New Delhi, Jan 31: Reiterating the Government's focus on doubling farmers income by 2022, the Economic Survey 2019-2020 tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasised on mechanisation of agriculture, livestock and fisheries sector, food processing, financial inclusion, agricultural credit and crop insurance, micro irrigation and buffer stock management.
With the shrinking land and water resources and labour force, the onus rests on mechanization of production and post-harvesting operations says Economic Survey. Agriculture Mechanization will help Indian farming transform into commercial farming from subsistence farming. Emphasizing on the need to enhance mechanization in agriculture, Economic Survey pointed out that in India, mechanization is 40 percent compared to China (59.5 percent) and Brazil (75 percent). Livestock income has become an important secondary source of income for millions of rural families and has assumed an important role in achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income, says Economic Survey.
Livestock sector has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.9 per cent during last five years. The Economic Survey further states that fisheries remain an important source of food, nutrition, employment and income in India. It provides livelihood to about 16 million fishers and fish farmers in the country. Fisheries sector has registered annual average growth rate of more than 7 per cent in the recent years. Recognizing the importance of the sector independent department of Fisheries has been created in 2019. Further stressing on the goal of doubling farmers income by 2022, the Economic Survey stressed on the need to promote food processing sector as higher level of processing helps in the reduction of wastage, improves value addition, promotes crop diversification, ensures better return to the farmers, promotes employment as well as increases export earnings. "During the last 6 years ending 2017-18, Food Processing Industries sector has been growing at an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of around 5.06 per cent," says Economic Survey.
The Sector constitutes as much as 8.83 per cent and 10.66 per cent of Gross Value Added (GVA) in Manufacturing and Agriculture sector respectively in 2017-18 at 2011-12 prices. The Economic Survey also pointed out the need for increasing financial inclusion in north east areas to rectify highly skewed distribution of credit in North East. Highlighting the need for crop insurance, the Economic Survey underscores the benefits of Pradhan Mantri FasalBimaYojana(PMFBY) which has been under implementation since 2016 to provide risk coverage from pre-sowing to post harvest natural preventable risks. PMFBY envisages increase in coverage from the existing 23 per cent to 50 per cent of Gross Cropped Area(GCA). The Government has also created a National Crop Insurance Portal which provides interface among all stakeholders. Following the natural trajectory of development process and owing to structural changes taking place in economy share of agriculture and allied sectors in Gross Value Added (GVA) of the country at current prices has declined from 18.2 per cent in 2014-15 to 16.5 per cent in 2019- 2020. The Survey further proposed revision of rates under National Food Security Act to address the issue of burgeoning food subsidy bill. Economic Survey also advises for prudent management of Food Corporation of India (FCI) buffer stocks. To increase water use efficiency at farm level, Economic Survey advises further penetration of Micro Irrigation(drip and sprinkle irrigation) through schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). The Economic Survey also mentions the dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund(MIF) with an initial corpus of Rs. 5,000 crores created with NABARD. (UNI)