‘Putting Farmer First’ has been the motto of the government led by PM Narendra Modi. For BJP government, whether in centre or in states, farmer’s welfare has been of utmost importance. To ensure that the farmer reaps good yields, focus on strengthening production and productivity is imperative.
Modi government has almost doubled the budgetary allocation to Rs. 2.11 lakh crore in its 5 years, whereas in the 5 years of UPA government, they allocated Rs. 1.21 lakh crore for agriculture.
To ensure ‘more crop per drop’, Krishi Sinchai Yojana is being implemented in a mission mode so that by 2020, the fear and threat of droughts is substantially reduced. This is helping create irrigation sources and harnessing rainwater at the micro level so that every farmer can increase his productivity for every drop of water. Modi government has covered micro irrigation of 37.49 lakh hectares (as on 21 Feb 2019), with unprecedented focus on water management under PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. Rs. 50,000 crore is earmarked for ensuring that every farm gets water.
From soil health to irrigation facilities to crop disease control, a holistic approach has been adopted by Modi government for reducing the cost of production or increasing the cropping intensity. Considering that the health of the soil plays a fundamental role in agriculture, the government has dispatched more than 18.5 crore soil health cards to farmers. Soil Health Cards carry crop-specific recommendations for nutrients and fertilizers to help farmers improve their productivity. Through these soil health cards, farmers are able to understand exact nutrients that their soil needs and spend accordingly. It is helping them in optimising the fertilizer usage and prepare for a good crop instead of being in the dark about what they need to do.
To further reduce cost on fertilizers, all domestically produced and exported urea is now neem coated and Modi government has completed the task of delivering 100% neem coated urea. Neem coated urea is found to be more effective for crops and will reduce about 10 percent of expected urea consumption. This is not only reducing the cost of cultivation for the farmer but is helping in improve the soil quality. With government reviving the defunct fertilizer plants and setting up new plants, urea production has increased in the country significantly. It has eliminated diversion of urea, enabled farmers to get urea easily without facing shortages and has also made farming more efficient.
Modi government has successfully touched all the facets of agriculture with its progressive policies as is evident from record total grain production of 2,848.3 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 (as per the 4th advanced estimate).
The procurement of pulses and oilseeds has increased by almost 13 times during the year 2014 till date as compared to the procurement done from 2009-2014. NDA government procured Rs. 44,142 crore worth of pulses & oilseeds (quantity of 93.97 lakh MT) from farmers (as on 4 Dec 2018), benefitting 54 lakh farmers whereas it was Rs. 3,117.38 crore (quantity of 7.28 lakh MT) during the UPA’s 5 years.
The records have become a feature because of the hard work of farmers of India and holistic focus of the government on farmer welfare.
The historic MSP hike of 1.5 times of the cost of production has been a promise that the government has kept with a view to increase farmers’ income. For sugarcane farmers, a 175% increase in the MSP of sugarcane to Rs. 275 per quintal, is ensuring fair price for their produce. Apart from this, arrears of the sugarcane farmers have been cleared by the government easing their burden. In order to provide stability to the sector, fuel is being made from sugarcane. In fact, ethanol production has taken a huge leap from 40 crore liters in 2013-14 to 140 crore liters in 2017-2018.
Science, speed and scale have been revitalizing agriculture in India. Every step of Modi government has one or more of these elements being infused into the mix to make things better for farmers.