Budget 2019: Indian agriculture will fly if Modi brings these reforms in agri-policy
Budget 2019: The Union Government and the state governments together should adopt a seven-pronged strategy to enable farmers to ‘board the aeroplane’.
India’s agriculture is akin to a huge aeroplane waiting to take off a long distance non-stop flight but without adequate fuel. Can it fly? The answer can be yes if agri-policy is reoriented to enable this. The contribution of agriculture to the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices (2011-12 prices) is only 14% while nearly 47% of its population is engaged in the agriculture sector. Contrast this with non-agriculture which contributes 86% to GVA with 53% workforce. Implicit in this is agri-labour productivity is just 19% compared to that of non- agriculture which gets reflected in low levels of farm income compared to non-farm incomes. Though the country has moved from import-dependence to self-sufficiency and to a food exporting country, there has been no concomitant and equally commensurate impact on farmer’s incomes. There is, therefore, a need to reorient agri-policy to transform farmers’ lives in the upcoming budget of 2019. The Union Government and the state governments together should adopt a seven-pronged strategy to enable farmers to ‘board the aeroplane’.