- The Prime Minister suggested high-powered committee of Chief Ministers for the transformation of Indian Agriculture in the country has met and suggested some ways to boost the indian agriculture sector.
- This is the first meeting of the Committee.
- The PM had suggested forming of such committee at general body meeting of NITI Aayog.
- The Committee is chaired by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
- At the meeting, the group of Chief Ministers focused on accelerating the growth of food processing industry which is currently growing at a mere 1 per cent rate.
- Modernising the Indian agriculture needs infusion of technology and investments from private players, the committee suggested.
- The committee stressed on digitising the entire agricultural process. It wanted the use of drones and satellites for crop surveillance. Digitisation of marketing and more.
- The cost of institutional credit must be reduced to make it more accessible to the farmers.
- The committee called for more coordination between and Agriculture Ministry and Commerce ministry to boost exports.
- It suggested reviewing of Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and find ways to give better market access to the farmers. It wants the government to look into relaxing norms for the benefit of small traders and farmers.
- Another suggestion included the provision of exemption under ECA to small farmers, farmer producer organisations, and others on food crops that get Minimum Support Prices (MSP).
- One proposal called for having a local storage facility that is associated with the market and the farmer storing the produce there should get a warehouse receipt/credit facility.
- The committee called for linking the Finance Commission (FC) grants and central government to the states with the agricultural reforms undertaken by them.
- It wants to promote contract farming in all states.
- The CM’s also want agricultural subsidies to be reviewed. They want them to be better targeted.
- The committee wants obstacles to the e-NAM
Farm distress in the country has been a cause for worry. Farmers across the country are seeing their incomes dwindling. Amid the crisis, the government has called for doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. But, things are not going in the desired way.
In such a scenario, the committee of Chief Ministers is a welcome move and some concrete ideas for rising income levels are expected from its meetings. Already, some of the suggestions from the first meeting are worth considering for implementation.