Days after the agriculture sector got a big push in budget 2018-2019, NITI Aayog member, and the man behind policy making on agrarian economics, Professor Ramesh Chand in an exclusive interview to RSTV said that Prime Minister Modi will meet all the stake holders on February 19 th and 20th of February on how the policies will be implemented on the ground keeping in mind the NDA government’s vision of doubling farmers income.
During the course of the interview Chand disclosed that on March 1, the government will hold discussions on how MSP will be implenmented on the ground keeping in mind the price differential schemes. The veteran policy maker even spoke on how the states will be given incentives on strengthening the rural markets.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
Are we seeing a paradigm shift in agricultural policies?
Two years back when PM Modi said that we should double the farmers income between 2016 to 2022 , which means targets have to be set. Till now our targets were set for production, now there is a paradigmn shift and the focus will be the lives of farmers.
According to NSSO, average monthly income of farmers is 6426. So, which income will be doubled actual or minimum?
We have estimated that the total income of all farmers divided by the number of cultivators. This number will be higher. This concept will be successful. This budget has talked about improving the lives of the farmers. A socio-economic audit will also be done. We have hunger but the incidence of hunger is low. We are net exporters now. We now need to pay attention to the lives of farmers. Are they enthused to produce more food . That’s the cause to ponder , that’s what the present government is doing.
Main source of farmers can’t be farming alone, is the government focusing on non-farm rural sectors?
We have defined five to six sources . After 2001, a process has been set , for the first time number of cultivators have started declining because we have more labour in agriculture. NSSO data has shown that. We need to create opportunities beyond harvest as some value addition may be non rural sector for example food processing. Income will then be distributed among various denominators.
(Watch the entire interview at 10 pm on Wednesday)