2014 Laid Foundation for the Future Jan 2015





Last year was a definitive year especially for the whole of India. It saw the rise and fall of political clout of national parties, unprecedented victories and a sudden rise in the optimism among the electorate. The general elections were definitely the highlight of the year.

With the new government assuming power in the Centre, hope is rife across all sectors. A sense of energy has encompassed the bureaucracy and lethargy seems to be thing of the past. While development has become the buzz word, the groundwork has already begun with the new government’s budget setting the tone and tenor for the year’s agenda. Union Budget 2014 plans for a technology driven second green revolution.

In 2013-14 India achieved a record food grain production of 264 million tonnes (MT), beating the previous year’s (2012-13) 257 MT, according to data provided by Department of Economics and Statistics (DES). Also, agricultural profitability has increased over the last decade with record increases in MSPs (minimum support prices) for agricultural produce for all covered crops.

In a bid to spur agricultural growth, the NDA government is mulling to introduce a comprehensive plan to provide `Soil Health Card’ to all farmers across the country. Last year India was confronted with the threat of drought as an after effect of the El Nino phenomenon.Although the drought did not wreck the farm fields as expected, the situation brought to the fore, the country’s vigilance and preparedness to face an extreme situation. The government machinery which is often pitted for being sluggish made a complete turn around this time and rose to the occasion.

GM technology, although got tacit approval from the NDA government, couldn’t make any headway in the past year. But the government made some progress in WTO. Late November, the WTO approved a framework for implementation of a global pact for easing customs norms after acceding to India’s demand to remove constraints on food stockpiling. The move will rejuvenate the stagnant global trade and add $1 trillion to the global economy by easing customs rules.

Another major achievement if it goes through is the unbundling of India’s food major which is currently been heavily criticised for its inefficiency and loss.Among the multitude of proposals to improve India’s issue of food wastage and loss, development of a national cold chain grid resonates with a unique exercise. Food Processing Industries Minister, HarsimratKaurBadal had earlier informed that the government is working on a national food grid, connecting deficient areas with producing regions, as part of a plan to reduce wastage of fruits and vegetables while ensuring stable prices that can help tame stubborn food inflation. Last year, another monumental decision taken by the NDA government was to go ahead with payment of fertiliser subsidy worth Rs 73,000 crore directly to farmers by end of the fiscal.

India’s first ‘Kisan Mandi’ (KM) is another innovative initiative planned by the government. The mission is to weed out middlemen and reducing information asymmetry between small farmers and consumers. The soft launch of the platform that took place in the end of September is part of the ongoing Delhi APMC Act amendment process and the market is likely to be fully operational within six months.

The year that passed has put in place many starters to several full fledged programmes in years to come. 2014 can be considered as a year that will create a foundation for many agricultural programmes.



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