Explained: Union Budget 2022: Not Green, Agriculture Needs Evergreen Revolution


#Kolkata: Prior to the 2022 budget, agricultural reforms have been on the minds of not only politicians but also policy makers. To increase their income, farmers must have access to the latest research and development. A record amount of rabi production was produced last year despite the recession caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Which has brought spirits in the agriculture sector. However, considering the importance of a balanced diet for healthy food and disease resistance, government assistance in the agricultural sector is more important than the budget allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Needless to say, research is the cornerstone of modern agricultural development. Therefore, it is time to ensure adequate allocation of funds for agricultural research and development in the budget.

The allocation in the central budget for agricultural research and development was Tk 8,514 crore in FY 2021-22, which was Tk 8,062 crore in FY 2020-21. About 75% of which goes to salaries and other administrative / institutional expenses, with little left over for research. According to the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Tk 1,896 crore was spent on salaries out of the budget allocation of Tk 2,858 crore in 2018-19. State agricultural universities, which are facing financial crisis for research and development, are also facing the same reason.

According to the Economic Survey, total research and development expenditure on India’s agricultural GDP has stagnated at 0.3 percent-0.5 percent over the last two decades. This rate is much lower than in the United States (2.6 percent), China (2.1 percent), South Korea (4.3 percent) and Israel (4.2 percent). From the Ninth Five Year Plan (1996-2002) some attention was paid to agricultural research.

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Such small investments in research and development in India hinder science and technology research in tackling multiple challenges in the field of agriculture. Farmers have been facing similar problems for the last few decades due to crop yield gaps, changing consumer preferences, declining resource capacity, geopolitical situation and adverse effects of climate change.

Interestingly, India has the largest agricultural research and development system. So that there are 26,500 scientists and more than one lakh support staff. There are also a number of companies in the sector and the cost of running them. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research directly supervises 116 research institutes, including 3 central and 4 deemed universities, 64 research institutes, 16 national research centers, 8 national bureaus and 25 project departments. In addition to these institutes established under ICAR, there are 63 state agricultural universities in the country. Despite having such a large Agricultural Research Network, India has not been able to tackle the biggest problems in its agricultural sector. That is grain production, productivity, water scarcity, marketing, food processing, whatever.

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The challenges facing agriculture in the country today are even more daunting. In May 2014, the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) under ICAR published 1,407 varieties of crops and issued notifications. But beyond that we need an ‘evergreen revolution’. Within a few years of the Green Revolution spreading across the Northwest Plains, the realization began that the technologies resulting from the Green Revolution had an impact. Rainfed areas, poor farmers and landless workers have greatly declined. Therefore, priority should now be given to research for greening of gray areas across the country.

However, agricultural research and development still has a long way to go. This requires a strategic package. It has to be tailored to the needs of specific crops and agro-ecosystems in specific areas. This requires strengthening scientific thinking, focusing on problem solving.

The importance of the contribution of farmers in the fight against hunger and poverty cannot be underestimated. With the slogan ‘Joy Jawan, Joy Kisan, Joy Vigyan’ achieving the goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, there is a need to strengthen support for agricultural science and technology if our country is to compete globally. It should be emphasized that for the welfare of the farmers, the idea of ​​’farmer-first’ must be taken forward with this in mind.

In order to double the income of farmers, Indian agriculture needs to be transformed from a production-centric system of the twentieth century to a holistic agro-food system of the twenty-first century. To double the income of poor farmers, technology is needed that reduces costs and builds agricultural resilience. Besides agriculture, watershed management, agroforestry, grazing lands etc. have gained importance. Horticulture, Pulses, Oilseeds, Spices, Medicinal plants, Animal feed, Dairying, Animal husbandry, Aquatic animal husbandry and Beekeeping, Mushroom Cultivation, Vermi Composting, Vermic Poultry, pig rearing etc. activities are getting priority from the researchers and it should be done.

Agricultural Conservation, Organic Farming, Micro-Irrigation and Nutrition Use to deal with the adverse environmental impacts of the second generation problems of the Green Revolution, such as land degradation and consequent loss of soil fertility, depletion of groundwater level, loss of productivity and loss of biodiversity. An exemplary change towards growth is needed. ‘More crops per drop’ has become a new mantra. Zero-tillage, drip irrigation, drought, flood, heat, cold and pest resistant crop varieties are attracting the attention of scientists. Integrated pest and nutrient management, recycling of organic matter, use of biofertilizers and biopesticides are now in the middle stages.

The use of innovations such as hybrid technology, biotechnology, protected farming, precision farming, bioenergy, crop biofortification, remote sensing, information and technology, drones, sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), etc. must be urgently increased. There is potential to improve efficiency in agro-food production, post-production management and agro-processing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to turn India into a ট্র 5 trillion economy by 2024-25. The agriculture sector should aim to contribute at least ১ 1 trillion to this effort. To this end, investment in agricultural research must be increased. In total agricultural research requires a booster dose. Increasing spending on research and development in agriculture is not only a vital need to ensure national food security, it is also important from a socio-economic perspective. In the forthcoming budget, the responsibility of increasing the special financial allocation for research and development in the agricultural sector now lies with the central government.

Published by:Debalina Datta

First published:

Tags: Agriculture, Union Budget 2022



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