Report:Agenda to Retain Young Farmers
Congratulating, Narendra Modi for the record breaking victory in the General Elections and for forming a new government at the Centre with an eye for better governance, farmer leaders from various organisations discussed their key issues under the banner of Federation of Indian Farmers Organisations at Indian Women’s Press Corps, New Delhi.
Among the eminent farmer leaders who addressed the gathering where Dr M J Khan, BJP National Executive Member and Convener FIFO (Federation of Indian Farmers Organisations); KB Chowdhary, President Bhartiya Krishak Samaj; KS Gujjar, President Dehat Morcha; Puneet Singh Thind, Convener Rashtriya Kisan Sangh; BS Dalal, President Pragatisheel Kisan Club, Haryana and Sudhir Agarwal, President UP Seed Growers Association.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Khan emphasised that “We will disseminate the issues related to agricultural sector on a larger platform. We would request national channel of Doordarshan to prepare documentaries in various languages related to farmer issues. This will help the new generation farmers to retain their ancestral profession.”
Leaders of various farmer organisations expressed their confidence that Modi Government will take bold initiatives to bring about a revolutionary transformation in the farming sector and would take steps for the welfare of the farmers. The panel spelled out and discussed various issues faced by farmers in India which includes the trading, acquisition, skills to use machinery, etc.
Leaders also presented 5 recommendations for transparent governance in the farming sector, as follows:
- 1 To establish National Farmers Welfare Commission for effective planning and Commission on Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).
- 2 To create Foreign Agriculture Service cadre to appoint Agriculture Trade Counsellors so that Indian food and agriculture gets international prominence.
- 3 Separate budget for agriculture should be prepared and presented in the Parliament on the pattern of Railway Budget.
- 4 Agriculture to be brought under the Concurrent List of the Constitution for better central planning, as the business of food and agriculture is globalising and there is an increasing role of Central Government in making laws and policies, which take advantage of the global opportunities.
- 5 Farmers Income Insurance Scheme to safeguard farmers from situations like weather, trade and failure of seeds or crops. The need is to ensure minimum income guaranteed to the farmers, based on his land holding and other factors.
It was also declared during the discussion that about 30 farmer organisations from all over the country will be brought on one platform and FIFO would be renamed as Indian Farmers Federation (IFF) by the end of July. The new body will closely work with the new government in bringing the farmers agenda to the centre stage of national policy making. Farmer leaders also expressed their deep disappointment regarding the policies made by the previous UPA government for farming sector. Agriculture has grown 6 fold in the last 6 decades, while farmers income have deteriorated. From what used to be 1:2 ratio in rural urban incomes, it has declined to 1:6 ratio now, which means if a person living in an urban area earns Rs 1 the farmer gets only 15 paisa.
Farmers’ leaders demanded that the budget for agriculture should be in accordance to its contribution to the national Gross Domestice Product (GDP). While agriculture contributes 14 per cent to GDP, budgetary allocations to this sector is not even 2 per cent. The much talked about project of replicating Chinese Rural Business Hubs Model has remained only on papers since 2005. It was unanimously agreed that Government attention is required to catalyse growth in farming sector and help farmers.