India to write spectacular story in Amritkal with significant contribution of agri sector: Himanshu Pathak

Describing the coming together of Centre, states, industry and Civil Society organisation in the welfare of agriculture sector a healthy thing, Himanshu Pathak, Director General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research & Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India said that in the next 25 years, by the time India’s Amritkal is complete, India will write a better and spectacular story wherein agriculture sector will play an important role.

He was speaking today at a seminar here in New Delhi on “Unlocking the Potential of India’s Agriculture: Key to Unleash A Thriving Economy” organized by the Foundation for the Growth of New India or FGNI.

Pathak who himself was a farmer in his early growing up years said that he feel the pain of India’s farmers, particularly the small and marginal farmers.

Citing the recent applauds India has received by Bill Gates and various countries, he said, “We have come a long way from begging bowl in hands to self-reliant and second largest producer of food grains, however, if India is to be developed nation, most probably by 2047, it cannot happen without agriculture and contribution of small and marginal farmers.”

Pathak was joined by RB Singh, a hugely respected figure in India’s agriculture policy field, ‘Padma Bhushan’ awardee, Chancellor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal and President & Founding Member of FGNI and RG Agarwal, Advisor, FGNI.

Singh strongly pitched for making growth inclusive, sustainable, symmetric, high-performing and in line with SDG goals of India.

Calling for making “New India” a truly New India which is equitable, prosperous and happy too, Singh said, “World is looking towards India for direction, G20 presidency being one of such instances, however, rather than being complacent, we should empower our farmers and rural populace, who constitute about 50% of population with technology to increase their income from being one fourth in comparison to non-farmers to being equal to any other group. This can make the vision of $5 Trillion economy vision true with at least $1 Trillion contribution of agriculture sector.”

Agarwal candidly spoke at length on a number of issues faced by Indian farmers, including use of injurious pesticides imported from China which is damaging the soil and crops, lack of technology in hands of farmers, different treatment to fertilizer and pesticides by the government etc. and demanded free & competitive markets to maximize farmers’ income, time bound approval for researched based products used in agriculture, enabling policy initiatives & incentives for precision farming and advance IT tools for agriculture.

“India has a great potential to increase both production and export of food grains and crop chemicals. If we have a more enabling environment and policy support, India can easily be the leader in this space. Moreover, if we can done away with waste of food grains which is roughly 30%, which is possible through technology, we will be prepared to meet our requirements in 2050 too,“ said Agarwal.

Binod Anand, who spoke on the plight of small and marginal farmers, proposed to organize four deliberations on the issues faced by farmers. The same was agreed upon by all scientists and eminent personalities. Pathak also accepted to be a patron of the foundation.

FGNI will compile the suggestions and inputs presented by the participating scientists, industrialists and other eminent speakers and will bring out a Policy Paper to be presented to government, said Anand. 

Other senior scientists and eminent persons who deliberated during this one day seminar included  HP Singh, Founder & Chairman of CHAI, Kaushik Banerjee, Director, ICAR-NRC for Grapes, Pune, Sain Dass, Former Director, ICAR-DMR, New Delhi, AK Dikshit, former Head, Division of Agro-Chemicals, ICAR-IARI, Man Singh, Professor & former Project Director, WTC, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, SL Mehtra, former Vice Chancellor & DDG, ICAR, D. Kanungo, former Additional Director General, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW), Govt. of India, PK Chakrabarty, former Member, ASRB & ADG (PP), MoH&FW, Sanjay Nath Singh, Working President, All India Farmers Association and grandson of ‘Bharat Ratna’ former Prime Minister Late Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji, Praveen Rao, former Vice Chancellor, PJTSAU, Hyderabad, Suresh Walia, Consultant, AINP on Pesticide Residues, Division of Agrochemicals, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, BV Rao, Group Consulting Editor (Digital), India Today Group, Prem Kishore, former Head, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, Bakshi Ram, former Director, ICAR-SBI, Coimbatore and SK Pandey, Head, ICAR-SBI, Regional Research Station, Karnala.  

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