Recent Agricultural sector reforms in India

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Agriculture is a state subject as per our Indian Constitution, however, Central government also take measures so that agricultural production can be improved and so the lives of the farmers. We come across many instances like farmer’s suicide due to failures of crops in a particular year other problems faced by farmers such as post-harvest losses, crop loss due to change in rainfall pattern, flood, drought, etc. The central government always comes up with the solution of all such problems so that the farming community as a whole can get the benefits. Also, the present government has set a target of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022 which is yet to achieve and on the road towards this they have come up with many of the initiatives and the recent one is amendments in Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

Government’s Initiatives

E-NAM

  • Electronic National Agricultural Market works as a pan-India electronic trading portal which has connected all the existing APMC mandis and provides a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the leading agency who implements e-NAM under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India.
  • This portal provides uniformity in the agriculture market, removes the asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real-time price discovery based on actual demand and supply.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)

  • The vision of this scheme is “Har Khet ko Pani”.
  • This scheme enshrines its priority towards conservation and management of water.
  • This scheme is formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko Pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’.
  • It also provides end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.
  • It has been formulated by amalgamating ongoing schemes like Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

  • It is an initiative to promote organic farming in the country.
  • In this scheme, farmers are encouraged to form groups or clusters and take to organic farming methods over large areas in the country.
  • The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improving the health of the consumer.
  • The aim is to form 1,000 clusters and bring up to 5 lakh acres of agricultural area under organic farming.
  • PKVY also aims at empowering farmers through institutional development through clusters approach not only in farm practice management, input production, quality assurance but also in value addition and direct marketing through innovative means.
  • It aims to promote natural resource-based integrated and climate-resilient sustainable farming systems that ensure the maintenance and increase soil fertility, natural resource conservation, on-farm nutrient recycling and minimize the dependence of farmers on external inputs.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

    It is unique of its kind of an insurance scheme that integrates multiple stakeholders on a single platform. It provides insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests and diseases. It aims to stabilize the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming. It encourages farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices. A uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.

PM-KISAN (Kisan Samman Nidhi) Yojana

    It is a direct cash transfer scheme with 100% funding from the Government of India. Income support of Rs. 6,000 per year is provided to all farmer families (including famer, wife and minor children) across the country in three equal instalments of Rs. 2000 each at every four months.

PM-KISAN Maan Dhan Yojana

    It is a pension scheme for small and marginal farmers of the country. This scheme is voluntary and contribution-based for farmers at the entry of between 18-40 years of age. In this, farmers will get Rs 3,000 as monthly pension after attaining the age of 60 years. This scheme is launched to provide income support after a certain age to give them financial freedom.

Essential Commodities Act, 1955 – Amendments

  • Recently, three ordinances aiming at lifting restrictions on key commodities like cereals, pulses, onion and potato and gives freedom to sell their products directly or through e-trading platforms.
  • Under this, a legal framework has enabled farmers to enter into an “agreement” with private sector players on pricing and purchase which is a step to provide contract farming.
  • The Essential Commodities Act was enacted at a time of food scarcity in the country and allowed the government to notify a commodity as “essential” under section 2(A), take control of its production, supply and distribution, and impose a stock limit.
  • The amended law provides a mechanism for the “regulation” of agricultural foodstuffs, namely cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, potato, and supplies under extraordinary circumstances, which include extraordinary price rise, war, famine, and natural calamity of a severe nature.
  • The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance promotes “trade and commerce” outside the physical premises of markets covered by State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislation.
  • It allows any trader to engage in interstate and intra-state trade of scheduled agricultural produce with a farmer or another trader in a trade area.
  • A trade area is defined as any area, which is outside the APMC acts and existing private mandis Till now the farmers had to sell their produce only at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis. The ordinance also provides for an “electronic trading” transaction platform for agricultural commodities.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 will allow farmers to engage directly with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters.
  • In case of the contract farming ordinance which is promulgated recently by the President, called The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020, will allows any company, or processors, or FPO, or Cooperative Society to enter into a contract farming arrangement for a minimum of one crop cycle in case of crops, or one production cycle, in case of livestock.
  • The maximum period for such an arrangement will be five years. The price to paid to the farmer in such a contract farming arrangement shall be mutually decided. In case of volatility, a minimum price has to be paid on top of which a premium also need to paid by the company.

There are many agricultural reforms took place by the government to provide a standard lifestyle to farmers and bring equal socio-economic facilities to them. As India’s agriculture sector remained sort of distress due to natural calamities, failure of monsoon, lack of technology, lack of proper education in terms of farming, which many a time leads to harsh steps taken by farmers in form of life loss.

And, due to present outbreak of pandemic, farming society faced many issues during post-harvest season of wheat crop. Due to migration of labors, farmers were not able to harvest crops on time and due to lockdown imposed in the country, they were not able to sell their produce in the market. Hence, government suggested to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 which would provide them an opportunity to sell produce on electronic platform and at higher cost. The target set by present government is to double the farmer’s income by 2022 and above mentioned schemes or programs are steps and measures towards it.

 

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