Crisis in agriculture sector

Kashmir Times. Dated: 7/16/2020 12:27:20 PM

Central and state governments need to focus on providing succour to the farmers in view of low yield in agriculture sector

It is perhaps for the first time in the history of India, the central government has admitted that there is an agrarian crisis in the nation due to unseasonal rains and windstorms in March this year which extensively damaged the standing crops which were ripe for the harvest. It appears that the central government has woken up from a deep slumber to the ground situation that is prevailing in most parts of Indian states which contribute in a big way in boosting the agricultural production. It is a sad state of affairs that those ruling the roost in the corridors of power at the centre have realized the gravity of the situation after getting reports that a large number of farmers have been committing suicide due to increase debt on their heads after failure of the crops in the past few years. Already these farmers have been complaining of crops failure and seeking debt waivers to save them from the onslaught of vagaries of nature due to changed climate pattern all over the world. The weathermen have also predicted a short fall and lower level of rains during the monsoons this year compared to previous which have seen decline n agricultural production and fueling rise in costs of food products. The only silver-lining seen in the backdrop of these conditions was the provision of employment opportunities for the landless farm workers and farmers in the nation in the form of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGREGS). Though the central government did not keep enough budgetary provision for giving fillip to this scheme for the rural population, the centre is having a rethinking about this sector and promised to spare more money for providing much needed succour to the farming fraternity. The steps needed to save farmers from rising debts due to agrarian crisis are to be initiated at the earliest so that repayment of loans to the banks and waivers n interest and subsidy is eased to a large extent in the larger interests of a vast chunk of population. In Indian sub-continent, still farming community including the landless farm workers constitute about two-third of the rural population.
So far as the case of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, the farming community is still waiting for the relief to come for the failure of last year’s crops due to unprecedented heavy rains and floods not witnessed during the past more than a century. Apart from the farming sector, the business districts of all the regions of the state have suffered extensive losses unparalleled in the past one hundred years leading to shortages of food stuffs in many parts of the state besides reducing farmers to a lot with begging bowls seeking alms for survival. The authorities in J&K also need to move fast for providing not only relief and compensation for the failure of the previous year’s crops but also free high quality seeds and fertilizers for the coming Kharif cropping season. All over India, alarm bells have already started ringing in most states in central India where predictions of deficient monsoon rains have created a panic for the farmers who have already been reeling under agrarian crisis for the past two years or so. The rural sector has reported decline in sales of companies dealing in consumer durables including the farm equipment which is badly needed to upgrade the skills of the farmers. The farm sector industrialists have also reported signs of stress due to decline in their sales, a phenomenon already seen during the past few years. The promises of the central government to allocate more funds for irrigation and farm facilities need to come sooner than later so that dry areas which have much dependence on seasonal rains are benefitted from such initiatives. Apart from this the idea of crop insurance scheme for providing full compensation to the farmers even if their crops suffer damage to the extent of 30 percent needs to be implemented in its letter and spirit for extending benefits to the targeted population in rural areas. The centre has to be aware of the fact that acute corruption and nepotism has been looting the rural farm workers of their rightful share in the compensation and the system needs corrective measures.

 

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