[Gist of Kurushetra July 2020] Progress in Agriculture Sector to help in making the country self-reliant

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Agriculture Sector
Mains level: Progress in Agriculture Sector to help in making the country self-reliant

Introduction:

• Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has emphasized on increasing private investment in the field of agriculture. Addressing an international webinar organized by Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut and a national webinar organized by Junagadh Agricultural University June 13, 2020 in New Delhi, Shri Tomar said that this will Increase prosperity in the agriculture sector, which in turn will increase self-reliance and prosperity in the country. He also called upon scientists to contribute in increasing agricultural production and mitigate difficulties.

• In the webinar organized by Meerut University, Shri Tomar said that in foodgrain production, India is not only self-sufficient but also surplus. Farmers have demonstrated that they are capable of dealing with difficult challenges.

• To deal with the growing population of the country which is expected to reach 160 crores by the year 2050, plant breeders and scientists in India are faced with the challenge of increasing production of quality foodgrains and providing enough nutritional food to all Indians by undertaking progressive farming to develop disease-resistant and pest-resistant varieties that require less area and are able to grow in unfavourable conditions like dry climate, high temperature, saline and acidic soils. Bio-fortification strategy must also be used to develop high quality crop varieties having high protein, iron, zinc etc. nutritional content. For this, plant breeders have to use latest biotechnology methods in addition to traditional methods of farming.

• Shri Tomar said in connection with attracting private investment in the agriculture sector, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has announced a provision of Rs. One lakh crore for developing agricultural infrastructure. Similar provisions have also been announced for the fisheries, animal husbandry, bee-farming, herbal farming, food processing etc, sectors. Shri Tomar emphasized on soil health testing and appealed for creating awareness about this.

• In the webinar organized by Junagadh Agricultural University, the Union Agriculture Minister stressed on achieving better farm production with less water. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has said unless the villages do not become self-reliant, the country cannot prosper. To strengthen the rural economy, agriculture has to prosper and also its sister concerns. When this happens, the country will be able to face all other challenges.

• He said in the Coronavirus crisis when the wheels of the world economy had slowed down, the Indian farmers produced a bumper crop with the resources available in the rural areas, crop harvesting continued at normal pace during the lockdown, crop production was more than last year and sowing of kharif crops has also been 45 percent more than last year.

• This shows the resilience of our villages and farmers. Shri Tomar said that no other government has provided so much fund for agriculture and farmers welfare as the Modi Government. The PM-Kisan scheme alone is allotted more budget than the whole agriculture budget previously. He also stressed on linking more and more farmers to the 10000 new Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) whose formation has been announced recently.

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