While Bihar elections, Sheena Bora murder mystery and ban over meat in various states have been the headlines in last few days, hardly anyone has noticed the deficit rainfall and ruining crops as the result of it. Although the media covered actor Nana Patekar in their prime time shows when he came out to help the distressed farmers, very few of them focused their concern over the deficit rainfall and drought caused by it.

drought land in India
drought land in India

It is a well-known fact that Indian agriculture is largely dependent on the weather and climate, especially on the monsoon rainfall. According to IMD, till august there has been 88% rainfall of average this year. It means there has been 16% rainfall deficit till second week of September. IMD has also said that monsoon rainfall is not going to take any dramatic changes in September, creating more problems for the agriculture industry.

According to a report published in Indian Express, Indian agriculture is facing of the worst monsoon. This year has been a disaster for the Indian farmers.  It is quite clear that the deficit rainfall is because of the El-Nino effect in the Pacific Ocean,the timing of the current dry monsoon could not have come at a worse time for rural India.Rural India is facing the third weather related blow over the past 12 months; first it was the deficient 2014 monsoon, second it was the unseasonable rains during Rabi harvest and now the significantly dry monsoon.

Except north eastern states, the whole geographical India is reeling under the deficit monsoon. The farmers are in distressed and are committing suicide when they are not able to meet both the ends.  Rural India is already reeling under the stress of commodity bust, real estate and land down turn, focus of the present government on diverting a restrained spending plan towards building of more public infrastructure, than towards social schemes to promote consumption and focus on ways and means to curb corruption and black economy, through implementation of DBT and implementation of stricter laws. Yes the measures that government has taken are good for the long term, but like any economic and political phenomenon, this too will have its share of winners and losers.

Although India is an agriculture based economy and it employs about 60 % of the population, Indian farmer has always remained distressed. While discussing agriculture in India, we rarely look upon it in terms of truly being India’s largest private sector operation, employing the highest number of people and fulfilling the most critical and strategic need of the nation. It is believed that judging agriculture in this manner can show it up in a different light. Like all areas in the economy — which get affected by economic cycles or sometimes just for want of better policies — it needs rational nurturing, repair and protection.

While post-1991 reforms covered industry and commerce comprehensively, it is unfortunate that agriculture remained largely unreformed, and in effect either controlled or was victim to State policies or natural vagaries. Instead of real reform, we see frequent political benevolence.

At the same time, the reality is that significant imbalances, large and small, crept into the sector, leaving many farmers with diluted economic power. Fragmentation over time brought down farm sizes, even as a few consolidated their muscle, leading to increased social and political strength.

drought in India images
drought in India File Photo

The country urgently needs sustainable strategies; the past has mostly tried to tackle symptoms but probably never went far enough to systematically tackle basic obstacles. Each key sector in the country — agriculture, industry, services and infrastructure — participates in the growth of our economy; so it is a no-brainier that policy reform must not ignore any sector.

It is necessary to increase national income substantially just to secure the basic needs of many families. Is it not obvious that the biggest boost will come from uplifting incomes starting at the lower end of the pyramid? Agriculture uses 50 per cent of the national workforce to create 15-18 per cent of the GDP — one way out is to create non-agricultural jobs. The bulk of alternate jobs cannot be created without broad-based growth in commerce and infrastructure, and even then, such growth can provide jobs only for a portion of the people.

It is the appropriate time for Modi government to take this issue seriously on the board and bring the reforms in agriculture sector to develop the country in the true sense. India can only be considered a developed nation when not a single farmers is forced to end his life and when he is able to get two times meal.

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