The inspiring story of flourishing agro-industry in Rajasthan, subsequently turning farmers into entrepreneurs, is a case in point looking at the dismal situation of the farmers countrywide after the new agricultural laws.
Even amidst the dreading covid-19 pandemic, as many as 617 agro projects are in the pipeline with an investment of 1.255 crores. Such prospects in the agricultural industry are attributable to targeted government policies with effective implementation. Rajasthan government has been keen to recognise the farmer community and improve their well-being by promoting entrepreneurship by adopting its agro-processing, agri-business and agri- export promotion policy in 2019. In addition, certain incentives, subsidies and land conversion offered by the government during the pandemic have helped utilise their agricultural skills into an entrepreneurial venture.
On the surface level, most of the country’s population is employed in the agriculture sector, which still suffers from disguised, seasonal, cyclic, and other unemployment problems. Under conventional farming techniques, a lack of resources and adequate financial capital takes a heavy toll on the farming sector. Taking down an approximate analysis- about 40- 60% of the Indian population works in the agriculture sector, contributing about 15- 18% to India’s GDP.
(* Note- this is the broad range in which the numbers keeps fluctuating)
This presents a grim scenario with disproportion in the economy and poses an urgent need to implement a balancing mechanism. The Rajasthan agriculture model is laudable in this sense as it creates agriculture entrepreneurship by establishing a circular income flow model, initiating a free flow of cash. The farmers of Rajasthan are ready to invest due to subvention and government onus which offers minimal risk.
When prices are skyrocketing and the overall economy is slumping, it is crucial to integrate the agriculture sector with the mainstream. Seeing the nationwide farmers protest, it is self-evident that the new agriculture laws put in place by the union government did not consider the actual situation and the needs of the farmers. The farmers in distress argue that the new laws give a better stake to the private sector, eliminates Minimum Support prices, thus, making them vulnerable to the private market mechanisms.
Good governance entails that a well-defined policy formulated effectively benefits the targeted community. The Rajasthan model puts across as a commendable example of great administration where the targeted group is the direct beneficiary of the government schemes. Financial independence, self-sustainability, increased employment, women empowerment, the dignified standard of living are the objectives covered under its ambit.
The union government needs to draw lessons from this model and recognise the farmer community as an asset to the economy. It needs to re-analyse the new agricultural laws, take suggestions of a joint committee comprising various stakeholders and then alter the law accordingly. It needs to deeply study the agricultural economy, draw statistical analysis and employ a negotiated decision-making system with the opposition parties for inclusivity and deliberation on different viewpoints, thus leading to a well-analysed policy formulation. A government must keep up to the expectations of the people it represents and work for its cause. Rajasthan Model is the farmer’s model, and the Union government effectively needs to extract lessons from it.