Uttar Pradesh set to give agri sector further push
With Uttar Pradesh’s politics revolving mostly around the farm sector, the Yogi Adiyanath government faces the challenge of giving the farm and allied sectors a further boost ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the slew of measures announced in the Union budget for the welfare of farmers notwithstanding.Updated: Feb 06, 2018 13:06 IST
With Uttar Pradesh’s politics revolving mostly around the farm sector, the Yogi Adiyanath government faces the challenge of giving the farm and allied sectors a further boost ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the slew of measures announced in the Union budget for the welfare of farmers notwithstanding.
And the government seems to be well aware of that and is expected to make more announcements to improve their lot in the annual budget for 2018-2019, likely to be presented in the UP assembly next week.
“Already, the farmers are on top of agenda of the government. We will ensure that farmers get remunerative prices. This will be done by setting up additional procurement centres for wheat and paddy,” said minister for agriculture Surya Pratap Shahi.
A committee of ministers has also been set up to look into the problems of potato growers. “Measures will soon be initiated to improve their lot on the committee’s recommendations. We are focusing on diversification as farmers remain mostly focused on wheat and paddy crops. An amendment to Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) Act is being contemplated to reach out to the farmers to get them better prices for their produce. We want to double the income of farmers by 2022,” said Shahi.
An action plan that NITI Ayog formulated for Uttar Pradesh also refers to the proposed agriculture sector reforms. The plan also refers to the challenge of transforming the agriculture sector, that has not grown despite claims of successive governments, by addressing issues of low growth, low productivity and low income of farmers. It asks the state government to identify reasons for decrease in canal irrigated area from 32.1 lakh hectare in 1990s to 25.5 lakh hectare now and take appropriate action.
A decrease in irrigated area assumes significance as the state’s backward regions like Bundelkhand have witnessed drought and a number of distressed farmers have reportedly committed suicide over the years. “Bundelkhand has seen 411 suicides of farmers from January 2014 to June 28, 2016,” said Saheb Lal Shukla, state president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhupendra Singh Mann group).
But a change in the UP story is perhaps now showing. If claims of the officers of the agriculture department were to be believed, the state achieved 3.5 percent growth in the agriculture sector in 2014-2015. The sector may have grown further in the following years.
After its installation on March 19, 2017, the Adityanath government had announced a number of measures for welfare of farmers. These included a loan waiver scheme involving an expenditure of Rs 36,000 crore for farmers in the state’s annual budget for 2017-2018.
Earlier, the UPA government too had taken a number of initiatives for the farmers. A debt relief scheme for farmers was implemented across India during the UPA regime. It had also introduced schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) scheme and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition and Resettlement Act 2013 to ensure that the farmers got better value for the land that was acquired for various development projects.