Discuss the New Agricultural Policy 2000 and Challenges in Indian Agriculture.

NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICY 2000 IN INDIA.

The New Agricultural Policy 2000 policy aims a growth rate of 4% per year by the year 2022. The approach towards this focuses on:

  • Strengthening rural infrastructure.
  • Promoting value addition by speedy growth of agri-business.
  • Increase employment opportunities in rural areas to improve standard of living and discourage migration of rural population.
  • To face the challenges of economic liberalization by fulfilling the needs of the domestic and foreign markets.

The salient features of the new agricultural policy are:

The following are the objectives of New Agricultural Policy (NAP), 2000:

  • Over 4 per cent annual growth rate aimed over next twenty years.
  • Participation of the private sector by encouraging contract farming.
  • Price protection for farmers along with the launch of the National agricultural insurance scheme to protect farmers in case crops are destroyed.
  • Removing of restrictions on movement of agricultural commodities throughout the country.
  • Rational utilization of country’s water resources for optimum use of irrigation potential.
  • High priority to development of animal husbandry, poultry, dairy and aquaculture.
  • Encouraging Capital inflow and ensuring that there are assured markets for crop production.
  • Exemption from payment of capital gains tax on compulsory acquisition of agricultural land.
  • Minimize fluctuations in commodity prices by taking , necessary steps and Continuous monitoring of international prices.
  • Plant varieties to be protected through a legislation.
  • Adequate and timely supply of quality inputs to farmers.
  • High priority to rural electrification.
  • Setting up of agro-processing units and creation of off-farm employment in rural areas.

Issues Under Focus.

The strategy that has been indicated by the New Agricultural Policy (NAP), 2000 covers many critical issues of agriculture in the country so that the atrgetted growth rate is achieved by maintaining sustainahility and euity at the same time. The main focus points are:

  • Sustainable agriculture.
  • Food and nutritional security.
  • Generation and transfer of technology.
  • Inputs management.
  • Incentives for agriculture.
  • Investments in agriculture.
  • Institutional structure.
  • Risk management including other management reforms.

Sustainable Agriculture.

The policy will seek to promote technically sound, economically viable, environmentally non-degrading, and socially acceptable use of country’s natural resources-land, water and genetic endowment to promote sustainable development of agriculture. Rational utilization and conservation of the country’s abundant water resources will he promoted. Conjunctive use of surface and ground water will receive highest priority.

Erosion and narrowing of the base of India’s plant and animal genetic resources in the last few decades has been affecting the food security of the country. Survey and evaluation of genetic resources and safe conservation of both indigenous and exogenously introduced genetic variability in crop plants, animals and their wild relatives will receive particular attention.

The use of bio-technologies will be promoted for evolving plants which consume less water, are drought resistant, pest resistant, contain more nutrition, give higher yields and are environmentally safe. There will be a time bound programme to list, catalogue and classify country’s vast agro bio-diversity.

Sensitization of the farming community with the environmental concerns will receive high priority. Balanced and conjunctive use of bio-mass, organic and inorganic fertilizers and controlled use of agro chemicals through integrated nutrients and pest management (INM and IPM) will be promoted to achieve the sustainable increases in agricultural production. A nation-wide programme for utilization of rural and urban garbage, farm residues and organic waste for organic matter repletion and pollution control will be worked out.

Farmers will be encouraged to take up farm/agro-forestry for higher income generation by evolving technology, extension and credit support packages and removing constraints to development of agro and farm forestry. Involvement of farmers and landless laborers will be sought in the development of pastures/forestry programs on public wastelands by giving financial incentives and entitlements to the usufructs of trees and pastures.

From the above, it is clear that the climatic changes may affect agricultural production severely and bring about a food crisis in the country, along with rising prices. As a strategy to tackle this problem, the Government launched the National Mission for sustainable Agriculture suggesting certain measures in crops and animal husbandry.

The mission’s activities will be: conduct research and development, absorb the improved technology and best practices; develop physical and financial infrastructure and institutional framework; provide facilities for information and promote capacity building. The policy aims to focus on dry land agriculture and integration of farming systems with livestock, fishery, etc. For agricultural growth, strategic planning is to be taken at agro-climatic zone level, develop customized interventions to raise productivity and link research with the farms.

Food and Nutritional Security.

Special efforts will be made to raise the productivity and production of crops to meet the increasing demand for food generated by increasing population and raw materials for expanding agro-based industries. The strategy will take into account the agronomic, climatic and environmental conditions to realize the full growth potential of every region.

