Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, an Indian agronomist, agricultural scientist, expert in plant genetics, administrator, and humanitarian, was born on August 7, 1925. Swaminathan is a pioneer of the green revolution on a global scale. Because of his initiative and contribution to the introduction and advancement of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties, he has been dubbed the primary architect of the green revolution in India. Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug’s joint scientific efforts, supported by public policies, led a mass movement with farmers and other scientists to prevent famine-like conditions in India and Pakistan in the 1960s. He was given the first World Food Prize in 1987, regarded as the Nobel Prize or the highest honours in agriculture, thanks largely to his leadership as the Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. He has earned the moniker “the Father of Economic Ecology” from the United Nations Environment Programme.
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About M.S. Swaminathan
With respect to potato, wheat, and rice, Swaminathan made fundamental research contributions in cytogenetics, ionising radiation, and radiosensitivity. He served as the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s President as well as the Pugwash Conferences’ President (IUCN). He appeared on TIME magazine’s list of the “20 Most Influential Asian People of the 20th Century” in 1999 alongside Eiji Toyoda, the Dalai Lama, and Mao Zedong as one of three Indians, together with Gandhi and Tagore. Swaminathan has won numerous honours and awards, including the Albert Einstein World Science Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award. In 2004, he served as the chairman of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF), which made extensive recommendations for enhancing India’s agricultural system. He is the creator of a research foundation by the same name. In order to describe his idea of “productivity in perpetuity without associated ecological harm”, he coined the phrase “Evergreen Revolution” in 1990. Between 2007 and 2013, he was nominated for one term in the Indian Parliament. He introduced a bill for the recognition of women farmers in India while he was in office, but it was not passed.
Early Life of M.S. Swaminathan
On August 7, 1925, Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. He was the second child of Parvati Thangammal Sambasivan and general surgeon Dr. M. K. Sambasivan. Young Swaminathan was cared for by his father’s brother following the death of his father when he was 11 years old. In addition to attending a local high school, Swaminathan also attended the Catholic Little Flower High School in Kumbakonam, where he graduated at the age of 15. His extended family raised rice, mangoes, and coconuts as well as other crops like coffee, so he was exposed to farming and farmers from an early age. He observed how the crop price fluctuations affected his family, as well as the destruction that weather and pests could wreak on crops and livelihoods. His parents encouraged him to go to medical school. In light of this, he chose zoology as the foundation of his higher education. However, after seeing the effects of the 1943 Bengal famine during the Second World War and the shortages of rice across the sub-continent, he made the decision to dedicate the rest of his life to making sure India had enough food. He chose agriculture despite coming from a family of farmers and living in a time when careers in engineering and medicine were seen as much more prestigious.
Later, he completed his zoology undergraduate degree at Maharaja’s College in Trivandrum, Kerala (now known as University College, Thiruvananthapuram at the University of Kerala). From 1940 to 1944, he studied at the University of Madras (then known as the Madras Agricultural College, now known as the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural science. He also took classes from agronomy professor Cotah Ramaswami at this time. To pursue his studies in genetics and plant breeding, he relocated to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi in 1947. In 1949, he earned a postgraduate degree in cytogenetics with high distinction. He conducted research on the Solanum genus, paying particular attention to the potato. Due to social pressures, he took part in the civil service exams and was subsequently chosen for the Indian Police Service. A genetics fellowship from UNESCO in the Netherlands presented itself to him at the same time as a chance in the agricultural sector. He went with genetics.
Between the years 2002 and 2005, he co-chaired the United Nations Millennium Project on Hunger. From 2002 to 2007, he served as the director of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Dr. Swaminathan was described by Bruce Alberts, President of the United States National Academy of Sciences, as follows in 2005: “At 80, M.S. retains all the energy and idealism of his youth, and he continues to inspire good behaviour and more idealism from millions of his fellow human beings on this Earth. For that, we can all be thankful “. India being free of hunger by 2007 was Swaminathan’s goal.
He served as the National Commission on Farmers’ chair since its establishment in 2004. Swaminathan was nominated by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the Rajya Sabha in 2007. During his time in office, Swaminathan introduced only one bill, the Women Farmers’ Entitlements Bill of 2011, but it was never passed. Recognising women farmers was one of its suggested goals. Evergreen Revolution is a term introduced by Swaminathan to address the ongoing increase in sustainable productivity that humanity needs. It is based on the green revolution’s enduring influence. It is “productivity with perpetuity,” as he put it. In his later years, he also participated in initiatives to close the digital divide and inform policymakers about research in the areas of hunger and nutrition.
