Interactive Discussion on "The Challenges Facing Indian Agriculture"

Discussion in Progress

With more than 50% of India’s rural population depending on Agriculture for their livelihood, it plays an important role in India’s economy. Despite various attempts by different governments to make agriculture self-sustainable, the condition of the farmers still remains dire. Of the numerous schemes to help the farmers, only a small fraction of the intended beneficiaries feel the impact.

More than 80% of the farmers are small and marginal farmers owning as less as two acres of land. High dependency on monsoon and increasing input cost, makes farming economically unprofitable for them. Lack of last mile institutional credit linkages forces them to depend on middlemen leading them to further exploitation.

Although the Centre & State governments have devised several incentives and welfare schemes for these smallholder farmers but lack of awareness, illiteracy and poor accessibility, prevent them from reaping the benefits meant for them.

The Agriculture sector in India today faces various long standing problems and challenges – costly farm inputs, lack of proper irrigation system and dependence on monsoon, lack of storage facilities and crop insurance.

To discuss the policy interventions and status of agriculture sector in India, GPPI-CPR organised an interactive discussion on “Challenges Facing Indian Agriculture” on 10th March 2016The discussion was co-chaired by Mr. Prem Das Rai, MP, and Mr. Shiv Kumar Udasi, MP.

Mr Harish Damodaran, Rural Affairs and Agriculture Editor, The Indian Express and Dr. Tushar Shah, Senior Fellow, Colombo based International Water Management Institute, were the speakers for this discussion. The speakers presented a broad understanding on how the agriculture sector has evolved in the country economically, in terms of production, prices, outputs etc. over the past one decade; focus of 2016 budget on farm policies and challenges. Also what kind of interventions need to be carried out in terms reforms, budget and policy initiatives. The discussion also engaged with the evolution, practice and model of irrigation in Indian Agriculture through the example of states such as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Further, the discussion provided an understanding of how welfare schemes such as Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMSKY) should be refocused and reformed for improved & better developments in agriculture sector.