Does India’s Agriculture Policy need a Relook
Video Summary

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

The Indian agriculture does need a balanced but holistic approach for its sustainable growth and well ness of the farmers as well. The lesson has to be learned from the success of the dairy sector in the country; invest in infrastructure, let private sector play its role in value addition and taking technology to the farmers.
By IT's Video Summary Team
November 01, 2017

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Present scenario of agriculture and allied sector in India
  • Dairy sector in India
  • Concerns
  • Steps to improve the agriculture and allied sector
  • Conclusion

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

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GS (M) Paper-3: ‘Agriculture related topics’

Introduction:

  • According to the latest release of Central Statistics Office (CSO) for 2014-15, it was for the first time that the value of milk exceeded the total value of the food grains.
  • The data was the part of the CSO’s report on the gross value of the output of the agriculture and allied sector for the years 2011-15.
  • Earlier the milk production was not even close to the value of the food grains and wheat production.

Present scenario of agriculture and allied sector in India:

  • The government policies still seem to be focused on cereals, while the agriculture in 21st century is far more diversified as it is no longer just cereals, but it also consists fish, meat, milk etc.
  • Even the consumers are not confined to the demand of calories and carbohydrates, as they also need more diversified diet.
  • The government policy is slow to respond to such demand e.g. in the present union budget the total allocation for agriculture department is more than that of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries.
  • Even in the state government budgets, the livestock hardly gets 5-10 % of the total allocation of general agriculture.

Dairy sector in India:

  • The increasing demand of milk has increased the growth of the dairy sector. The major contributory factor to the dairy sector is Cooperatives.
  • Different commodities need different kind of supports, so one factor for the faster growth of dairying sector in India is liberalising it compared to other categories.
  • Government have the checks on the growth of the sectors and make the favourable environment for it.
  • There are no restrictions on the marketing, entry of private sector, FDI etc., in milk sector, while in the crop sector there are many rules & limitations.
  • There is the attention given to the dairy sector as it is one of the priority areas of the government.
  • There is National Gokul Mission mainly aiming at indigenous cattle to improve its productivity and pay small animals like goat, sheep, poultry etc.
  • Livestock in general & dairy sector in particular, has become the major source of surplus income growth of farmers in most of the regions of the country.
  • Though there is a change everywhere, still dairy sector is concentrated in limited regions like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP & Bihar.
  • Infrastructure & veterinary care centre, quality feed & fodder is lacking.

 Concerns:

  • Infrastructure in life stock is much poorer compared to crop sector in terms of credit, public support etc.
  • Fruits and vegetables are not having significant production in over all regions of the country.
  • Increased production especially in milk, vegetables and fruits is a response to economic problems.
  • Traditional agriculture has longer gestation period, risk factors involved, and their inputs are more, so farmers opted for the milk production which gives quick returns.
  • While the government procurement prices never kept a pace with the demand, the cooperative movement is also not strong in all the states.
  • There is a lack of processing facilities in agricultural allied sector as such in milk.
  • Production was higher in milk due to increase in the number of livestock but as such in crop sector the area cannot be increased. Rather it is shrinking.
  • There is a pressure on natural resources and climate change due to livestock increase which is not sustainable.
  • There is a global trend of dietary preference that as the per capita income of a people rise they tend to go away from cereal and go more for livestock and horticulture product.
  • Diversification of the livestock product is happening at much slower pace compared to other countries.
  • There are high price fluctuations in the market especially in fruits & vegetables that farmers find it risky particularly small & marginal farmers.
  • The relief for the farmer in case of the failure is never timely and appropriate.

 Steps to improve the agriculture and allied sector:

  • Globalisation and liberalisation challenges should be tackled.
  • There is a need to provide veterinary services to all the areas across the country including the areas of green revolution.
  • Improve storage facility and other infrastructure.
  • Farmers should go for commercial dairying & grow fodder.
  • There should be awareness amongst the farmers especially in tribal and remote rural areas, in terms of artificial insemination for animal husbandry
  • Ensure free trade between the farmers so that the produce can be easily sold in the open market.
  • Farmers are more responsive to the price signals of the market demand and government should enable farmers to do so.
  • The government regulations could hamper the milk supply in long run, so the present liberalised dairy sector has benefited farmers more.
  • Dairying can be done all year round that secures the farmers income year-round to make himself enriched.
  • There should be a security and a backup plan of the farmer in case of the failure of whatever related work he is doing.
  • Transportation, marketing & improving the productivity substantially is also crucial in the agriculture or it will limit the growth.
  • The research priorities in India is also very low which should be recognised, for e.g., high protein fodder development is not given much emphasis.
  • Milk should not be looked upon individually, as entire life stock sector should be considered along with meat, leather etc.
  • Agriculture needs to be dealt in the integrated way i.e., milk, livestock & meat together, to develop it comprehensively as it is seen as a future.
  • India is losing the opportunity as it has large stock of bovine cattle which is going to increase the milk consumption as people are primarily vegetarian.
  • There is also need to liberalise the horticulture sector like dairying sector, and promote sales within village.
  • The expenditure should be increased with the increase in the income, on milk, fruits, vegetables etc.
  • The steps taken should be extended to all the farms & villages to bring the change to improve the living standards of the farmers.
  • The successful dairying model should be applied to other sectors also to especially processing facilities.
  • There is a need to depend on productivity increase rather than on number of livestock for sustainable growth in agriculture.
  • It is a matter of implementation of the policies also that should be considered along with insurance, safety, infrastructure & increasing productivity etc.
  • Agriculture along with the allied sector has to be strengthened further as still there are large number of people associated with agriculture sector in India.
  • The need of consumers & farmers is changing with changing times. It should be left to the open market, cooperatives etc as they have very important role to play.
  • There should be huge investment done to create the infrastructure, connect remote & rural areas with urban areas through road connectivity’s, transportation etc.
  • The regular income source of the farmers needs to be ensured by the proper government policies.
  • The farmer needs to become specialised in wherever he is doing that will bring economy of scale.

Conclusion:

  • The Indian agriculture does need a balanced but holistic approach for its sustainable growth and well ness of the farmers as well.
  • The lesson has to be learned from the success of the dairy sector in the country; invest in infrastructure, let private sector play its role in value addition and taking technology to the farmers.

 

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  • Vijaya Chandra

    What are the inhibiting factors in agriculture (to increase farmers income)….!!! Cant we liberalize agriculture sector like dairy sector…???

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