What The Ashok Dalwai Committee Suggests On Doubling Farmer’s Income

Author: Himanshu Ranjan

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In September 2018, the ‘Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income’ led by Dr. Ashok Dalwai submitted its final comprehensive policy recommendations to double the farmers’ income by 2022.

The committee mainly focussed upon two salient aspects:

i. To minimize the cost of agricultural produce
ii. Effective market linkage to ensure monetization or profits

One of the main drivers to ensure market linkage is the formation of e NAM (National Agriculture Market) that is executed by Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium.

The committee recommends the promotion of sustainable agriculture through methods such as Ecology Farming, Organic Farming, Watershed Management System, Climate Resilient Agriculture, among others. Another, dominant aspect of its recommendation is the involvement of MSMEs to drive the demand-led approach to ensure an increase in income. Moreover, it also encourages the government to invest in Research and Development to increase yield. Scientific application of seeds, soil-crop matching, usage of better manures, proper irrigation methods, weather monitoring systems and finally development of market linkages through the development of a robust logistics system can lead to doubling of farmers’ income. The report also suggests institutionalizing the responsibilities with a targeted timeline to get outcomes.

It pursues states and UTs to adopt the NITI Aayog’s Model Land Leasing Act. The emphasis is also on producing raw materials for industries rather than just food and nutrition security. It will show a positive effect on the Balance of Payments. It suggests farmers’ to get into horticulture, floriculture, pulse production, and livestock products such as dairy and fisheries.

Highest Priority To Water Management

The committee suggests that given the role of water as the most crucial determinant in production, top priority should be given to water management practices. Channelizing the energy of MGNREGA workers in this direction could lead to better outcomes.

Adoption of New Market Architectures

GrAMs (Gramin Agricultural Markets), e NAM (National Agriculture Market), APMCs (Agriculture Produce Market Committees), and Export Markets to be strengthened in terms of their spread and farmer connect.

Ensuring efficient implementation of PMFBY (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna)

For risk protection of the farmers’ from nature induced damages, there is a need to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna efficiently.

Higher Budgetary Allocation

The committee notes that institutional credit to farmers’ has increased over the years:

FY Budgetary Allocation
(Rs Lakh crores)
Actuals
(Rs Lakh Crores)
2015-16 8.5 9.15
2016-17 9 10.70
2017-18 10 11.69
2018-19 11 2.17 (till 21st May 2018)

Efficient Execution A Concern

Despite the recommendations of the committee and higher budgetary allocation, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector recently witnessed a slow down to 2.9 percent growth rate in comparison to the previous 5 percent growth rate. Hence, it is a matter of discussion on what led to the slump. Whether the emphasis on demand-pull instead of supply-push didn’t work out or there is inefficient execution is a question on which the authorized institutions must think and set up a corrective path.

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