17 January, 2021

A Half-Dug Field

The budget addresses agriculture, but provides no strategy for renewal

R. Prasad
A Half-Dug Field
Both the Economic Survey and the UPA government's mid-term report card have rightly highlighted the many significant achievements of the last three years, including an average growth rate in GDP of 8.6 per cent. They, however, admit that the farm sector, which provides livelihood for 115 million families, is in distress. The report card correctly points out that the constraints in the supply of essential food items like wheat, pulses and oilseeds could upset macro-economic stability.

Having identified the problem in both human and statistical dimensions, the budget fails to provide a strategy for agricultural renewal. It has provided funds for bringing an additional 2.4 million hectares under irrigation. The expansion of farm credit to cover an additional 50 lakh farmers and total credit availability of Rs 2,25,000 crore are welcome steps, although such figures alone are not going to prevent farmers affected by economic penury from committing suicides. Provision has been made both for research and extension and additional support has been...


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