By Vikas Parasram Meshram
There is much discussion about the new laws that have recently been introduced, but it is important to consider how much actual benefit these laws will provide for farmers. The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in the Indian economy and the lives of millions of farmers across the country. However, in recent years, the sector has faced a number of challenges, including declining profitability and increasing reliance on imports. These challenges have made it difficult for farmers to earn a decent living and support their families.
In this article, we will examine the challenges facing the agricultural sector in India and explore efforts to increase the income of farmers. We will also discuss the role of corporations in the sector and consider possible solutions to the issues facing the industry.
The decline of profitability in agriculture
The post-independence Green Revolution of 1965, which gave the agricultural sector the respect it enjoyed, is no longer the case. Agriculture is not profitable, the idea that one of the family should farm and the other should work has also started to take root and on the other hand India’s import of agricultural goods is also increasing. Self-sufficiency of oilseeds and pulses has ended and we have become an importing country. There is a need to revolutionize the agricultural sector at all levels from production to distribution. This refers to the fact that farming as a profession has become less financially viable in recent years. This could be due to a variety of factors such as rising costs of inputs like seeds and fertilizers, fluctuations in crop prices, or competition from cheaper imports.
The shift towards non-agricultural jobs for farmers’ families
This refers to the trend of farmers’ families seeking employment in other industries rather than relying on farming as their main source of income. This could be due to the declining profitability of agriculture or the lack of opportunities in the sector. The agricultural agribusiness is not confined to the national sphere but has taken the form of international economic capital. Corporate dominance is being established not only in the prices of agricultural products but also in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. In fact, the three agricultural laws which were repealed under the pressure of the farmers’ movement were also brought in with the intention of ensuring the unhindered entry of corporates into the agricultural sector.
India’s increasing reliance on imports for agricultural goods
This refers to the fact that India has become more reliant on importing agricultural products rather than producing them domestically. This could be due to a variety of factors such as the lack of competitiveness of domestic producers or the availability of cheaper imports.
The need for modernization in the agricultural sector
This refers to the need to adopt new technologies and practices in order to increase the efficiency and productivity of the sector. This could include using modern machinery, adopting new seed varieties or farming techniques, and improving infrastructure such as roads and storage facilities.
Reducing the cost of agricultural inputs and increasing public investment in agriculture
This refers to efforts to reduce the expenses farmers face when producing crops, such as by providing subsidies for inputs like seeds and fertilizers, and increasing government spending on programs and initiatives that support the agricultural sector.
Increasing the purchase price of agricultural products through the C-2 + 50% formula
The C-2 + 50% formula refers to a recommendation made by the Swaminathan Commission to calculate the minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural products. The MSP is the price at which the government guarantees to purchase crops from farmers, and the C-2 + 50% formula suggests that it should be calculated based on the cost of production plus a 50% margin.
Providing greater rural employment opportunities
This refers to efforts to create more job opportunities for people living in rural areas, particularly in the agricultural sector. This could include initiatives such as training programs, rural development projects, or employment schemes like MNREGA.
Implementing MNREGA on a larger scale
MNREGA, or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, is a government program that provides a guaranteed minimum number of days of employment to rural households. Expanding the program and implementing it on a larger scale could provide more employment opportunities for people living in rural areas.
Corporations exerting control over prices, seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides
This refers to the influence that large corporations can have on the prices and availability of agricultural products, inputs like seeds and fertilizers, and pesticides. This could include companies setting high prices for their products or controlling the distribution of inputs.
The inclusion of corporate interests in the three controversial agricultural laws
This refers to the inclusion of provisions in the three agricultural laws that were the focus of recent protests in India that could potentially benefit large corporations at the expense of small farmers.
The unequal distribution of profits in the agricultural value chain
This refers to the fact that the profits made at different stages in the production, marketing, and distribution of agricultural products are not equally distributed, with a larger share going to corporations and intermediaries rather than farmers.
The government’s reliance on the private sector to provide minimum support prices
This refers to the fact that the government relies on the private sector to provide minimum support prices for agricultural products rather than setting the prices itself. This could potentially lead to private companies exerting too much influence over the prices paid to farmers.
Challenges and Opportunities
The performance of the country’s agriculture sector in the economy and the lives of common farmers is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite the changes in the economy over the past thirty years due to the implementation of new economic policies, the agriculture sector does not seem to have had a positive impact. There is much discussion about the new laws that have recently been introduced, but it is important to consider how much actual benefit these laws will provide for farmers.
Decline of the Agricultural Sector in India
The post-independence Green Revolution of 1965, which once brought respect to the agricultural sector in India, is no longer the case. Agricultural profitability has declined and the idea of having one family member farm while the other works has become more common. Additionally, India’s import of agricultural goods has increased and self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses has ended, making the country an importing nation. There is a need to revolutionize the agricultural sector in India from production to distribution in order to address these issues.
Examining the Reality of Doubling Farmers’ Income
Prime Minister Modi announced in February 2016 that the government would double farmers’ income by 2022. As the year 2022 approaches, it is important to conduct research to determine if this goal has been achieved and, if so, by how much. It is necessary to verify if farmers’ income or expenditure has actually doubled.”
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