Vice President calls for modernising agriculture to boost farmers’ income
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called for modernisation of agriculture to boost rural economy. Speaking at an event in Gurugram on Sunday, Naidu said, “Building on our past experiences, we must regularly revisit and renew our strategies on agriculture and rural development and introduce new technologies as part of our efforts to build a self-reliant India.”
He said agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and the country cannot progress if the villages remain underdeveloped. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population, according to a report by IBEF.
The Vice President underscored the need to guarantee income security for the nation’s farmers and to unshackle the latent potential of India’s rural economy. He said, “Doubling the farmers’ income should be our endeavour. Along with this, the quality of life of people in rural areas should be improved.”
While there is no official data on the rural household income for recent years, the Reserve Bank of India data on agricultural wages, an important component of the rural income, illustrates a decreasing rate of growth between 2014 and 2019.
In the traditional village economy, a MGNREGS worker is considered as the poorest. However, as reported last week by Hindustan Times, the latest Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) shows that for all but five states in India, average income from cultivation per agricultural household is actually less than what MGNREGS work would theoretically pay in 365 days. This illustrates the urgent need to improve agricultural incomes in the economy.
Naidu’s comments come in the backdrop of the farmers’ agitation that has continued for more than ten months with hundreds of farmers agitating against the controversial farm laws. The protest has caused obstruction of traffic and road blockades in multiple regions of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in a smaller measure across other states, leading to a disruption of supply chains which had already been under pressure post-lockdown.