RSTV The Big Picture: Does India ' s Agriculture Policy need a Relook?

RSTV The Big Picture: Does India’s Agriculture Policy need a Relook? 

Introduction

  • Central Statistical Organisation: 4,96,000 Crore worth milk produced by farmers across country (2014 -15)
  • This production for the first time out numbered food grains production
    • Value of food grains = 4,87,000 Crore
    • Value of Paddy = 2,26,000 Crore
    • Value of Wheat = 1,29,000 Crore

 

Harish Damodaran – Journalist (Rural Affair Editor)

  • Government policy is still fixated on cereals despite farm diversity. Eg : Milk, Meat, Fish etc
  • Consumer expects diversified diet rather than just carbohydrates.
  • Current Budget allocation
    • Department of Agriculture Rs 41000 Crore
    • Department of Animal Husbandry , Diary, Fisheries- Rs 2100 Crore
    • There wide gap of budgetary allocation between the sectors.
  • India has large population of bovine hence the need of the hour is to address the lacto vegetarian demands that rises with rising incomes of the population.
  • Very little attention given to Research and development of the agriculture sector.
    • TN Working on nutrient rich fodder but not handful examples to quote in the sector.

 

PROF. RAMESH CHAND (member (Agriculture) NITI Aayog)

Despite milk being a prime important commodity in our society, why is the rise in its production going unnoticed?

  • One of the factor behind dairy sector witnessing growth is it being most liberalised compared to agriculture produce in other categories.
  • Increase in number of livestock, programs like National Gokul Mission, Dairy plan are also stakeholders in the growth of the dairy sector.
  • No restriction on FDI, marketing and such other initiatives have benefitted the dairy sector.
  • Similarly other sectors like horticulture need to be liberalised as seen in dairy sector to bring prospects.
  • But India needs to look into the demand pull growth of the sector with benefits like micro credits subsidies to provide necessary inputs to the farmers timely.

 

TAJAMUL HAQUE (Former chairman, commission for Agricultural cost & price)

Do you believe that more credit and attention needs to be given to dairy sector?

  • In the past decade livestock & dairy sector has seen growth due to cooperative sectors.
    Eg: 20 districts of Bihar witnessed growth changes due to sudha cooperatives
  • But unfortunately dairy sector has not seen even growth across but mostly concentrated at few states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP due to infrastructural hurdles majorly.
  • Similarly there is requirement for quality fodder to address the growing demands of the quality protein intake.

 

B.K TYAGI (Scientist)

How do you ensure the extension of this sector?

  • Agriculture has long gestation period hence farmers should take up dairy farming as an investment and positively this sector is with lower risks.
  • India needs proper veterinary intervention as it is lacking in standards required as per International norms.
  • Government should keep pace with demand with respect to procurement, storage and such other backend support to make justice towards the positive growth.

 

HARISH DAMODARAN (Editor)

Can the considerable rise in this sector be attributed to the change in its demand?

  • Farmers respond to market change and government should respond to such changes too.
    Eg: Farmer should be allowed to sell his livestock and purchase new livestock. As we see many regulations with respect to the same presently.
  • Farmers should move forward for commercial dairying as dairy sector is labor intensive, non-seasonal, concentrate feed, artificial insemination.
  • Dairy development ensures economic security (Daily income) hence it needs to be promoted to address poverty, extremism, farmer suicides and such other issues.

 

PROF RAMESH CHAND

Can this model be applied to other sectors to witness revolution in them?

  • Government’s programs like Gokul mission supports the growth through increasing numbers of the livestock. Rather it should focus on increasing productivity because the increasing livestock is not sustainable as it results in pressure over the resources leading to over exploitation of the same.

 

TAJAMUL HAQUE

Do we need a major policy overhaul with respect to agricultural sector with changing dynamics?

  • An open frame work is the best policy as prevailing today but the focus is to be on investments as it should provide front end and back end investments for the progress of the agricultural sector as a whole.

 

B.K. TYAGI

Do we need a holistic approach?

  • Infrastructure, Insurance, market all such other aspects are mentioned in the policy but implementation state should be strengthened in allied sector.
    Eg: Farmers are converting their land into fisheries projects where by the destruction of arable land is questionable. Thus we need to address such issues as it becomes an agricultural failure.
  • The untimely disbursal of benefits in agricultural sector is forcing the farmers to shift to allied secure activities. Thus there needs to be attention on policy implementation levels and not framing.

How do we secure our agricultural future?

  • Farmers should be specialised unlike being more into mixed farming. As its results in betterment of the incomes and sector growth.
  • Learn from the lessons of Milk/Dairy revolution that private sector be given major role in infrastructure development of the sectors.
  • Adequate investment in veterinary care, quality inputs, transportation, marketing are heart of the sector development.
  • Science & Technology training, information awareness can be boon to the sectors development.

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