This article is authored by Amogh Srivastava a student of Lucknow University.
This article is one of the winning entries of National Online Article Writing Competition organized by Lucknow University.
India is considered to be a major agricultural economy. As per 2018, agriculture employed more than 58% of the Indian work force and contributed 17-18% to country’s GDP. This shows how much importance does agriculture hold, be it contribution to GDP or providing employment to the people. India witnessed an increase in agricultural produce under Green Revolution which started in 1960, the production of HYV’s seeds (High Yielding Varity) helped in making India Self Sufficient. It resulted in making Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana the Nucleus of Green Revolution often referred to as Granary of India. Right from the First Five Year Plan agriculture has been considered to be the prime source of revenue collecting sector for both the centre and state budget. The government earns huge revenue from agriculture and its allied activities like cattle rearing, animal husbandry, poultry farming etc. Today India is among the 15 leading exporters of agricultural products in the world. Agricultural Export from India was about 38.54 Billion Dollars in FY2019. Farmers have faced challenges in the form of uncertainty of rainfall, drought, crop failure, or other forms of environmental disasters like hailstorm, landslides etc. These challenges have forced farmers to commit suicide. The Slogan of “ Jai Jawan Jai Kisan “ and Mahatma Gandhi’s consideration of farmers as the Annadata and the most important people on whom the development of the country depends, makes it even more important to improve the condition of the farmers through various methods, be it providing suitable conditions for them to work or helping them with subsidies providing them with low EMI Loans or buying the agricultural produce of farmers by the government on the basis of MSP.
The Green Revolution had helped India in becoming self sufficient, reducing the gap between rich and poor farmers and farmers having huge land holding. Eliminating regional disparity, promoted optimum utilisation of Indian Resources for development which will help in increasing the farmers annual income and will ultimately help in improving the living standard of the farmers so they can also match the social strata. The Green Revolution yielded great economic prosperity. In Punjab, where it was first introduced led to a significant increase in the state’s agricultural output. By 1970, Punjab was producing 70% of the country’s total food grains. The government from time to time had introduced many bills into parliament to improve their living conditions. These policies were formulated for all round and comprehensive development of agriculture sector. The main objectives of the agricultural policy (even today) are to remove the major problem of agricultural sector related to improper and inefficient use of natural resources, poor cost benefit ratio of sectoral activities and insignificant progress of cooperative farming and other self help institutions.
Drawbacks of green revolution
The Green Revolution spread only in irrigated and high potential rainfed areas. The regions or villages without the access of sufficient water were left out that widened the disparities between the adopters and non-adopters. Since the HYV seeds technically can only be applied in a land with assured water supply and availability of other important inputs. The application of the new technology in the dry land areas is simply ruled out. The states like Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana having good irrigation facilities and other important inputs they were able to achieve faster economic development while other states recorded low growth rate in agricultural productions.
Another important point to be noted is that it directly benefited the farmers with huge land holding. Hence, it only benefited handful of farmers, while maximum of them remained out of this. We see a development of two different classes in farmers namely Capitalist Farmers and Labour Farmers. There existed, the concentration of wealth. The most important criticism is that the HYV seeds were too costly for the farmers to afford them, as a result the rich farmers were mostly benefited. For affording the HYV seeds these poor farmers came into the clutches of moneylenders. Due to this, Punjab witnessed a high and alarming rise in the number of suicide cases. According to a 2019 news, indebtedness continues to be a grave issue affecting Punjab people even today. Less developed finance system, improper use or negligible use of modern methods of irrigation in the fields. Slow progress in the implementation of the government policies and programmes on ground level and absence of marketing facilities in many other parts of India is also a serious issue. Lack of transport system, means of aids to trade road connectivity of villages with metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities plays an important role in backwardness of agriculture sector. No full knowledge on the use of fertilizers by the farmers resulted in the excessive use of fertilizers on land that snatched soil of its natural contents leading to soil pollution. Most of the Indian farmers remained uninformed of this Green Revolution and are still out of the main stream, so they are not aware of the policies of the government that it has/had introduced for their benefit. Involvement of Middle Men and others increased the cost of transportation of the farmers produce to the markets, so it made difficult for them to afford such an high cost of transportation. Farmers being deprived of their land holdings by Land Mafia’s was a trouble that prevented the optimum utilisation of the farmers talent and available resources. It continues even today.
What can we do to double farmer’s income by 2022
Indian Ministry of Agriculture is continuously working on the aim of doubling the farmers income by 2022. It has also taken various steps to improve their conditions which will be acting as pioneer policies to achieve of doubling of farmers income by 2022. By Introduction of MNREGA Act 2006 for providing farmers with employment throughout the year which helped in curing Seasonal Unemployment , else they would sit ideal without any work and their family would suffer. This also helped in increasing the wages of the farmers when they are not on the fields to grow crops, they also got a reliable source of work which guaranteed work to all the registered farmers with MNREGA. It helped in improving the living standard of the farmers. Ministry also introduced insurance plans and ITC Limited Plans. Under this plan Agriculture Insurance of India insures farmers cultivating wheat, fruit and rubber etc. in the event of natural disaster or catastrophic crop failure, under supervision of the ministry of agriculture. Finding farmers who are not the part of MNREGA and letting them into the main stream would be a boon for many.
Recent amendment in the Essential Commodities Act 2020 provided the direct access of farmers to all the MANDIS across India. This will help them get higher rates for their produce. However, whether the people at MANDIS are providing fair prices to the farmenrs or not should be checked. A regional MANDI COMMITTEE should be formed for each region which will take care of this and will report any type of inconvenience to the higher authorities for their immediate appropriate action. Ground level implementation of the policies in fast and efficient way should be taken care of. Also it would be advisable that they should form Farmer Producer Organisation (FAO) where farmers will share land holding hence the land holding of every farmer will increase which will ultimately help in increasing in the income of the farmers due large lands, they would share cost of freight so the cost of production will decrease, which means increased profits for farmers as we see in the Bangalore. Moreover, the concept of MSP should be given an official position by the parliament so that farmers can be sure that their products will be brought at the market price. MSP prices should be increased which help in the increasing the income of the farmers. Conditions of the road and highways should be checked and they should be well maintained so that there is no loss of produce in case of an accident.
The development of a good road transport system will enable every villager to take his goods to the nearest city by himself for sale without involving middle men so that the profit of farmers increases. Farmers should be encouraged to practice animal husbandry which has great potential, for example Raitu ki Beli village in Uttrakhand where every family of the village is able to earn around 40 thousand rupees every month besides farming.
If all these things were taken care of, the doubling of farmer’s income by 2022 wouldn’t be a tough task unless it transforms into an agenda by all the political parties to win elections.