Career Profile of M.S. Swaminathan
M.S. Swaminathan has a very unique and diverse career profile, he has worked in many different countries and for different organisations.
Netherlands and Europe
He spent eight months as a UNESCO fellow at the Institute of Genetics at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands. Old-fashioned crop rotations were altered as a result of the demand for potatoes during World War II. This led to infestations of the golden nematode in some places, including reclaimed agricultural lands. Swaminathan worked on modifying genes to increase resistance to such parasites and extreme cold. Thus, the research was successful. The university had an ideological impact on his later research into food production in India. He also visited the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research during this period, which would have a lasting impact on him because he would return ten years later and observe the Germans’ transformation.
He relocated to study at the University of Cambridge School of Agriculture’s Plant Breeding Institute in 1950. His dissertation, “Species Differentiation, and the Nature of Polyploidy in Certain Species of the Genus Solanum – section Tuberarium,” earned him a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1952. The following Christmas, he spent a week with F.L. Brayne, a former member of the Indian Civil Service whose encounters with rural India had an impact on Swaminathan in his older life.
United States of America
Swaminathan then travelled to the United States and stayed there for 15 months. To assist in establishing a USDA potato research station, he accepted a post-doctoral research associateship at the University of Wisconsin’s Laboratory of Genetics. Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel laureate, was a faculty member in the lab at the time. In December 1953, his associateship came to an end. Swaminathan was given the opportunity to join the faculty, but he declined. He still wanted to change things in his native India.
Early in 1954, he made his way back to India. There were no jobs available in his field, and it took him three months to be offered a temporary position as an assistant botanist at the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack through a former professor. He was a participant in Krishnaswami Ramiah’s Indica-japonica rice hybridization programme in Cuttack. His subsequent work with wheat would be influenced by this experience. He began working as an assistant cytogeneticist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi in October 1954, a half-year later. When 70% of India was dependent on agriculture, Swaminathan criticised India for importing food grains. More instances of drought and famine-like conditions were emerging in the nation.
Together with Swaminathan, Borlaug travelled to India and sent supplies for a variety of Mexican dwarf wheat varieties that would be crossed with Japanese varieties. An experimental plot’s initial testing produced promising results. The crop was disease-free, high-yielding, and of excellent quality. Farmers were hesitant to use the new variety because of its unsettlingly high yields. Following Swaminathan’s repeated requests for funding to plant small demonstration plots of the new variety, he was granted it in 1964. On one hectare, 150 demonstration plots in all were planted. The farmers’ worries subsided as a result of the encouraging results. To better fit the conditions in India, the grain underwent additional modifications in the lab. Following the sowing of the new wheat varieties, production in 1968 increased by 5 million tonnes, to 17 million tonnes, from the previous harvest. In 1971, the Indian government proclaimed that the country produced enough food on its own. Swaminathan and India could now address more pressing issues relating to nutrition, hunger, and food access. He worked for IARI from 1954 to 1972.
Administrator & Educator
Swaminathan was appointed as the Secretary to the Government of India as well as the Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1972. He was appointed Principal Secretary in 1979, a senior position in the Indian government, which was unusual for a scientist. He was transferred to the Planning Commission the following year. He promoted technical literacy as Director-General of ICAR and established centres for it all over India. In order to prevent the poor from going hungry, he formed groups during this time of drought to monitor weather and crop patterns. His two-year stint at the Planning Commission led to the inclusion of women’s and the environment’s role in development in India’s five-year plans.
He was appointed the International Rice Research Institute’s (IRRI) first Asian Director General in 1982. He remained there up until 1988. He organised an international conference on “Women in Rice Farming Systems” as one of his contributions while working here. Swaminathan received their first award from the American Association for Women in Development for “outstanding contributions to the integration of women in development” as a result of this. As Director General, he educated rice-growing families on the importance of valuing every component of the rice crop. The first World Food Prize was given to him thanks to his leadership at IRRI. He was elected President and Vice-President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) in 1984.
