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Initiatives in Agriculture Sector

How is agriculture sector important for socio-economic development?

1. Agriculture has laid down the foundation stone of India’s growth trajectory since ancient times.

2. Agriculture sector has a great impact on the economy.

3. With National Food Security Mission, the onus is on agriculture to provide for all in a sustained manner.

4. Agriculture sector is an important contributor to employment and it supports the industry by providing raw materials.

5. Agriculture sector consumes fertilizers and pesticides.

What is the current scenario of the sector?

1. India produces large quantities of food grain, pulses, milk, fruits, vegetables, cotton, etc.

2. The sector accounts for about 18% of the country’s GDP.

3. It employs about half of the country’s total population.

4. The contribution of the agriculture sector in GDP has fallen over the past few decades.

5. Inconsistency in the growth rate of agriculture has impacted farmer’s income and creditworthiness negatively.

Why does the sector face issue?

1. Decreasing size of agricultural landholdings increases input cost.

2. Poor transport infrastructure.

3. Poor storage facilities compel farmers to sell off their produce immediately after harvest.

4. Lack of use of modern technology.

5. Lack of proper irrigation facilities resulting in over-dependence on monsoon.

6. Loss of soil fertility.

7. Inadequate access to agriculture credit which is needed to purchase seeds, fertilizers, tools and machinery.

8. Lack of marketing support.

Which initiatives enhance the socio-economic status of farmers?

Government has implemented various pro-farmer schemes and has also raised budgetary allocation to run those schemes. Major schemes are:

1. PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

a) It is a Central sector scheme launched in 2018.

b) It provides an amount of Rs 6000 to farmer families.

2. PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

a) It has brought various programmes like Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Schemes, Har Khet ko Paani, Per Drop More Crop and Watershed Development under one umbrella scheme.

b) It aims to increase cultivable area under irrigation, encourage use of precision irrigation and promote various water conservation practices.

3. Kisan Credit Card

a) The scheme was launched to encourage digital payments and provide adequate credit facility for purchasing necessary inputs.

b) It has been converted into ATM enabled RuPay debit card.

4. Soil Health Card

a) It has been introduced to ensure crop fertility.

b) It would evaluate the fertility of soil across the country.

c) The scheme will increase yields due to the efficient use of ingredients and the use of fertilizers can also be restricted.

5. e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)

a) It was launched in 2016 to facilitate better marketing opportunities and expose the farmers to a greater number of markets.

b) This ensures a better price for the produce.

6. PM Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

a) The scheme offers crop insurance at a very negligible cost to the farmers.

b) The farmers are fully secured against any crop loss on account of natural calamities.

7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

a) It was launched in 2015 for holistic improvement of agriculture for making it more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient.

b) It is done through the process of implementation of composite farming systems, soil and moisture conservation measures, soil health management, efficient water management practices and rainfed technologies.

Conclusion

1. Government initiatives in the agriculture sector provide handholding support for the sector to grow and progress.

2. Agriculture sector has to achieve its objective of maximizing efficiency and also ensuring equity in a sustainable manner.