::Agricultural problems and action taken::
Socio economic caste census revealed that out of 24.39 crore households in
India, 17.91 crore live in villages. Agriculture is backbone of rural India and
in that way majority of India's population depend upon the agriculture. Socio
economic caste census alsoputs a disturbing picture of 10.69 crore deprived
households. Agriculture can also help in bringing these deprived households out
of deprivation. According to World bank, agriculture raises income of poor
households 2.5 times as much as growth in other sectors does. Over the years
Indian agriculture sector has faced various challenges like stagnent
productivity, declining profitability, insecurity, drought etc.
There are various reasons for the problems which agriculture sector is
facing. Real price of agriculture commodities are not increasing in tune with
the increasing cost of the inputs in agriculture like fertilizers, labour etc.
Indian farmers also face the problem of poor quality seeds. This leads to poor
productivity compared to other countries. Indian farm productivity for most
commodities is 40-50 percent of the international average. Yield needs to be
increased in order to provide food security to large population of India in the
future. Other challenges include lack of mechanisation, soil erosion,
degrradation in soil, poor harvest losses and inefficient agriculture marketing
system. The job potential or employment opportunities and the earnings in the
agriculture sector are not high. However, as per 2011 Census, nearly 54.6 per
cent of the total workers are still engaged in agricultural activities, mainly
in subsistence farming. This is partly due to the manufacturing and industrial
sector not generating adequate employment opportunities to absorb the labour
force from the agriculture sector and partly due to the lower level of education
and skills of the labour force in the agriculture sector which find it difficult
to migrate to other sectors.
Over the last year government has taken various steps to solve the problem
of agriculture sector. Important among them include:
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY);
- Soil Health Card Scheme;
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) ;
- National Agricultural Market ;
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA);
- National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP).
Along with the regular problems associated with agriculture last two years
have seen drought across India due to the effects of el-nino. In order to solve
the problem of drought this year government has taken various steps. Important
among them are given below:
- Allocation of additional days of work under MGNREGA to households in
drought affected areas: The Government has decided to provide an additional
50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the
100 days assured to job card holders in such rural areas where drought or
natural calamities has been notified. This will enable States to provide
additional wage employment to rural poor in drought affected areas.
- Diesel Subsidy Scheme for farmers in affected areas : It has been
decided to provide diesel subsidy to the farmers to enable them to provide
life saving irrigation through diesel pump sets in the drought and deficit
rainfall areas to protect the standing crops (allocation of Rs.100 cr). The
farmers in the affected regions will be covered during the current SouthWest
monsoon period till 30th September, 2015.
- Enhancement of ceiling on Seed subsidy. In order to compensate the
farmers in the drought affected districts for the additional expenditure
incurred in the sowing and /or purchasing appropriate varieties of drought
resistant seeds it has been decided to raise the extant ceiling on seed
subsidy by 50% over existing levels for distribution in drought notified
districts. The enhancement is valid till 31.12.2015.
- Interventions for saving perennial horticulture crops: Appropriate input
support measures will be provided to rejuvenate water stressed horticulture
crops, with an additional allocation of Rs.150 crore. The scheme is to be
implemented in all drought affected districts / blocks in the country which
are covered under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
being implemented by Dept. of Agriculture, Cooperation& Farmers Welfare.
- Flexible allocation under RKVY and other centrally sponsored schemes:
States have been advised to keep aside about 5 to 10% of fund allocated
under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for undertaking appropriate
interventions, if the situation so warrants, to minimize the advance impact
of an aberrant monsoon on the agriculture sector.
- Advisories to the states: State Governments have already been advised to
initiate advance remedial action e.g. constructing water harvesting
structures under MGNREGA and other such schemes, promoting agronomic
practices for moisture conservation, promoting cultivation of less water
consuming crops and restoring irrigation infrastructure by desilting canals,
energizing tubewells, replacing/repairing faulty pumps.
- Availability of seeds and other inputs for kharif, 2015 : Availability
of seeds and other inputs is being monitored / reviewed on a continuous
basis in the weekly Crop Weather Watch Group (CWWG) Meetings being held in
the Department of Agriculture. Weekly video conference with States is also
being held to get firsthand information about State’s preparedness and to
advise States appropriately whenever needed.
- Crisis management plan for drought for the year 2015: A Crisis
Management Plan (CMP) for Drought has been in place and is available at the
website of Dept. of Agriculture & Cooperation, Min. of Agriculture. The plan
has also been updated recently in consultation with Stakeholder
- SDRF/NDRF funds First Instalment of SDRF released : The State Government
is primarily responsible for providing necessary relief in the wake of
natural calamities. Government of India supplements the efforts of state
Governments with financial assistance. For undertaking relief measures,
funds are available with the State Governments in the form of State Disaster
Response Fund (SDRF). Additional financial assistance, over and above SDRF,
is considered from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for natural
calamities of severe nature and is approved on the basis of Memorandum
received from State Government in accordance with established procedure,
keeping in view items and norms in vogue for assistance.