The year 2022 will mark 75 years of India’s independence. Ever since it came to power, the Narendra Modi government, with a view to welcoming 75 years of free India, has set itself the target of achieving significant agricultural goals by 2022.
Prime Minister Modi has urged the state governments to prioritise agriculture and has spoken about his government’s goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.
In the early years of the regime, the prime minister had pointed out that the central government is adopting a more scientific approach to farming and had urged farmers to use the agricultural benefits offered by the government.
Echoes of agricultural efforts in the previous Budget
In the 2020 Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a 16-point action plan aimed at boosting agricultural produce to benefit farmers. The action plan included developing a more competitive agriculture market, more sustainable cropping patterns, and more competitive farming.
The 2020-21 Budget also pointed out that more than 6.11 crore farmers had been covered under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, or the crop insurance scheme.
Comprehensive irrigation plans were designed for 100 districts that were identified as water-stressed.
Funds have been earmarked for over 20 lakh farmers to set up standalone solar units. The finance minister also said that the government plans to mentor farmers on balanced and optimal utilisation of water, manure and fertilizers in their fields.
Agriculture Export Policy
On the export front, the Agriculture Export Policy drives the state and central government’s efforts to boost agricultural exports. It steers state action plans that identify infrastructure gaps and export potentials, and develop product-specific action plans.
On the other hand, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has set up a Farmer Connect Portal to provide better export-market linkages to farmers.
New farm laws
The government has also promulgated three new ordinances aimed at bringing in major agricultural reforms. These ordinances aim to provide a better agricultural trading ecosystem to the farmers, empower and protect them through price assurance, and liberalise the essential commodities segment with a view to greater benefits for farmers.
However, these three farm laws have now become a major bone of contention, with thousands of farmers and close to 50 farmer unions protesting against the laws and demanding that these be fully repealed. The government, on the other hand, has refused to repeal the laws which have now been in force for over 6 months.
For over a month now, farmers -- mostly from Punjab and Haryana -- have picketed the Delhi border, raised slogans, had six rounds of discussions with the government to end the deadlock, and given political fodder to the opposition to attack the ruling dispensation.
During the 6th round of talks between Centre-farmers over contentious farm laws, Union Ministers break bread with farmer leaders at Vigyan Bhawan.
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Negotiations are still continuing and the government hopes there will be a resolution to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders.
Recent steps towards agriculture’s Vision 2022
More recently, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with APEDA and India’s National Cooperative Union.
These MOUs are part of the government’s efforts to increase agricultural exports to $60 billion.
They are also expected to help the government achieve its target of doubling the income of farmers. These agencies will facilitate better processing, value addition and farm-to-fork development of agricultural produce.