Despite the ongoing nationwide lockdown, the Indian farming community is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that nobody goes to bed hungry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the deadly outbreak of Coronavirus has thrown a set of challenges, the determination of the unsung heroes remained unshakeable.
“Indian agriculture, according to me, is the only hero to help the people out from the crisis developed due to COVID-19. Be it ensuring food security or reviving the sagging economy, be it creating employment or helping thousands and lakhs of people getting food at minimal or no price, be it maintaining community harmony or adhering to the government guidelines, the agriculture sector has proved its mettle during this crisis,” Mohini Mohan Mishra, National Secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), said while talking to Agrigate Global.
When asked about formulating an effective revival strategy, Mr Mishra added, “Policymakers need to focus on rural agro-based MSMEs, including simplification in the licensing of primary processing industries and GI-based tagging as per the agro-climatic zones. In addition, the government should also take these zones into consideration while taking any decision about production, storing, processing, distribution, and branding of the produce.”
In an exclusive interview with Agrigate Global, the BKS National Secretary also shared his views on the impact of ongoing migrant workers’ crisis on rural economy.
“Almost all workers in this modern economy are migrant workers, even in the agriculture field. Some are highly paid and some are being paid less. In India, many low-paid migrant workers may not move to the metropolitan cities in future due to fear psychosis that the deadly infection may strike back again. Industries and urban bodies should try their best to convince them back to work with the assurance of better facilities. For some period, there is likely to be some confusion in their decision. Even some NRIs may also think in this direction to start their own work here closer to their own people,” MM Mishra said.
Appreciating the government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sanman Nidhi, he said “Disbursement through DBT has played a major role in helping the farmers.”
It is worth mentioning that the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme aims to give income support to the farmers and their families. The central government released around 17,793 crore to 8.89 crores of farmers under this ambitious scheme in April 2020.
To recap, PM Modi on May 12 also announced a special economic package worth Rs 20 lakh crore to revive the country’s sagging economy.