New Delhi: Direct subsidies for farmers and the nationalization of water resources were the two aspects that Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana chief minister, emphasized at a session on agriculture productivity at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit on Monday.
“I am in favour of allocating direct subsidy to farmers, and the government is working towards that. It’s just a matter of time,” Hooda said at the New Delhi conference. There are a lot of disputes between the states and the centre on water sharing and Hooda suggested that the resource be nationalized.
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Farm economist Ashok Gulati said the subsidy process needs to be revisited. Currently, spending in agriculture is about 80% through subsidy and 20% through investment, and this needs to be reversed in favour of higher investments than subsidy, he said. Gulati also said growth in agriculture needs to be much more to tackle poverty in India.
“Globally, it has been seen that 1% growth in agriculture helps reduce poverty by two to three times, and India, which has a GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 8-9%, but agricultural growth of around 2%, needs to address this issue,” Gulati said.
Raj Jain, chief executive of Bharti Walmart Pvt. Ltd, said corporates should be taxed but the amount collected should be reinvested in the farm sector. Jerry Steiner, executive vice-president of Monsanto Corp., said the government needs to create and maintain a competitive market, and farmers should have access to technology. This will help increase production, he said.
Activist P. Chengal Reddy, president of Federation of Farmers Association of Andhra Pradesh, said the government should actively participate along with the corporate sector to enhance farm productivity. Hooda also said the gap between farm productivity and its potential needs to be reduced.
Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan emphasized the role of technology and public private partnership in enhancing agricultural growth.