June 21, 2024


Passion For Business

New agriculture-related laws are a remedy for farmers’ problems


The recently-enacted three agriculture-related laws are a remedy for problems faced by Indian agriculture for decades and not a malady as purportedly made out by some, said Economic Survey 2020-21 which projected the growth of the sector to be around 3.4 per cent in 2020-21 as against 2.8 per cent in 2019-20.

“The newly-introduced farm laws herald a new era of market freedom which can go a long way in the improvement of farmer welfare in India,” said the Survey, which batted for a paradigm shift for agriculture from rural livelihood sector to a modern business enterprise.

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Defending the farm Acts, the Survey said a number of committees constituted since 2001 have been advocating such reforms in Indian agriculture for long. It cited as many as 12 expert committee, Parliamentary Standing committee and Chief Ministers’ committee reports that have come out in last two decades.

“The farmers in India have suffered from various restrictions in marketing their produce. There were restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards. The farmers were also restricted to sell the produce only to registered licensees of the State governments. Further, barriers existed in free flow of agriculture produce between various States owing to the prevalence of various APMC legislations enacted by the State governments,” the Survey said.

It said the agriculture sector showed its resilience amid the adversities of Covid-induced lockdowns and remained the sole bright spot by clocking a growth of 3.4 per cent at constant prices during 2020-21 even when the other sectors registered a negative growth. The growth in agriculture in 2019-20 was 2.8 per cent.

Food subsidy Bill

It expressed concern over the ballooning food subsidy Bill, which is “becoming unmanageable large”. It called for a revision in central issue price, which remained at ₹2 and ₹3 per kg for wheat and rice respectively since 2013.

According to the Survey, the economic cost of wheat has increased from ₹1,908.32 per quintal in 2013-14 to ₹2,683.84 in 2020-21 while that of rice has increased from ₹2,615.51 per quintal in 2013-14 to ₹3,723.76 in 2020-21.

It said as against an agriculture credit flow target of ₹1,50,000 crore set for the current fiscal, a sum of ₹9,73,518 crore has been disbursed till November 30. In 2019-20, the credit flow to the sector was ₹13,92,470 crore against a target of ₹1,35,000 crore. The share of south India in agriculture credit was more than 40 per cent while it was less than 2 per cent of the north-eastern region. Though still negligible, there was a quantum jump in credit made available to the north-eastern region as its share in the previous financial year was less than 1 per cent.

Food processing industry sector, which relies totally on agriculture, has had a spectacular performance in the last five years ending 2018-19, with the sector registering an annual growth of nearly 10 per cent as compared to 3.12 per cent in agriculture and 8.25 per cent in manufacturing at 2011-12 prices, the Survey said.