He received the first World Food Prize in 1987. The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation was founded with the help of prize money. Swaminathan spoke of the rising hunger despite an increase in food production as he accepted the award. He mentioned the fear of “power and resources” being shared, as well as the fact that the goal of a world free from hunger is still unfulfilled. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Frank Press, President Ronald Reagan, and others commended him in their letters. After Borlaug, Swaminathan would lead the World Food Prize Selection Committee. He began teaching cytogenetics, radiation genetics, as well as mutation breeding at ICAR in the late 1950s. Several Borlaug-Ruan interns who were a part of the international internship programme were mentored by Swaminathan.
At the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Swaminathan founded the Nuclear Research Laboratory (NRL). He contributed to and supported the establishment of the International Council for Research in Agro-Forestry (ICRAF) in Kenya, the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in Italy, and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India. He provided support for research and helped establish a number of institutions in China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, and Cambodia.
Scientific Works of M.S. Swaminathan
Swaminathan made a significant contribution in the 1950s by explaining and analysing the origins and evolutionary processes of the potato. He explained how it developed into an autotetraploid and how cells divide. His discoveries about polyploids were also important. Based on his fundamental study into “species differentiation and the nature of polyploidy in certain species of the genus Solanum, section Tuberarium”, Swaminathan wrote his thesis in 1952. The enhanced capacity to transfer genes from a wild species to the domesticated potato had an impact. His research on potatoes was valuable because it helped create new potato varieties in the real world. He contributed to the creation of a frost-resistant potato while doing his postdoc at Wisconsin University. The key to increasing productivity was his genetic analysis of the potato, which included the genetic traits that control yield and growth. Many diverse genetic facets were brought together by his multidisciplinary systems approach perspective.
Swaminathan conducted fundamental research on the cytogenetics of hexaploid wheat in the 1950s and 1960s. The Swaminathan and Borlaug-created wheat and rice varieties served as the basis for the green revolution.
At the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), under Swaminathan, work was begun on cultivating rice with the ability to fix C4 carbon, which would improve photosynthesis and water use. Swaminathan also contributed to the creation of the first high-yielding basmati in the world.
Under Swaminathan, the Genetics division of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) developed a reputation for excellence in the field of mutagen research. In order to research radiation mutation, he created a “Cobalt-60 Gamma Garden”. Agricultural scientists were given access to facilities at the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay, thanks to Swaminathan’s connections to Indian nuclear scientists Homi J. Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai, Raja Ramana, and M. R. Srinivasan (which would later become the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre). A. T. Natarajan, the first PhD student of Swaminathan, would later write his thesis in this manner. Such research included demonstrating how crop mutations can be used in the real world and improving plant responsiveness to fertilisers. Early basic studies by Swaminathan on how radiation affects cells and organisms served as the foundation for some of his later work.
Awards & Honours
The Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences awarded the Mendel Memorial Medal to Swaminathan in 1965. Following are the other awards he has received:
- The Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971)
- The Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986)
- The first World Food Prize (1987)
- The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1991)
- The Four Freedoms Award (2000)
- Planet and Humanity Medal of the International Geographical Union (2000)
Swaminathan quoted Seneca when receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award: “A hungry person listens neither to reason, nor to religion, nor is bent by any prayer”. The Order of the Golden Heart of the Philippines, the Order of Agricultural Merit of France, the Order of the Golden Ark of the Netherlands, and the Royal Order of Sahametrei of Cambodia have all been bestowed upon him. The “Award for International Co-operation on Environment and Development” was given to him by China. A Swaminathan piece of art made of 250,000 pieces of glass is displayed in the “Dr Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates” in Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States. Both a building and a scholarship fund are named in his honour at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award, which he received in 1961, was one of his very first national honours. After that, he received the fourth, third, and second-highest civilian awards in India—the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan – as well as the H. K. Firodia Award, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, and the Indira Gandhi Prize. He had received 24 international and 28 national honours as of 2002. 33 domestic and 32 foreign awards were listed in the 2016 issue of Biotech Express. An agricultural think tank in India created the “Award for Leadership in Agriculture” in 2004 and named it after Swaminathan.
