Innovations in agricultural policy
Publication Type:Special Publications
Source:NIAS, Number SP2-2013, Bangalore (2013)
Agriculture is a way of life for majority of farmers in India and has influenced significantly socio-economic development of the people of this country. Continued focus and innovation in agriculture is essential to achieve self-reliance in this sector and also ensure food security. In recent decades, one of the key concerns is falling share of agriculture and allied activities in India?s Gross domestic product (GDP). When the five year plans were launched in 1951, its share was as much as 56 percent but declined steadily over the decades. In 1999-2000 it was 28.4 per cent, in 2011-12 it further declined to 13.8 per cent. If agriculture and allied sectors can grow at least at the rate of 4 percent per annum, then the overall GDP growth of over 8 percent can become a reality. In India contribute 4 per cent GDP growth per annum then it will help to achieve the overall 9 percent GDP growth. In order to reach this goal, India needs to have a viable and innovative agricultural policy. The innovations in agricultural policies or programmes are required at the National level as well as at the regional level for enhancing the agricultural production and productivity on the one hand and overcoming the pitiable plight of the farmers. The Innovations in agriculture need to focus on the vast untapped growth potential in agriculture including strengthening of rural infrastructure, promotion of agri-business and subsidiary farm enterprises and creation of more employment to avoid migration from rural areas to urban areas. The climate change and rise in temperature is an inevitable process in India. We need to focus on development of drought-resistant, less water intensive and short-duration crops in drought prone distinct of the country. India can adopt many of the cost-effective innovative irrigation techniques developed by Israel. It is essential to popularise and adopt innovative practices in enhancing soil moisture conservation techniques developed by various institutions within and outside the country. The need of the hour is to build confidence of small and marginal farmers in India through right policies by ensuring easy credit availability, remunerative prices for agricultural products, supply of drought resistant varieties and short-duration high yielding varieties, establishment of self-help groups and encouraging direct marketing and selling of agriculture products by the farmers. This book contains lead papers from distinguished scientists, agricultural economists and policy makers in the country. It has endeavoured to garner latest data on the changing structure of the Indian agriculture that includes cropping patterns and many other developments that have taken place over the last seventy years or so. It also highlights the major handicaps faced by farmers and also attempts to bring out the critical factors promoting or deterring the growth of agriculture. More particularly, it emphasises the policy imperatives necessary for sustainable agricultural development and offers several points for an effective policy to achieve them. Some of the important aspects covered in this context are: sustainable and inclusive agricultural development in the country; strengthening of rural infrastructure to support faster agricultural development; establishing agro-economic zones on the lines of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to boost agroprocessing industry in order to reduce the agrarian distress; innovations in policies for promotion of judicious mix of yieldenhancing and input-responsive technologies; policies for easy credit availability, remunerative prices for agricultural products, supply of drought-resistant and short-duration high yielding varieties; emphasis on individual-farmer insurance policy; innovations in food storage; future policies to be directed to have a judicious mix of food crops and cash crops for ensuring food security in the country; minimum support prices for all the crops to be fixed with a scientific basis; need for interventions in rainfed horticulture, disease diagnostics, seed and planting material, mechanisation, labour shortage, climate resilient technologies and strengthening of market linkages; new initiatives such as interaction with farmers through video conferencing involving subject matter specialists, community radio station, use of DVDs for disseminating of information on various technologies to be adopted throughout the country, so that it would help bring down the transaction costs in many of the Government programmes. We thank all the contributors to this volume. Our special thanks are due to Dr.V.S. Ramamurthy, Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS); Dr. Parveen Arora, Adviser (Sc-F), Department of Science & Technology for their support and offering valuable suggestions. We are very grateful to Dr. Muthusamy Murugan, Mrs. Mariyammal, Mr.Thomas K.Varghese and Dr. K. Manorama for their kind involvement and contribution. Our special thanks are due to Ms.G.F.Aiyasha, Research Assistant, NIAS for her sagacious work at every stage of its preparation.