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Revitalising the Agriculture Sector in India

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Varma, Vijaya
Date: 2020
Agency:
Series:
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10807
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): policy
research
models
Abstract: "There is an abysmal disorder in the agriculture sector on account of multiple factors. The government’s apathy towards the farm sector is never-ending, which has led to the present situation where we have to depend heavily on imports of vegetable oils worth 74,000 crores, fruits worth 15,000 crores, pulses worth 12,000 crores during 2020-21. The input costs have overshot the returns in the farm sector. Farmers are unable to meet the rising input costs year after year with dwindling returns on farm yields. Farm incomes are decreasing and loan burden is increasing. The government is merely relying on temporary solutions in the form of hiking MSP prices grossly disproportionate to input costs, insufficient farm subsidies, and inadequate marketing facilities, scanty compensations for crop losses due to either floods or famine. If India was to achieve self-sufficiency in all types of food commodities, the central government should immediately focus on a complete overhaul of the farm sector to remove the malaise that is entrenched deeper inside, eating into the vitals before it is too late to repair the damage. In this scenario, this paper suggests concrete measures the government should take to increase the agricultural production at the lowest input cost so that farmers get maximum profits; for modernising procurement, storage and distribution network with greater efficiency; to inform and help farmers sell the produce at the best price using technology, to gather real time virtual data of all crops being cultivated, the crop yields on regular day to day basis thus arriving at their availability according to each village, district and states, and to evolve a single national agriculture market for selling; promoting and supporting area specific crops and vegetables linked to ever changing food habits and consumption by the people. A Route map to modernising and streamlining the agriculture sector in the country to achieve the following objectives 1. To double the agricultural production from the present level and achieve self-sufficiency in all food commodities 2. To stop farmer suicides by increasing incomes 3. To generate rural employment and stop migration of people to urban areas 4. To modernise agriculture practices, harvesting technologies, marketing structure, procurement, storage facilities and public distribution system 5. To make every district of India self-sufficiency in food grain production in 80% of crops, each state in 90% of crops and country as a whole in 100 % of crops 6. To avoid cross-transportation of agricultural produce and thus reduce transport cost of agricultural produce. It benefits both farmers and consumers 7. To decrease farming input costs and increase minimum support price for all agriculture produce. 8. To gradually reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and instead promote organic farming by using natural manures and pest control methods. 9. To ensure allocation of all agriculture subsidies only to real farmers and keep rich farmers away from subsidies. 10. To achieve food security, energy security and fodder security 11. To overcome hardships from monsoon failures and frequent floods with advanced water resources management on the ground and by using satellite technology 12. To provide marketing facilities for all agricultural produce 13. To create efficient mechanism to sanction insurance for damaged crops due to floods, famines, drought and cyclones."

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