Honorary Doctorates & Fellowships
He has received 84 honorary doctorates and has mentored many Ph.D. candidates. In 1970, Sardar Patel University awarded him an honorary degree; Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, and other institutions would shortly after did the same. He received honours from the Technical University of Berlin in 1981 and the Asian Institute of Technology in 1985. In 1983, the University of Wisconsin conferred an honorary doctorate on Swaminathan. “Magnificent inclusiveness of (Swaminathan’s) concerns, by nation, socioeconomic group, gender, intergenerational, and including both human and natural environment”, the University of Massachusetts, Boston noted when it awarded him a science doctorate. In 2014, Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge, where he earned his PhD in botany, appointed him an honorary fellow.
Many Indian science academies have chosen Swaminathan as a fellow. He has received recognition as a fellow by 30 scientific academies and societies internationally, including the European Academy of Arts, Science, and Humanities as well as the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Italy, China, and Bangladesh. He was one of The World Academy of Sciences’ founding fellows. He received an honorary professorship from Peru’s National Agrarian University.
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Between the years 1950 and 1980, Swaminathan published 46 papers with just one author. He published 254 papers in total, 155 of which were his alone or as the first author. His research papers are in the areas of genetics, cytogenetics, and crop improvement. Indian Journal of Genetics, Current Science, Nature, and Radiation Botany were his most common publishers. Select publications consist of:
- Swaminathan, M.S. (1951). “Notes on induced polyploids in the tuber-bearing Solanum species and their crossability with Solanum tuberosum”.
- Howard, H. W.; Swaminathan, M. S. (1953). “The cytology of haploid plants of Solanum demissum”.
- Swaminathan, M. S.; Hougas, R. W. (1954). “Cytogenetic Studies in Solanum verrucosum Variety Spectabilis”.
- Swaminathan, M. S. (1 January 1954). “Nature of Polyploidy in Some 48-Chromosome Species of the Genus Solanum, Section Tuberarium”.
- Swaminathan, M. S. (November 1955). “Overcoming Cross-Incompatibility among some Mexican Diploid Species of Solanum”.
- Swaminathan, M. S. (September 1956). “Disomic and Tetrasomic Inheritance in a Solanum Hybrid”.
- Swaminathan, M. S.; Murty, B. R. (1 November 1959). “Aspects of Asynapsis in Plants. I. Random and Non Random Chromosome Associations”.
Swaminathan Report: National Commission on Farmers
Five reports were submitted by the National Commission on Farmers, which was led by Professor M. S. Swaminathan, between December 2004 and October 2006. Following the first four, the final report concentrated on the reasons behind farmer distress and the rise in farmer suicides, and it made recommendations for how to address these issues through an all-encompassing national policy for farmers. The conclusions and suggestions cover topics like resource access and social security entitlements. The purpose of this summary is to serve as a quick reference for the main conclusions and policy recommendations under the following topics: land reforms, irrigation, credit and insurance, food security, employment, agricultural productivity, and farmer competitiveness.
The National Commission on Farmers (NCF) was established on November 18, 2004, with Professor M.S. Swaminathan serving as its chairman. The Common Minimum Programme’s priorities were reflected in the Terms of Reference. In December 2004, August 2005, December 2005, and April 2006, the NCF submitted four reports. On October 4, 2006, the fifth and final report was delivered. The reports offer recommendations for achieving the “faster and more inclusive growth” envisioned in the Approach to the Eleventh Five Year Plan.
Key Findings and Suggestions
Farmers’ Problems and their Causes
Farmers have recently committed suicide as a result of agrarian distress. The incomplete land reform agenda, the quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, availability, adequacy, and punctuality of institutional credit, as well as opportunities for safe and lucrative marketing, are the main causes of the agrarian crisis. Unfavourable meteorological conditions exacerbate these issues. Farmers require secure access to and management of fundamental resources, such as land, water, bioresources, credit, insurance, technology, and markets. The NCF suggests adding “Agriculture” to the Constitution’s Concurrent List.
To address the fundamental issue of access to land for both crops and livestock, land reforms are required. Inequality in land ownership is reflected in land holdings. In 1991 – 1992, only 3% of rural households in the bottom half owned any land, compared to up to 54% of those in the top 10%.
|Land Holding Category||Percentage of Households||Percentage of Land hold|
|Land less||11.24 %||–|
|Sub-margin holdings (0.01 to 0.99 acres)||40.11 %||3.80 %|
|Marginal holdings (1.00 to 2.49 acres)||20.52 %||13.13 %|
|Small holdings (2.50 to 4.99 acres)||13.42 %||18.59 %|
|Medium holdings (5 to 14.99 acres)||12.09 %||37.81 %|
|Large holdings (15 acres and above)||2.62 %||26.67 %|
|Total||100 %||100 %|
Source: Fifth NCF Report based on Some Aspects of Household Ownership Landholdings-1991-92. NSS Report-399.
