Recently, Agricultural Aquarius was organized at Indian Sugarcane Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Modi inaugurated Agriculture Aquarius through video conferencing. It is claimed that this Kumbh Mela will help in enhancing the agricultural spirit. In this fair, the farmers were told about ways to double the income by various means including crops, fisheries, and animal husbandry. In addition, information on modern techniques was also given to improve the condition of agriculture. Where on one side this agricultural fair is being seen as an exercise to change the picture of farming and farming. On the other hand, in different parts of the country, protesters protest against the government also remain in the spotlight.
- So, it is up to the question that what is the significance of many schemes run by the government for the farmers? This question also arises that even after the schemes for crop insurance to mud, the condition of agriculture is still not getting better. Not only that, but farming has also now started to be considered a risky business in the country.
- The question is, what is the determining power of the Indian economy, why is it fighting its existence in the present time? Is it not that we are finding solutions to problems that we have not yet understood? Or it should be understood that in the implementation of the schemes, our governments are proved to be futile. In such a situation, we need to consider not only the challenges of farming but also to put the issue in the first line.
Efforts made by the Government to improve agriculture
- In February 2004, the National Farmers Commission was formed. After that, the National Policy for Farmers was approved on the basis of the Commission’s recommendations in the country. It was aimed at improving the economic condition of the agricultural sector and also to increase the total income of the farmers. The present government has also taken several important steps.
- The Government of India had released Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 for the states under which land holders could legally lease the land with mutual consent for agriculture and allied sectors. In April 2016, a new market mechanism for revolutionizing agricultural markets through transparency and competition was initiated by ensuring better value search under the National Agricultural Market Scheme ie e-name.
- After a detailed study of the old schemes, they have been improved and the world’s largest farmer-friendly crop insurance scheme, Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme and weather-based crop insurance scheme have been started.
- Apart from this, the Model Metal Farming and Service Act, 2018 has been released to connect the traditional agricultural development scheme, farmers and agro-based industries to promote organic farming in the country, Universal Soil Health Card scheme. But in spite of all this, agriculture has become a risky business.
Why agriculture is a risky business?
- In fact, agriculture is the focal point of the Indian economy and the axis of Indian life. The basis of economic life, the main source of employment and the basis of foreign currency earning, agriculture will be called the cornerstone of the country, then there will be no wrong.
- About 52 percent of the total labor force passes through agriculture and agriculture-related activities, but at present, it has become a risky business. Actually, there are many reasons for this. Risk in agriculture is related to crop production, uncertainty of weather, crop prices, debt and policy decisions.
- The main reason for the risk in prices – less than the remuneration cost, the absence of the market, and the middlemen earning huge profits. The inefficiency of the markets, the inability of the farmers to maintain production, the very least flexibility in government insurance against the deficit etc. are also responsible for this risk.
- Due to poverty and debt, farmers are forced to sell their produce to middlemen at a lower cost. In India, there is a lack of investment in the agricultural sector, the main reason is that agriculture is not considered as a business of profit today.
- Under the policies of globalization and liberalization, the opening of Indian market for overseas agricultural products is clouding the agriculture system. Apart from this, due to rising inflation, falling groundwater level and decreasing fertility of land has become a trade deficit deal.
Is there a challenge to save existence before agriculture?
- Actually, it would not be wrong to say that the current situation of farming and farming in the country has started challenging the existence of agriculture. On one hand, farmers are suffering, whereas on the other hand, the reports of suicides by farmers growing year after year are worried. In fact, the attraction of agriculture towards the youth of the farming community is constantly coming down.
- Looking at the youth’s absurdity towards agriculture at the present time, it seems that creating an attachment to farming and farming in the next generation of the country will be the biggest issue. According to a study, children of only two percent of the farmers want to make agriculture their profession. It is also found in our 2011 census which studies show that 2000 farmers are leaving the farm every day since last 20 years. Again, how can it be expected that our youth will make agriculture professionally?
- There are many reasons for the youth to reject agriculture. First, the National Crime Records Bureau, i.e. the NCRB, is constantly alerting the government against the statistics of farmers-suicides. According to NCRB, in 2016, 11,370; 12,602 in 2015; In 2014, 12,360 farmers committed suicide. Of course, our governments have failed to stop these suicides.
