Prioritising Agriculture In India - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Prioritising Agriculture in India

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 13, 2024 11:48 pm

Changing climate patterns may prove to be a major obstacle for Indian farmers if adequate measures are not taken at the earliest to make agriculture in India sustainable and viable. The farming community in the country have begun to experience the effect of climate change, as erratic monsoons and lack of proper irrigation facilities have had an adverse effect on agricultural output. It signifies the urgent need for policy change and proactive measures to safeguard the country from serious climate disaster. The Indian economy is majorly agrarian based and more than half of the country’s workforce is engaged in the sector so countless livelihoods are at stake. Agriculture is one of the major driving forces of the Indian economy as a good harvest pushes the country’s GDP up. So to maintain a steady growth rate, attention should be given to the agriculture sector to avoid economic stalemate. Moreover, lower farm productivity will have a direct impact on food security which will disturb the country’s trade balance due to rise in food import bill. To ensure adequate agriculture production we need to tackle the problem from its root, rather than offering knee-jerk reactions.

Agriculture in India has been neglected for many years now, as our priority has changed over the years. For instance, the country’s first five-year plan put emphasis on agriculture, it saw several new dams and irrigation projects undertaken during this period. But quite abruptly, during the second five-year plan heavy industries received more attention than agriculture. Furthermore, the benefits of the green revolution remained confined to a few food grains and to a limited territory. Apart from the northern region of the country, there was little to no impact of the green revolution in any other region of the country. More than four-decades later, in his budget speech the then Union Finance Minister late Pranab Mukherjee revealed that to ensure green revolution in eastern India, (perhaps the most fertile land in the country as it is part of the vast Ganga-Brahmaputra basin) the government had sanctioned funds. But nearly two decades later, farmers in eastern India are still waiting for the funds to reach and usher them into the green revolution.

Similarly, since the mid-sixties not much effort has been made to enhance irrigation facilities or to adopt modern techniques to increase agricultural production. It is important to note that 52 per cent of India’s farming land enjoys irrigation facilities, while the rest are dependent on monsoons. There is urgent need to extend irrigation facilities to all agricultural land in-order to combat the ill effects of climate change. For example, adverse effects on agri-production in parts of the country that experienced drought-like situations during the last monsoon could be stopped  with necessary irrigation facilities. Moreover, embracing modern methods instead of banking solely on traditional ways of farming is a must for the well-being and future prospects of Indian agriculture.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Mar 13, 2024 11:48:10 pm
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