(The Gist of Kurukshetra) AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS' WELFARE: AN OVERVIEW [AUGUST-2019]
(The Gist of Kurukshetra) AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS' WELFARE: AN OVERVIEW
AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS' WELFARE: AN OVERVIEW
- Agriculture which formed 3.5 per cent of the budget in financial years 2018-19 comprised 5.4 percent of budgeted expenditure in Financial Year 2019-20, an increase of 1.9 percentage points (the biggest rise).
- In terms of allocation, agriculture and allied activities were collectively allocated Rs. 1,42,299 crore in 2019-20 Union Budget, an increase of 80 per cent over 2018—19.
- However, a huge chunk of this allocation was towards the 'assured income support' scheme i.e. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme (Rs.75,000 crore) and also Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana (Rs. 900 crore).
- Therefore, the Union Budget was presented taking into consideration the gaon, garib aur kisan (village, poor and farmer) for 2019-20 financial years.
- Indian economy was at approximately US $1.85 trillion in 2014 and
within 5 years it has reached USS 2.7 trillion. Hence, it is well within our
capacity to reach the US $5 trillion in the next few years as per the
Ten major theme points to target them through their Budget
- Building physical and social infrastructure;
- Digital India reaching every sector of the economy;
- Pollution free India with Green Mother Earth and Blue Skies;
- Make in India with particular emphasis on MSMEs, Start-ups, defence manufacturing, automobiles, electronics, fabs and batteries, and medical devices;
- Water, water management, clean Rivers;
- Blue Economy;
- Space programmes, Gagarryan, Chandrayan and Satellite programmes;
- Self-sufficiency and export of food-grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables,
- Healthy society - Ayushman Bharat, wellnourished women & children. Safety of citizens;
- Team India with Jan Bhagidari. Minimum Government Maximum Governance.
Gross Value Added in Agriculture
- Agriculture sector in India typically goes through cyclical movement in terms of its growth.
- While the crops, livestock and forestry sector showed fluctuating growth rates over the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, the fisheries sector has shown a rapid growth from 4.9 per cent in 2012-13 to 11.9 per cent in 2017-18.
- Average annual growth rate in real terms in agricultural and allied sectors has remained at around 2.88 per cent during 2014-15 to 2018-19. However, the volatility of output growth as measured by the coefficient of variation has declined from 2.7 in the period of 1961-1988 to 1.6 during 1989-2004 and further to 0.8 during 2005 to 2018.
Gross Capital Formation in Agriculture and Allied Sector
- The GCF in agriculture and allied sectors in absolute terms increased from Rs. 2,51,094 crore
- in 2012-13 to Rs. 2,73,755 crore in 2017-18 at 2011-12 prices.
Increasing Irrigation Water Productivity (IWP) in Agriculture
- The cropping pattern in India is highly skewed towards crops that are water intensive. The
- incentive structures like MSP, heavily subsidized electricity, water and fertilizers have played a significant role in the misalignment of crop patterns in the country.
- The water guzzlers, paddy and sugarcane, consume more than 60 percent of irrigation water available in the country, thereby reducing water availability for other crops.
Increasing Sustainability in Agriculture -Turning to Organic and Natural Farming
- The Government has been promoting organic farming in the country through the schemes
- such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
- In the revised guidelines of PKVY scheme during the year 2018, various organic farming models like Natural Farming, Vedic Farming, Cow Farming, Homa Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) etc.
Importance of ZBNF
- The main aim of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is the elimination of chemical pesticides and promotion of good agronomic practices.
- ZBNF also aims to sustain agriculture production with eco friendly processes in tune with nature to produce agricultural produce free of chemicals.
- Soil fertility and soil organic matter is restored by pursuing ZBNF.
- Less water is required under ZBNF and it is a climate friendly agriculture system.
Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries
- Livestock farming in India is part of a composite farming system characterized by crop-livestock interactions.
- The by-products from several of the crops (crop residues, hay and straw) are used as input
- for dairy production, in addition to other inputs for which they have to directly incur costs (cattle feed,veterinary medicines and artificial insemination).
- Animal dung and urine are used as inputs (bio-fertilizers and bio pesticides) by farmers to improve soil fertility.
Schemes/Initiatives to Improve Productivity of Livestock and Dairy Sector
- From past years various new initiatives were taken to improve productivity of livestock and dairy sector like Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), E-Pashu Haat Portal, National Livestock Mission, Livestock Health and Disease Control Scheme and Dairy Development schemes viz. National Programme for Dairy Development, National Dairy Plan (Phase-1), Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme, Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) etc.
- However, in the recent Union Budget 2019-20 the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog has been proposed to set up to upscale sustainable genetic up-gradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows.
- The committee would also look into implementing policies and schemes for the welfare of cows. It aims to enhance the production and productivity of cows.
- India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a total production of 13.7 million metric tonnes in 2018-19 of which 65 percent was from inland sector. Almost 50 per cent of inland fish production is from culture fisheries, which constitutes 6.5 per cent of global fish production.
- The sector has been showing a steady growth in the total gross value added and accounts for 5.23 per cent share of agricultural GDP.
- Fish and fish product exports emerged as the largest group in agricultural exports and in value terms accounted for Rs. 47,620 crore in 2018-19.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)
- Fishing and fishermen communities are closely aligned with farming and are crucial to rural India.
- Through a focused Scheme - the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)- the Department of Fisheries will establish a robust fisheries management framework.
- This will address critical
- gaps in the value chain, including infrastructure, modernization, traceability, production, productivity, post-harvest management and quality control. Improving Infrastructure and Access to Markets
- If farmers' access to markets are improved through better connectivity to nearby mandis, it will help farmers fetch better prices for their agricultural produce.
- A combination of enhancing rural infrastructure to improve connectivity and Information, Communication Technology (ICT) to provide timely information about prices, aggregation and storage facilities can help small and marginal farmers in overcoming the marketing bottlenecks.
- The access to timely credit or finance is a critical determinant of profitability of agriculture. If credit is not available to purchase seeds at the time of sowing, or if lack of credit delays the administering of fertilizers, it can severely impact agricultural productivity.
- The small and marginal holdings constitute the majority (more than 85 per cent) of total operational holdings in the eastern region, north-eastern region and central region, which warrants greater distribution of agricultural credit disbursement to this region.
Doubling the Income of Farmers by 2022
- The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers' income by the year 2022. The Government had constituted an InterMinisterial Committee to examine issues relating to Doubling of Farmers' Income (DFI) and recommend strategies.
- The Committee has identified seven sources of income growth viz. improvement
- in crop productivity; improvement in livestock productivity; resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production; increase in the cropping intensity; diversification towards highvalue crops; improvement in real prices received by farmers and shift from farm to non-farm occupations.
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