The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has chalked out an exhaustive action plan for the sustainable development of the agricultural sector. While formulating these plans efforts were made to consult all the stakeholders – farming community, scientists, policy makers and public representatives. Our honourable Prime Minister vision is to empower farmers to feed the whole country and the world, and he is also determined to make agriculture viable and profitable for the farmers.
I strongly feel that farmers and farming are the backbones of the economy of our nation and for the betterment of both, the infrastructural development and reforms are a must. The infrastructural redressal takes some time, but the outcome is long lasting and permanent.
To boost profit for farmers, it is important to cut input costs and ensure the best price for their produces. To achieve this, the first step to provide Soil Health Card to each and every farmer has been initiated. The country is still facing the consequences of the careless and excessive usage of fertilisers during and after the first Green Revolution. The imbalanced application of fertilisers resulted in several deformities in the soil. Thus taking a lesson from this, we have to ensure we do not commit any such mistakes during the much required second Green Revolution. Our Prime Minister reaffirms his conviction that all care must be taken to protect our environment and soil in the run-up to development. Allocation of Rs. 597 crore to promote traditional farming, under which the centre is insisting upon organic farming for the first time, reflected his good intentions.
The second biggest challenge in the path of agricultural development is the lack of proper irrigation facilities in our country. With an aim to extend irrigation facilities, Rs.50,000 crore ‘Prime Minister Krishi Sichai Yojana’ has been launched. We are striving to achieve the Prime Minister’s ‘More Productivity from Each Drop’ target.
Next important aspect of agricultural development is the improved profitability for the farmers and better connection and coordination between producers and consumers, the absence of which compels the farmers to sell produces to the middlemen. To achieve this objective, ‘United National Agriculture Market’ has been initiated along with an arrangement of ‘Agritech Infrastructure Fund’.
Apart from these, we have initiated ‘CHAMAN’ to promote the farming of horticultural crops in the country.
Another scheme named ‘Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ has been initiated to upgrade the native breeds of farm animals. Likewise ‘Neeli Kranti Mission’ has been started for the benefit of fish growers.
In the first year, we started work to empower and upgrade the elderly rural population. The government of India launched the pension scheme ‘Atal Pension Scheme’, which also provides great avenues to farmers as well. Those who have opened accounts under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojna’ can enjoy the benefits of the scheme.
Our new government aspires to strengthen and encourage education and research in the agriculture sector. To promote agricultural education, we have allotted a budget of Rs.200 crore for the establishment of two new agriculture universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and two new horticulture universities in Telangana and Haryana. The northeastern states get a budget allocation of Rs.788.33 crore to establish 6 new agriculture colleges under the Central Agriculture University of Imphal and to open a new Central Agriculture University in Meghalaya. We have also allocated a budget to start 4 new agriculture colleges in Jhansi and Datiya districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh respectively and for the further expansion and improvement of the Rani Laxmibai Central Agriculture University of Jhansi.
We crossed another milestone in the mission of agriculture education and research with the declaration and subsequent signing of MOU with the Bihar state government regarding one of the oldest educational institutions of India – Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Bihar. The university at Pusa has been given the status of a central university. Foundation stone had been laid for the National Institute of Bio-Technology at Ranchi, Jharkhand to promote technological research in the field of agri-bio technology.
To strengthen the research work, we have made provisions to establish two new centres of National Agriculture Research Institutes – one each in Assam and Jharkhand. Also, the network of nationwide Krishi Vigyan Kendra is being expanded and strengthened to accomplish ‘Lab to Land ’ mission. Work is in progress to increase the number of KVKs – in the last two-year number of KVKs has increased to 668 from 637. This way we have followed the guidelines provided by our Prime Minister to uphold the priority of agricultural education, research and investigation.
Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav is a unique initiative by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). Under the scheme, scientists are expected to devote time to creating technological awareness among the farmers. To achieve that, the scientists create four-member groups and each group identify five villages and visit those areas to share information with the farmers.
Currently, the scheme is operational in 13,000 villages. ‘Krishi Daak Sewa’ scheme has been launched to provide the farmers in the interior areas with the better and high yielding seeds.
Attracting and retaining the interest of youth in agricultural activities is a challenge and to achieve the same ‘ARYA’ (Attracting &Retaining Youth in Agriculture) has been launched.
Friends, the welfare and interests of the whole farming community including the elderly, women and youth are our major concern and we are trying to address these issues through various schemes. ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ clearly reflects our Prime Minister’s inclusive growth for all Indians.
It is my ardent hope that all the initiatives taken by our government will benefit all my fellow countrymen. Your welfare is our mission.
Radha Mohan Singh
Government of India