Day 68 – Q 3. Is it policy formulation or the implementation of policy which has made Indian farmers to remain as one of the most vulnerable economic sections?
3. Is it policy formulation or the implementation of policy which has made Indian farmers to remain as one of the most vulnerable economic sections?
Agriculture employs about 49% of Indian workforce, contributing to only about 16% of GDP showing the grim situation of Indian agriculture. This is further reflected in indebtedness, protests and suicides of farmers making them the most vulnerable section of society.
The reason for this distress among farmers is because of both poor policy formulation and implementation.
Issues with regard to policy formulation:
- Following top to down approach while formulating policies with no wider consultation from all stakeholders.
- Focus on short term solutions and populist measure rather than addressing core structural issues. Example- farm loan waiver schemes.
- One size fits all approach irrespective of demands of the region. Example- same MSP for all regions.
- Limitations of APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act) which further aggravated the situation for farmers with problems of cartelization and non-remunerative prices for produce.
- Failure of policies to look into issues of landless farmers, women farmers, tillers etc.
- MSP regime biasness towards cereals.
- Lack of coordination between state and centre with respect to various policies.
- Restrictions on exports also affect farmers’ income.
Issues with regard to policy implementation:
- Institutional problems such as delay in payment of subsidies and compensation, redtapism etc.
- Rampant corruption of officials. Example – ghost beneficiaries to pocket the benefits of various schemes, leakages as in case of diversion of fertilizers for black market.
- Low level of awareness among farmers with regard to different schemes of government.
- Misdirected benefits. Example- insurance companies benefitted to the tune of 10000Cr as per CAG and Centre for science and environment report.
- Delay in creating infrastructure such as incomplete irrigation projects integrated cold chains, warehouses, transport facilities etc.
- Information, Education and Awareness campaign for the farmers by leveraging the ICT infrastructure.
- Wider consultation with respect to policy formulation with all stakeholders.
- Use of JAM (JanDhan-Aadhar-Mobile) trinity for identification of beneficiaries.
- Promotion of Organic Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming, and Precision Agriculture to reduce input cost making the agriculture remunerative for farmers.
- Full scale implementation of e-NAM.
- Promotion of Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) for the benefit of small and marginal farmers to give them bargaining power.
- Creation of non-farm jobs through schemes such as PM Employment Generation scheme to reduce stress on agriculture.
Thus, there is urgent need to work on both policy formulation and implementation to make the agriculture sustainable and rewarding for farmers and achieve the dream of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Best answer: Shri