Reforming Rural Economy
Dr Banarsi Lal
Agriculture is considered to be the way of life and continues to be the single most important livelihood of majority of people in India. After green revolution India has made considerable progress in the food grain production. In 2001-02 the food grain production was 212.85 million tonnes which rose to 315.72 million tonnes in 2021-22.India is the largest producer of milk and the second largest producer of food grains, fruits, vegetables and sugarcane in the world. Despite that there is still malnutrition and under nutrition especially among the women and children of the country which no doubt is a very serious problem. It is really very challenging to feed the increasing population of the country. In order to mitigate the food problems in the country there is need to increase the crops production and productivity. The natural calamities have badly affected the crops causing sometimes the poor crops production. The increasing atmospheric temperature is also inversely impacting the crop production. It is well known fact that with the modern agricultural technologies crop production has increased. The impact of green revolution was seen mostly in some confined pockets of the country mostly in the North India. Agricultural experts now are talking for the second green revolution to increase the crop production in the Eastern parts of the country where still the crop productivity is still low. There is need to think seriously on the gap between research and extension to revitalize the agricultural sector. The lab to land approach should be taken seriously by the agricultural experts. The new innovative agricultural based programmes recently launched by the government of India can help to increase the production and quality of the crops. There is need to disseminate the research timely to the farmers so as to reap its maximum benefits. There is need to observe the grass-root problems of the farmers and endeavors should be made for the solution of these problems. It is expected that the farmers’ problems such as plant diseases, insect-pests management, balance doses of fertilizers etc can be solved if the agricultural experts render their services properly and timely. The maximum benefits will go to the small and marginal farmers who lack the technical awareness on agriculture and allied sectors.
The Indian agriculture is a vocation that has been persistently pursued by more than half of the country’s population. The crop productivity of India is still low. If there would be proper co-ordination between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Scientists and various State Agricultural Universities and institutes then there can be great help to the farmers of the country. The farmers of the country can avail profits by utilizing the new agricultural programmes and schemes. The efforts may help in bringing technology to the villages where the productivity of various crops is low and there is need to increase the crops production. Some Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) are also working in the dissemination of agricultural technologies to the farmers in the villages. Apart from that Govt. of India launched a scheme on 13 January, 2016 a scheme called as Pardhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFMY) for the farmers with the low premium to cover their crop loss by the natural calamities. Under this scheme the farmer has to pay 2 per cent premium of the sum insured for the Kharif crops, 1.5 per cent premium for the Rabi crops and 5 per cent premium for the commercial and horticultural crops. This scheme is helpful to secure the farmer and will help to increase the production and productivity throughout the country.PM-KISAN scheme is helpful for the small and marginal farmers to purchase the agricultural inputs timely. The pulses production should also be substantially increased. There is need to create awareness among the farmers on scientific cultivation of pulses and also on their nutritional benefits for the food security. In our country the children and women suffer with the protein deficiency and thus the pulses production should be encouraged as they are rich in proteins and other essential micronutrients which are essential for the good health. By growing the pulses the farmers can fetch two to three times higher prices than the cereals and thus they can generate more income by the value addition of the pulses. Pulses contribute significantly in addressing hunger, malnutrition, food security, human health, soil and plant health etc. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is helpful to create the confidence among the farmers to increase the pulses production. It has been targeted to achieve zero hunger by 2025.In India it is great challenge to reduce malnutrition and anemia among the children and women of the country and this is feasible only when the proper strategies are made for the development of the rural areas. There is need for the reformation in the rural economy. Agriculture and allied sectors need to be made viable and sincere endeavors are needed for the upliftment of the farmers of the country. Agro-based industries have immense scope in India and abroad for the generation of income and employment. Government of India has also launched ‘Make in India’ approach to promote the handloom, Khadi and other industries in India. The newly launched schemes should be closely monitored to get the desired results. In order to strengthen the country special focus should be given on the rural development. The villages are the lifeline of our country and the transformation in rural areas is feasible only when the newly launched schemes are properly implemented. The strategies should be formulated to balance the agricultural, industrial, rural and urban development. Grass root development is feasible by the poverty reduction, sustainable agriculture and food security.
(The writer is Head, KVK Reasi, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu).