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Policies for Agricultural and Rural Development: An Overview

06-NOV-2015 16:06

    The macro management of agriculture (MMA) was revised in 2008 to improve the efficiency in supplementing the efforts of states to enhance agriculture production and productivity. To motivate the farmers for more food grain production, union government has launched policy of Minimum Support Price since 1966-67. This policy ensures minimum price to farmers for each crop. On the other hand, this policy saved the interests of rural poor.

    Important policy measures introduced in the rural sector in India during the period of planning are as follows:

    • Technological Measures: Initiation of measures to substantially increase agricultural production to meet the growing needs of the population and also to provide a base for industrial development. It includes steps to increase both extensive and intensive cultivation. For the former, irrigation facilities were provided to a large area on an increasing basis and areas hitherto unfit for cultivation were made fit for cultivation. For the latter, new agricultural strategy was introduced in the form of a package programme in selected regions of the country in 1966. To sustain and extend this programme to larger and larger areas of the country, steps were taken to increase the production of high-yielding varieties of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides within the economy and supplement domestic production by imports whenever necessary. Food grain production which was merely 50.8 million tonnes in 1950-51, rose to record level of 252.6 million tonnes in 2011-12
    • Land Reforms: Land reform measures were introduced to abolish intermediary interests in land. Measures taken under this head included: (i) Abolition of intermediaries; (ii) Tenancy reforms to (a) regulate rents paid by tenants to landlords, (b) provide security of tenure to tenants, and (c) confer ownership rights on tenants; and (iii) Imposition of ceilings on holdings in a bid to procure land for distribution among landless labourers and marginal farmers
    • Cooperation and Consolidation of Holdings: In a bid to reorganise agriculture and prevent subdivision and fragmentation of holdings, the Indian agricultural policy introduced the programmes of co-operation and consolidation of holdings. The latter programme aimed at consolidating all plots of land owned by a particular farmer in different places of the village by sanctioning him land at one place equal in area (or value) to his plots of land
    • Institutions Involving People Participation in Planning: Bringing small and marginal farmers together to cultivate jointly is only half of the story. It was precisely with this end in view that the Programme of Community Development was initiated in 1952 in the country. Another programme designed to encourage the participation of masses in the planning process (and political decision-making) was the programme of democratic decentralisation, often known as Panchayati Raj.
    • Institutional Credit: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was also set up. As a result of the expansion of institutional credit facilities to farmers, the importance of moneylenders has declined steeply and so has the exploitation of farmers at the hands of moneylenders. Currently agricultural credit limit has reached at 8.5 lac cr for 2015-16.
    • Procurement and Support Prices: To provide remunerative prices to the farmers so that they feel motivated to show more crops.
    • Input Subsidies to Agriculture: The government has provided massive subsidies to farmers on agricultural inputs like irrigation, fertilisers and power.
    • Food Security System: In a bid to provide food grains and other essential goods to consumers at cheap and subsidised rates, the Government of India has built up an elaborate food security system in the form of Public Distribution System (PDS) during the planning period.
    • Rural Employment Programmes: The government introduced various poverty alleviation programmes particularly from Fourth Plan onwards like Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA), Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labour Development Agency (MFAL), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) , Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY), Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), National Food for Work Programme (NFFWP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), etc.
    • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY): The RKVY was launched in 2007-08 with an outlay of Rs. 25,000 crore in the Eleventh Plan for incentivising States to enhance public investment to achieve 4 per cent growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors during the Eleventh Five Year Plan period. The RKVY format permits taking up national priorities as sub-schemes, allowing the States flexibility in project selection and implementation. The sub-schemes include: Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI); Integrated Development of pulses villages (60,000) in Rain fed areas; Promotion of Oil Palm; Initiative on Vegetable Clusters; Nutri-cereals; National Mission for Protein Supplements; Accelerated Fodder Development Programme; and Saffron Mission
    • National Food Security Mission (NFSM). The NFSM is a crop development scheme of the Government of India that aims at restoring soil health and achieving additional production of 10, 8 and 2 million tonnes of rice wheat and pulses respectively by the end of 2011-12. It was launched in August 2007 with an approved outlay of Rs. 4,883 crore for the period 2007-08 to 2011-12. The Mission has focused on the Districts with productivity of wheat/rice below the State average
    • Macro Management of Agriculture. Macro Management of Agriculture (MMA) is one of the centrally sponsored schemes formulated in 2000-01 with the objective to ensure that Central assistance is spent through focused and specific interventions for development of agriculture in States. To begin with, the scheme initially consisted of 27 Centrally sponsored schemes relating to Cooperative Crop Production Programmes (for rice, wheat, coarse cereals, jute, and sugarcane), Watershed Development Programme (National Watershed Development Project for Rain fed Areas, River Valley Projects/Flood Prone Rivers), Horticulture Fertiliser, Mechanisation and Seed Production Programmes. With the launching of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in 2005-06, 10 schemes pertaining to horticulture development were taken out of purview of this scheme. In the year 2008-09, Macro Management of Agriculture Scheme was revised to improve its efficacy in supplementing/complementing efforts of States towards enhancement of agricultural production and productivity
    • In an effort to extend Green Revolution to the Eastern Region of the country and develop     dry land areas, the Seventh Five Year Plan introduced two specific programmes:
    1. Special Rice Production Programme
    2. National Watershed Development Programme for Rain fed Agriculture
    • To increase the production of oil seeds to reduce imports and achieve self-sufficiency in edible oils, the Technology Mission on oilseeds was launched by the Central government in 1986. Subsequently, pulses, oil palm and maize were brought within purview of the Mission in 1990- 91, 1992 and 1995-96, respectively
    • An Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) was launched during 1996-97 to give loan assistance to the States to help them complete some of the incomplete projects. Rs. 50,381 crore was released under AIBP as Central Loan Assistance/grant from 1996-97 to November 31, 2011
    • To meet the demand for bringing in more crops into the purview of crop insurance, extending its scope to cover all farmers (both loanee and non-loanee) and lowering the unit area of insurance, the government introduced 'National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), in the country from Rabi 1999-2000. The scheme envisages coverage of all the food crops (cereals and pulses), oilseeds and annual horticultural/commercial crops, in respect of which yield data are available for adequate number of years. With the aim of further improving crop insurance schemes, the modified NAIS (MNAIS) is under implementation on pilot basis in 50 districts in the country from Rabi 2010-11 seasons
    • To facilitate access to short-term credit by farmers, a Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme was introduced in 1998-99. The scheme has gained popularity and its implementation has been taken up by 27 commercial banks, 378 District Central Cooperative Banks/State Cooperative Banks and 196 Regional Rural Banks throughout the country
    • In addition to RIDF, another important initiative for building up rural infrastructure was the announcement of the Bharat Nirman Programme in 2005. This programme covers six components of infrastructure: Irrigation, rural roads, rural housing, rural water supply, rural electrification and rural telephony. The targets are as under: (a) irrigation - to create 10 million hectares of additional irrigation capacity; (b) rural roads - to connect all 'habitations (66,802) with population above 1,000 (500 in hilly/tribal areas) with all weather roads; (c) rural housing - to construct 60 lakh houses for rural poor; (d) rural water supply - to provide potable water to all uncovered habitations (55,067) and also address slipped back and water quality affected habitations; (e) rural electrification - to provide electricity to all un-electrified villages (1,25,000) and to connect 23 million households below the poverty line; and (f) rural telephones - to connect all remaining villages (66,822) with public telephones.

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