India’s Agricultural Transformation: Modi’s Shift from Farmer to Consumer Focus

In the past two years, the Modi government in India has made significant policy shifts in its approach to farm and food policy, transitioning from a focus on producers to a greater emphasis on consumers. Here’s an overview of some key changes and initiatives:

  1. Budget Allocation for Agriculture: The budget for the financial year 2023-24 has shown a strong commitment to agriculture and farmers’ welfare. The Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, highlighted that the budget aims for inclusive and comprehensive development of farmers. It includes a total budget of about Rs 1.25 lakh crore for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, which encompasses Agricultural Education and Research. This budget includes provisions for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) and the Kisan Credit Card (KCC), both of which significantly benefit small farmers.
  2. Micro Irrigation Fund: A Micro Irrigation Fund with an initial corpus of Rs 5000 crore was created with NABARD. As of December 2022, projects worth Rs 4710.96 crore covering 17.09 lakh hectares have been approved. This indicates a substantial increase from the previous year and shows the government’s focus on improving irrigation facilities, which is essential for both increasing agricultural productivity and conserving water.
  3. Agricultural Mechanization: The government has made substantial allocations for agricultural mechanization to modernize agriculture and reduce the drudgery of farming operations. The number of machines and equipment provided to farmers on subsidy has increased, and more custom hiring centers, high-tech hubs, and farm machinery banks have been established to make agricultural machines and equipment available to farmers on a rental basis. This reflects a shift towards modernizing agriculture through technological advancements.
  4. Crop Residue Management: To address air pollution due to crop residue burning, significant funds have been released for crop residue management through mechanization interventions in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. This initiative reflects a blend of environmental concern with agricultural policy.
  5. Drone Technology in Agriculture: The government has also released Standard Operating Procedures for the use of drones in pesticide and nutrient application, making this advanced technology more accessible and affordable to farmers. This step indicates a forward-thinking approach to integrating cutting-edge technology in agriculture.

These policies reflect a dual focus on both aiding the producers (farmers) through modernization and technological integration, and catering to consumers by ensuring environmental sustainability and more efficient agricultural practices. This balancing act marks a significant evolution in India’s farm and food policy under the Modi government.



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