Revolutionary Initiatives of 2015

The year 2015 brought in a number of revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector. The government introduced a number of initiatives during the last eighteen months for the development of the agriculture sector and welfare of farmers.

As per the FAO world agriculture statistics, India is the world’s largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, major spices, select fibrous crops such as jute, and staples such as millets and castor oil seed. India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world’s major food staples. Complementing the growing demands, the government has introduced various initiatives to stimulate growth in this sector. Following are the sector wise achievements:

Department of Agriculture and Cooperation

The Soil Health Card Scheme was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in February 2015. For this, INR 1090 million have been released till December 2015. INR 5680 million have been sanctioned for providing Soil Health Cards to all the farmers. During 2014-15 and 2015-16, the government sanctioned 79 and 101 Soil Health Laboratories as against 43 such labs in the past four years. Similarly, 77 mobile Soil Testing Labs were sanctioned in the present regime as against 17 in the past regime. Under soil health management, INR 2880 million have been sanctioned as against only 720 million in the past.

Earlier, there were no schemes to promote organic farming. A new scheme called Parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana was introduced in 2015-16 with INR 3000 million. Till date, 8000 clusters have been farmed.

Joint liability groups for landless labours were only 6.72 lakh during 2005-14. In 2014-15 alone, there have been 7.2 lakh group formations.

A new scheme called the Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) was launched with an allocation of INR 53000 million for the present year with an objective to provide water to every farm. Officers have been trained to prepare for the district irrigation plan. A hundred district irrigation plans are scheduled to be ready by March 31, 2016 and remaining districts will be prepared by the next year. The prime minister has launched the scheme to offer a permanent solution to the problem of drought. Under water management, there is nearly a 40 percent increase in investment. Micro irrigation and water conservation are the thrust areas under this scheme.

National Agriculture Market Scheme (NAM) was launched to connect mandis across the entire country. More than 20 states have already expressed their interest in linking their mandis with this project. An electrical portal is scheduled to be launched by March 2016. The first 200 mandis are scheduled to be connected by September 2016, another 200 mandis by March, 2017 and the remaining 187 by March 2018. Till December 31, 2015, proposals for 214 mandis from 8 states were sanctioned INR 1111.6 million.

The norms for compensation to the disaster affected farmers have been changed from 50 to 30 percent of the minimum affected area. Further, the compensation margins have been increased 1.5 times.

Sanctioned post of extension workers increased from 18,000 to 26,000.

Pesticides registration has increased five times. There were 51594 registrations in 2014-15.

INR 100 million have been sanctioned for honey bee development. This is in contrast to INR 40 million sanctioned in the last four years. There has been an increase in the production of honey from 72000 MT in the preceding five years to 81000 MT in the present year.

INR 85,00,000 million will be provided through the bank so that the farmers do not have to borrow from moneylenders. INR 53,41,510 million agriculture credit were advanced to farmers in 2014-15 and INR 60,31,860 million in 2015-16 (till December), thereby, achieving an increase of 23 and 30 percent.

Neem Coated Urea is being distributed consistently and measures have been taken to prevent black marketing of urea. Due to this effort, black marketing of urea have been restricted and production has also improved undeterred by the availability of lower quantity of urea.

Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries

Two National Kamdhenu Breeding Centres opened in the country, one in the North and one in the South.

National Gokul Mission started for development and conservation of indigenous cattle breeds. INR 5500 million was sanctioned in 2014-15 (till December) as against only INR 450 million in 2013-14.

Blue Revolution was initiated to increase production in fisheries. Production increased to 150 lakh tonnes this year as against 95.72 lakh tonnes in the last year.

Coverage under National Livestock Mission (NLM) extended to the entire country. Nearly 19 lakh animals were insured in comparison to 10.88 lakh in last year (2013-14). Similarly, only 300 districts were covered in 2013-14 under NLM and in 2014-15, nearly 676 districts have been covered.

There has been an increase in the average price paid to the dairy farmers – INR 28.96 per litre to INR 32.72 per litre.

Animal vaccinations increased 1.5 times during 2014-15.

There has been a drastic reduction in Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks. From 377 cases of FMD in 2013-14, there was a reduction to 238 cases in 2014-15 and currently, it stands to 46 cases in 2015-16 (till December).

The seats in the veterinary colleges have increased by 1.5 times from 914 seats in September 2014 to 1332 in 2014-15.

Department of Agriculture Research and Education

Central Agriculture University, Imphal will have thirteen colleges instead of the existing seven in the north eastern region.

Four new colleges have opened in Bundelkhand under Rani Laxmi Bai Central Agriculture University.

INR 30990 million has been sanctioned for remodelling of KVKs and agriculture extension.

60000 hectare area of land has been covered for increasing production of pulses and oil seeds. Further, more than 60 percent increase can be seen in the development of crops species in comparison to 2013.

Agriculture machinery production has been increased to support labour, cost and time in agriculture.

Contingency plans have been made to fight against drought, flood, hailstorm, cyclone, etc. and 600 districts have already been targeted.

New Research centres opened in Jharkhand and Motihari on the lines of Pusa, New Delhi.

Eight new agricultural universities opened in several states to give thrust to the agriculture education.

Recorded 41 percent increase in admissions in state agriculture universities in comparison to 2013.

50 percent increase in learning units in agriculture universities.

New schemes such as Mera Gaon Mera Garv, Mission 2050, Farmers First, Student Ready started in 2015.

Conclusion

The New Year heralds a new transformation for the Indian agriculture sector. Adequate training skills backed by appropriate investments will catapult the agriculture sector to attain heights of success. Proper attention must be given to the surplus produce and alternative measures must be implemented to ensure that the surplus produce is not wasted. It is imperative to utilise every produce and chalk out a growth chart for the farmer. Thus, 2016 might prove to take India into newer heights of economic and global success.


The writer is Market Research Analyst
References:

Press Releases, FAOSTAT Report