Igniting the rural non-agri employment in India
The Indian Farm Story…
The Indian farmlands are reaching a point of infertility which is entirely man-made and which could have been salvaged with just a bit of agri-commonsense. Instead, farmers were left to the mercy of fertilizer companies who made merry while the government was focused on providing the best agricultural subsidy in the world. Water, power and soil nutrients have become the bane of Indian farm sector.
According to the 11th Five-year plan report, “Two-thirds of Indian farmlands are either degraded or sick. Intensive agriculture has leached nutrients and organic carbon from the soil. With the fertiliser ministry decontrolling everything except urea, the result is that the farmers replenish their field only with Nitrogen.” The result is a fast expanding desert of fecund farmland completely deplete of soil nutrients – witnessing the perennial story of plateauing yields and farmer frustration.
The lifeline of farmlands, Water, is in another story of misery which has been tackled in the most inept manner and with utmost lack of foresight. The outcome cannot be more painful for a country which breathes and eats through its villages – More than 40% of India is witnessing a complete collapse in its groundwater levels. According to a recent report from a Planning commission study, “Level of groundwater extraction is unsustainable in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana – and Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Up are fast reaching that ‘point of no return’.
Accessibility in Rural India – A closer look…
The Indian Non-Agri saga…
With agriculture in a complete mess, it makes economic sense to cultivate jobs in the rural non-farm sector. A closer look at the rural business landscape clears up the air regarding the unprecedented rural-to-urban migration epidemic in India. Majority of the rural Indian businesses cater to the small needs of the local population – The consumers are the same farmers whose bread winning capabilities are diminishing day by day. In a way, the rural business is inseparably coupled with the farmlands – and the farmlands are dying an accelerated death.
The success story of Amul is yet to be replicated in a modern India.
There is no denying the fact that good intentions of the non-political class can be seen around the rural markets. SHGs(Self help groups) and NGOs like NABARD are already implementing sustainable value chain programs in rural India. These programs are aimed at creating a A-Z business channel so that a community can be engaged in sustaining a business and creating incremental wealth out of it. Government sponsored rural programs like – Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Govt. rural road construction initiative), National Rural Livelihoood Mission (NRLM), NREGS (National Rural employment Guarantee Scheme) have been kicked-off with a lot of fanfare, but have followed in the footsteps of similar programs installed by earlier governments – thus maintaining the bleak track record of dishonest implementation.
Most of the Indian rural welfare programs have started in earnest, only to find most of the funds being siphoned off for urban development. That completes the vicious circle of rural migration.