Special attention will be given to development of new crop varieties, particularly of food crops, with higher nutritional value through adoption of bio-technology particularly genetic modification, while addressing bio-safety concerns.

A major thrust will be given to development of raided and irrigated horticulture, horticulture, roots and tubers, plantation crops, aromatic and medicinal plants, bee-keeping and sericulture, for augmenting food supply, exports and generating employment in rural areas.

Availability of hybrid seeds and disease-free planting materials of improved varieties, supported by a network of regional nurseries, tissue culture laboratories, seed farms will be promoted to support systematic development of horticulture having emphasis on increased production, post-harvest management, precision farming, bio-control of pests and quality regulation mechanism and exports.

Animal husbandry and fisheries also generate wealth and employment in agriculture sector. Development of animal husbandry, poultry, dairying and aqua-culture will receive a high priority in the efforts for diversifying agriculture, increasing animal protein availability in the food basket and for generating exportable surpluses. An integrated approach to marine and inland fisheries, designed to promote sustainable aquaculture practices, will be adopted.

The national Food Security Mission was launched in 2007-08 in 311 districts of 17 states with the following objectives: increase production of rice, wheat and pulses through increase in area:

  • Sustainable increase in productivity by maintaining the fertility of the soil and of the farms.
  • Creation of employment opportunities.
  • Increase farmer’s incomes to make them confident.

The strategy is to involve farmers and all other stakeholders in planning, execution and monitoring. Production of the various crops will be increased by promoting the use of improved technologies like seed, nutrients, plant protection, soil amendments, resource conservation, farm machines and tools.

Generation and Transfer of Technology.

A very high priority will be accorded to evolving new location-specific and economically viable improved varieties of agricultural and horticultural crops, livestock species. The regionalization of agricultural research, based on identified agro-climatic zones, will be accorded high priority.

Application of frontier sciences like bio-technology, remote sensing technologies, pre and post-harvest technologies, energy saving technologies, technology for environmental protection through national research system as well as proprietary research will be encouraged. The endeavour will be to build a well organized, efficient and result-oriented agriculture research and education system to introduce technological change in Indian agriculture.

Up-gradation of agricultural education and its orientation towards uniformity in education standards, women empowerment, user-orientation, vocationalization and promotion of excellence will be the hallmark of the new policy.

The research and extension linkages will be strengthened to improve quality and effectiveness of research and extension system. Innovative and decentralized institutional changes will be introduced to make the extension system farmer-responsible and farmer-accountable. Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),

Farmers Organizations, Cooperatives, corporate sector and para-technicians in agricultural extension will be encouraged for organizing demand-driven production systems. Appropriate structural, functional and institutional measures will be initiated to empower women and build their capabilities and improve their access to inputs, technology and other farming resources.

Inputs Management.

Adequate and timely supply of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, plant protection chemicals, bio-pesticides, agricultural machinery and credit at reasonable rates to farmers will be the effort of the Government. Soil testing and quality testing of fertilizers and seeds will be ensured and supply of spurious inputs will be checked. Balanced and optimum use of fertilizers will be promoted together with use of organic manures and bio-fertilizers to optimize the efficiency of nutrient use.

Development, production and distribution of improved varieties of seeds and planting materials and strengthening and expansion of seed and plant certification system with private sector participation will receive. a high priority. A National Seed Grid, will be established to ensure supply of seeds especially to areas
affected by natural calamities. The National Seeds Corporation (NSC) and State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI) will be restructured for efficient utilization of investment and manpower.

The development and strengthening of Infra-structural Facilities for production and distribution of quality seeds was launched in the 10th plan. Seed Bank scheme aims at providing quality seeds to farmers in difficult times and providing storage facilities. The SEED Village Scheme is another important initiative and the New seed policy aims to facilitate production and availability of seeds in time in villages.

Incentives for Agriculture.

The Government will endeavor to create a favorable economic environment for increasing capital formation and farmer’s own investments by removal of distortions in the incentive regime for agriculture, improving the terms of trade with manufacturing sectors and bringing about external and domestic market reforms backed by rationalization of domestic tax structure.

Because of impact of WTO, arrangements for protecting the farmers from adverse impact of undue price fluctuations in world markets and for promoting exports will be formulated as well other aspects of marketing such as quality, choice, health and bio-safety will be promoted.

