fisheries.
For agricultural processing, tomato, onion and potato clusters will be set up under the TOP scheme. New agri start ups and agri entrepreneurs are being encouraged. Necessary steps are being taken for creation of infrastructure of 22,000 rural haats. Setting up of cold chains and warehouses will be expedited. Focus on price and demand forecasting will enable farmers to choose which crop to sow in order to maximize benefit.