Transform farmers into entrepreneurs: Economic Survey

Economic Survey 2021 pitches to transform farmers from producers to entrepreneurs

It underscored the need for a 'paradigm shift' in the farm sector

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo.

After the controversial reforms in agriculture, the Economic Survey on Friday pitched for further revamp in the sector to transform the role of farmers from that of a producer to an entrepreneur.

The Survey, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament, underscored the need for a “paradigm shift” in the farm sector and pitched for “urgent reforms” in production and post-production areas to ensure consistent growth.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, agriculture and allied activities had clocked a growth of 3.4% in 2020-21, becoming the sole bright spot in the Indian economy.

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“It is also essential to impart farmers with basic education and training to transform his/her role from that of a producer to an entrepreneur,” said the Survey that has been authored by Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian.

The Survey also urged the government to explore the option of setting up of rural agricultural schools for hands-on training.

According to the Survey, the farm sector has got “renewed thrust” due to various measures on credit, market reforms and food processing under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat announcements.

Various interventions of the government for the development of allied sectors including animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries exhibit its resolve towards tapping the potential of allied sectors to further enhance farm welfare, it noted.

The Survey noted that the objective of inclusive development in India cannot be realised without the development of rural sector which crucially depends on agriculture.

The Survey also called for a need for a paradigm shift to view agriculture as a “modern business enterprise” and not as a rural livelihood sector, and hailed the three farm sector laws saying that they herald a new era of market freedom which can go a long way in improving lives of small and marginal farmers in India.

It also said that recommendations on Agri-market reforms have been made since 2001, including by the National Commission on Farmers chaired by M S Swaminathan and Taskforce on Employment Opportunities headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, among others.