The domestic agricultural market will be liberalized and all controls and regulations hindering increase in farmers income will be reviewed and abolished to ensure that agriculturists receive prices commensurate with their efforts, investment. Restrictions on the movement of agricultural commodities throughout the country will be progressively dismantled. To promote exports, the strategy would be to diversify agricultural production and setting up a supportive public management system.

The structure of taxes on food-grains and other commercial crops will be reviewed and rationalized. Appropriate measures will be adopted to ensure that agriculturists by and large remain outside the regulatory and tax collection systems. Farmers will be exempted from payment of capital gains tax on compulsory acquisition of agricultural land.

Investment in Agriculture.

Public investment for narrowing regional imbalances, accelerating development of supportive infrastructure for agriculture and rural development particularly rural connectivity will be stepped up. A conducive climate will be created through a favorable price and trade regime to promote farmers own investments as also investments by industries producing inputs for agriculture and agro-based industries.

Private sector investments in agriculture will also be encouraged more particularly in areas like agricultural research, human resource development, post-harvest management and marketing.

The quality and availability of electricity supply will be improved and the demand of the agriculture sector will be met adequately in a reliable and cost effective manner. Bridging the gap between irrigation potential created and utilized, completion of all on-going projects, restoration and modernization of irrigation infrastructure including drainage, evolving and implementing an integrated plan of augmentation and management of national water resources will receive special attention for augmenting the availability and use of irrigation water.

Emphasis will be laid on development of marketing infrastructure and techniques of preservation, storage and transportation with a view to reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring a better return to the grower. The weekly periodic markets under the direct control of Panchayat Raj institutions will be upgraded and strengthened. Direct marketing and pledge financing will be promoted. Producers markets.,on the lines of Ryatu Bazars will be encouraged throughout the country.

Storage facilities for different kinds of agricultural products, the establishment of cold chains, provision of pcooling facilities to farmers as a service and cold storage in the terminal markets and improving the retail marketing arrangements in urban areas, will be given priority, along with up-gradation and dissemination of market intelligence. Collaboration between the producer cooperatives and the corporate sector will be encouraged to promote agro-processing industry.

Institutional Structure.

Indian agriculture is characterized by pdominance of small and marginal farmers. Institutional reforms will be so pursued as to channelize their energies for achieving greater productivity and production. The approach to rural development and land reforms will focus on the following areas. Consolidation of holdings all over the country on the pattern of north-western States.

Redistribution of surplus lands and waste lands among the landless farmers, unemployed youth. Tenancy reforms to recognize the rights of the tenants and share croppers. Development of lease markets for increasing the size of holdings by making legal provisions for giving private lands on lease for cultivation and agri-business.

Updating and improvement of land records, computerization and issue of land pass-books to the farmers and Recognition of women’s rights in land. The rural poor will be increasingly involved in the implementation of land reforms with the help of Panchayati Raj Institutions, Voluntary Groups, Social Activists and Community Leaders.

Private sector participation will be promoted through contract farming and land leasing arrangements to be encouraged. The rural credit institutions will be geared to promote savings, investments and risk management. Special measures will be taken for improving the cooperatives to remove institutional and financial weaknesses and formation of a simplified procedure for sanction and disbursement of agriculture credit.

The endeavor will be to-ensure distribution equity in the disbursement of credit. Micro-credit will be promoted as an effective tool for alleviating poverty. Self Help Group Bank linkage system, suited to Indian rural sector, will be developed.

Risk Management.

Despite technological and economic advancements, the condition of farmers continues to be unstable due to natural calamities and price fluctuations. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme covering all farmers and all crops throughout the country with built-in provisions for protecting farmers from natural disasters, price fluctuations, etc. to be made effective. Endeavor will be made to provide a package insurance policy for farmers, right from sowing of crops to post-harvest operations, including market fluctuations in the prices of agricultural produce.

The Central Government will continue to discharge its responsibility to ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce through announcement of Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) policy for major agricultural commodities. For keeping the trade environment conducive, the price structure and trade mechanism will be monitored. The Government will enlarge the coverage of futures markets to minimize the wide fluctuation in commodity prices as also for hedging their risks. The endeavor will be to cover all important agricultural products under futures trading in course of time.

As far as management reforms are concerned, the central government will assist the efforts .of the states through crop/area/target group efforts made in interactive mode in partnership with the states. To increase exports, products would be graded and standardized. The database in agriculture would be prepared to make reliable estimates and forecasts. Remote sensing would be made to collect, collate and disseminate data on agricultural prices for the use of farmers.

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