- Reallocate waste and ceiling surplus lands.
- Prevent corporate sectors from using prime agricultural and forest land for non-agricultural purposes.
- Ensure that pastoralists and tribal members have access to common property resources as well as grazing rights and seasonal access to forests.
- Create a National Land Use Advisory Service that would be able to connect land use choices with ecological, meteorological, and marketing factors based on specific geographic and seasonal conditions.
- Create a system to control the sale of agricultural land based on the amount of land, the intended use, and the type of buyer.
Rainfed agriculture makes up 60% of the gross cropped area and 45% of the total agricultural output of the 192 million ha of gross sown land. The report suggests:
- A comprehensive package of changes to ensure that farmers have equitable and ongoing access to water.
- It should be required to increase water supply through rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge. Launching the “Million Wells Recharge” programme, targeted specifically at private wells, is necessary.
- The 11th Five Year Plan allocated a significant increase in investment in the irrigation sector among new groundwater recharge schemes, minor irrigation, and large surface water systems.
The productivity levels, rather than the size of the farm, are what primarily determine the farmers’ income. However, compared to other major crop-producing nations, India’s agriculture has much lower productivity per unit area.
The NCF suggests the following to increase agricultural productivity growth:
- Increased public spending on infrastructure related to agriculture, especially in the areas of drainage, land development, water conservation, research and development, and road connectivity, among others.
- A system of modern soil testing facilities across the country that can identify micronutrient deficiencies.
- Encouragement of conservation farming will assist farmers in preserving and enhancing biodiversity, water quantity and quality, and soil health.
Source: Fifth NCF Report based on Agriculture At a Glance  Ministry of Agriculture.
Insurance and Credit
Small farm families need access to credit that is timely and sufficient.
The NCF recommends:
- To reach the truly needy and poor, the formal credit system should be made more accessible.
- Reduce the simple interest rate on crop loans to 4% with government assistance.
- In distress hotspots and during disasters, there is a moratorium on debt recovery, including loans from non-institutional sources, and interest is waived on loans until capability is restored.
- To assist farmers in the wake of recurring natural disasters, create an agriculture risk fund.
- Give women farmers Kisan Credit Cards with joint pattas as security.
- Create a comprehensive credit, crop, livestock, and health insurance programme.
- Establish a Rural Insurance Development Fund to take on development work for extending rural insurance, and expanding crop insurance coverage to cover the entire nation and all crops with lower premiums.
- Promote sustainable livelihoods for the poor by improving:
- Financial services.
- Investments in agriculture, business development services, and human development (including productivity enhancement, local value addition, and alternate market linkages).
- Services for institutional development (creating and bolstering producers’ organisations like self-help organisations and water user associations).
India is falling short of the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015, according to the mid-term evaluation of the 10th Plan. Therefore, there are serious ramifications for food security in both rural and urban areas as a result of the decrease in per capita foodgrain availability and its uneven distribution. In 2004 – 05, 28% of households fell below the poverty line (close to 300 million persons). However, in 1999 – 2000, nearly 77% of the rural population consumed diets with less than 2400 kcal (underlining the definition of below poverty line) per capita per day. According to several studies, poverty is concentrated and food insecurity is severe in primarily rural areas with constrained resources, including such rain-fed agricultural fields.
The NCF suggests:
- Implement a system of public distribution that is universal. The total amount of the required subsidies, according to the NCF, would equal 1% of the GDP.
- Reorganize the life-cycle-based delivery of nutrition support programmes with the help of panchayats and local organisations.
- Eliminate hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiency using an integrated approach to food fortification.
- Encourage the creation of Women Self-Help Groups (SHG)-run Community Food and Water Banks that operate under the guiding principle of “Store Grain and Water Everywhere.”
- Organize a Rural Non-Farm Livelihood Initiative and assist small and marginal farmers in increasing the productivity, quality, and profitability of their agricultural enterprises.
- Create a National Food Security Act that keeps the beneficial elements of the programme’s Food for Work and Employment Guarantee. The economic conditions necessary for further agricultural advancement can be created by raising the demand for food grains as a consequence of enhanced consumption by the underprivileged.
