In order to address farm distress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a national conference on February 19-20 to discuss short and long term solutions to give a fillip to the agriculture sector and achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. The national conference 2022, to be held at the Pusa complex in the national capital, is being organised by the Union Agriculture Ministry. The Prime Minister is scheduled to take part in this conference on February 20, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, senior officials of Niti Aayog, farm price advisory body CACP, state varsities, farmers and farmers’ bodies will be among others who will be part of the meeting. On the first day of the conference, farm experts and officials will brainstorm issues that are confronting farmers as well as the overall agriculture and allied sectors.
They will submit the recommendations next day before the PM for firming up the policies. Farmers’ distress has aggravated in view of sharp fall in prices of most agri-commodities like pulses and oilseeds due to bumper crop last year. Poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have already announced sops to help farmers come out of the rural distress. Even the central government in the Union Budget for 2018-19 has announced fixing MSP 1.5 times higher than the cost of production. Last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the country’s economic growth is not justifiable and equitable unless the benefits are clear and evident in the farm sector. Therefore, the government’s priority is to ensure the gains reach the farmers and the growth is visible even in the farm sector, he had said. The CSO has pegged farm and allied sector growth to slow to 2.1 per cent in the current fiscal from 4.9 per cent in the preceding year.