It is often proclaimed by Indian leaders, policy makers, and bureaucrats that the country is self sufficient in food. This has been possible largely due to the series green revolution carried out during the tenure of Smt. Indira Gandhi. However, coming to 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is finding the sorry state of agricultural sector, which is in danger of becoming net buyer of some commodities after many years.
The reason cited for such a situation is the dearth of long term investment in the primary sector, two consecutive droughts, and the increase in demand created by the country’s growing population.
There is distinct danger attached with the insufficiency of food production as the country’s growth rate is largely dependent on the agricultural sector. The import of food will indicate the rise of Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will affect the whole population. Also, insufficiency amongst the farmers points towards shortage of production and thus lower income.
“The top brass is dead serious about the farm sector that is so crucial to our overall economic growth and well-being,” said a source close to Narendra Modi.
Narendra Modi had been trying hard to bring in foreign investment. However, in the process, Arun Jaitley and Modi, neglected the agricultural sector, where majority of the country’s population makes their livelihood. Modi might have to pay a heavy price if the agricultural sector, and consequently, the farmers suffer.
The government machinery, urged by Modi, is trying hard to find a solution to this problem. India, last year, bought corn for the first time in 16 years. The import of other commodities, such as, oilmeals and lentils, are also increasing as a result of falling production.
The stock of sugar and wheat is insufficient and steadily depleting in the go downs making a strong case for imports later in the year.
“There’s a complete collapse of Indian agriculture, and that’s because of the callous neglect by the government,” said Devinder Sharma, an independent trade and food policy analyst.