Farmer’s Suicide Prevention
Numerous farmers have died by suicide in recent years. States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh have all reported cases of suicide. The NCF has emphasised the necessity of prioritising the problem of farmer suicide.
The NCF suggests:
- Rejuvenate primary healthcare facilities and offer affordable health insurance. Locations that are suicide hotspots should receive priority attention from the National Rural Health Mission.
- Create a State-level Farmers’ Commission with farmer representation to ensure a responsive government to farmers’ problems.
- Restructure microfinance regulations to act as livelihood finance, i.e., credit paired with management, market, and technology support services.
- Cover all crops with crop insurance, using the village as the assessment unit rather than the block.
- Establish a Social Security safety net with provisions for health insurance and old age support.
- Encourage the conservation of rainwater and aquifer recharge. Every village should strive for Jal Swaraj and decentralise planning for water use, with Gram Sabhas acting as Pani Panchayats.
- Ensure that high-quality inputs are accessible at reasonable prices, at the appropriate times, and in the appropriate locations.
- Encourage farmers to use low-risk, low-cost technologies that can help them earn as much money as possible because they are unable to handle the shock of crop failure, especially those linked to high-cost technologies like Bt cotton.
- There is a need for targeted Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) when it comes to crops that can save lives, like cumin in arid regions. Establish a Price Stabilization Fund to shield farmers from price swings.
- Import duties must be implemented quickly to safeguard farmers from rising global prices.
- Create Gyan Chaupals or Village Knowledge Centers (VKCs) in the areas where farmers are most in need. These can act as resource centres and a source of dynamic, demand-driven information on all facets of farming and non-farming livelihoods.
- Campaigns to raise awareness of the early warning signs of suicidal behaviour.
It is essential to increase the agricultural competitiveness of small-scale farmers. To increase the marketable surplus, productivity must be improved in conjunction with reliable and lucrative marketing opportunities.
The NCF suggests:
- In order to leverage institutional support and facilitate direct farmer-consumer linkage, commodity-based farmers’ organisations like Small Cotton Farmers’ Estates are being encouraged to combine decentralised production with centralised services like post-harvest management, value addition, and marketing.
- Enhancing the application of the Minimum Support Price (MSP). There must be plans in place for MSP for crops besides wheat and paddy. Additionally, millets and other nourishing cereals ought to be a permanent part of the PDS.
- A minimum of 50% more than the weighted average production cost should be the MSP.
- Access to information on current and future commodity prices via the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD), the NCDEX, and the APMC electronic networks, which cover 93 commodities via 6000 terminals and 430 towns and cities.
- The State Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Acts [APMC Acts] governing the marketing, storage, and processing of agricultural products must be changed to one that encourages grading, branding, packaging, and the growth of domestic and international markets for local produce as well as the development of a Single Indian Market.
Although slowly, structural change in the workforce is occurring in India. Agriculture accounted for 75.9% of the labour force in 1961 but dropped to 59.9% in 1999 – 2000. But the majority of jobs in rural areas are still found in agriculture. In India, the overall employment tactic must aim to accomplish two things. In order to increase the “quality” of employment across a number of sectors and raise real wages through increased productivity, it is first necessary to create opportunities for productive employment.
The NCF suggests:
- Increasing the economy’s rate of growth.
- Putting more emphasis on industries that employ comparatively more people and encouraging faster growth of these industries.
- Modifying the labour markets as needed without compromising the fundamental labour standards in order to improve their functionality
- Farmers’ “net take home income” ought to be on par with that of government employees.
- Promote non-farm job opportunities by expanding specific sectors and subsectors where there is an increasing need for goods or services, namely:
- Restaurants and hotels,
- Repairs, and
- Certain services.
For their nutrition and security of livelihood, rural Indians rely on a variety of bioresources.
The NCF suggests:
- Maintaining the traditional rights of access to biodiversity, including the right to non-timber forest products like medicinal plants, gums and resins, plants that produce oil, and beneficial microorganisms;
- Breeding for the purpose of preserving, enhancing, and improving fish stocks, farm animals, and crops;
- Promoting breed conservation on a local level (i.e., conservation through use);
- Allowing the export of native breeds and the import of suitable breeds to boost the output of unremarkable animals.
Frequently Asked Questions about M.S. Swaminathan:
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