- Secondly, agriculture has failed to woo the youth as a job. The condition is that even after choosing agriculture as its career, the youth are not getting employment anymore. Indeed, many institutions like National Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (NABARD), are providing jobs to the management students, not the students of agriculture.
- Then the question arises that what is the reason for these agricultural universities? They enroll the children in the name of agriculture research and development, but after completion of studies they are not used in reality. This is the reason that these youth who are getting degree from agricultural universities are forced to adopt other businesses.
- Government policies, including low productivity, are also prohibiting youth from adopting agriculture. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say ‘escape of agricultural talent’.
Due to low productivity in agriculture
- Significantly, more than half of India’s population is dependent on agriculture. But due to negative factors such as adopting the way of suicide by farmers and performing for debt-apology, agriculture remains in discussion. Note that, at the center of all these problems, there is only low productivity of agriculture.
- Actually, there are three main factors – the first is the human factor. Under this, social practices and customs are included. The fateful attitude of Indian farmers and their distance from new agricultural techniques makes investment in agriculture useless. The increasing burden of population on farming is also a major reason for low productivity.
- The second is the technical factor. We know that monsoon based agriculture is mainly done in India. In areas like Haryana, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh, the farmers have to depend on the uncertainty of the monsoon in most parts of India.
- Apart from this, the absence of high yielding seeds, the lack of knowledge of scientific method of deficiency of soil assay techniques and other pesticides such as pests, pathogens and mice, is also a major problem. Obviously, this affects the productivity of the fields. Efforts were made to educate the farmers on this aspect also in the Agriculture Kumbh held in Lucknow.
- Third is the institutional factor. Actually, this factor is most important. Government policies are directly related to institutional factors. At present, the minimum support price between the government and the farmers is the second aspect of the RSPA on MSP.
- Apart from this, the small size of the holdings, the lack of credit for investing in farmers near the farmers, lack of suitable market for agricultural products are also the main reason. Simultaneously, the situation of farmers in institutional reforms, lack of will in the politicians and the lack of will in the system and due to corruption in the system, the situation of farmers is not getting better.
- Actually, the current government has initiated many initiatives to improve agriculture. But, persistent cases of farmer-suicides show that the situation is not getting better. On the other hand, due to the increased distance between agriculture and youth, many challenges have arisen in front of agriculture. The question arises, how to deal with these challenges? So, in such a situation, first of all, the government should emphasize the proper implementation of agricultural schemes.
- It is often seen that in spite of government’s plans for agricultural sector, the situation of farmers is not satisfactory in the situation. Clearly, problems are not solved only due to lack of better implementation of the schemes. While it is a problem where farmers do not get benefit from schemes related to manure and irrigation, on the one hand it is a matter of concern to not get proper compensation in insurance plans.
- If the Government wants that the participation of youth in the agricultural sector to a satisfactory level, then certain steps should be taken. First of all, agriculture has to ensure employment for agricultural students. In order to prioritize the agriculture students in these institutes, seats must be reserved for them so that they can get jobs related to the employment of agriculture students.
- Apart from this, starting the Indian agricultural service separately on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Forest Service can also be a measure. This will not only strengthen the agricultural regulatory mechanism, but also the students studying in agriculture will be able to fulfill the dream of sitting in big positions like administrative service in agriculture.
- For the people who adopt agriculture as a business, the benefits of agriculture will be to make the deal and make it attractive. This requires only the proper implementation of policies.
- As another measure, contract farming can also be a better option. This will not only help farmers to get a better value of the crop but also to prevent the waste of the crop. Apart from this, recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee will be taken off the ground.
- By applying the one-and-a-half-time recommendation of the cost, the government can take a better step towards improving the condition of the farmers.
- However, the government has promised to double the income of farmers till 2022 but the government will have to understand that fulfilling this promise is not easy.
- According to the Economic Survey 2012-13, the average annual income of the farmers was Rs 77,112, according to the Ashok Dalwai Committee formed by the Central Government recently, the average annual income of the farmers is Rs 77,976. It is clear from this that there has been a slight increase in the income of the farmers in the last five years. Obviously, this is a delicate issue that needs to be thought of sincerely.