Covid19 may reshape Indian rural economy

World observes 50th Earth Day 2020 – Focus on Climate Action and Honey Bee
April 22, 2020
Farmers’ organizations to protest against Govt on Twitter today
May 5, 2020
Show all

Covid19 may reshape Indian rural economy

Pravin Sharma

IN the middle of difficulties lies opportunity. Because of Covid 19 most of the people are at home and almost everyone is getting food. Farmers of the country are putting their best efforts to ensure that there should not be any dearth of vegetables, milk, eggs, food grains etc;.  Along with this proper, implementation of policies, schemes and projects by Modi government without any difference to any region or state are bearing better results for rural economy.

Definitely, combination of hard work in the fields by farmers and well designed policies by current government has given a big boost to farmers and now they getting right price of their produce.  Infrastructures have improved, villages are well connected and many private companies,  farmer producer companies and even agri based NGOs have shown keen interest in India’s rural economy.

In Delhi and Mumbai and other metros, earlier reports were coming that vegetable prices are sky rocketing, but within few days the prices were kept under control, it’s because many food stall owners started selling vegetables for their livelihood, logistic support for vegetable supply made smooth. Thus Farmers have become saviour for all of us. 

Interacting telephonically with Mr Rajesh a farmer from Bihita said that “Current time only our concern is to get market for our produce at right price. Govt is doing everything and we appreciate its effort. Also support of Rs 2000 to farmer, along with Pension to elder family members and Rs 500 of Jan dhan Account had come as a great relief to us. I have gone through the guideline given by govt for Agri sector, it’s really nice to know that Govt is thinking about us. Hope people should not take advantage of these guideline and  misuse it. We are fully supporting the govt decision in war against Corona.”

Govt allowing farming related activities after 20 April has come as a great relief not only for farmers but also for people related to Agri sector and common people too. 

Following Agri and rural areas related activities are allowed from 20 April 2020

*Farming operations by farmers and farm workers on the field.
*Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations.
*Mandis operated by APMCor as notified by state/UT government. Direct marketing operations by the state/UT government or by industry, directly from farmers or group of farmers, FPOs’co-operatives etc. States/UTs may promote decentralised marketing and procurement at village level.
*Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs to remain open.
*Customer hiring Centres related to farm machinery.
*Manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.
*Movement (inter and intra state) of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/horticulture implements.
*Operations of the fishing (marine and inland)/ aquaculture industry, including feeding and maintenance, harvesting, processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing.
*Hatcheries, feed plants, commercial aquaria.
*Movement of fish/shrimp and fish products, fish seed/ feed and workers for all these activities.
*Operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations, with maximum of 50% of workers.
*Processing, packaging, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber and cashew, with maximum 50% workers.
*Collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk and milk products by milk processing plants, including transport and supply chain.
*Operation of animal husbandry farms including poultry farms and hatcheries and livestock farming activity.
*Animal feed manufacturing and feed plants, including supply of raw materials, such as maize and soya.
* Operation of animal shelter homes including Gaushalas.

*Govt approved Common Services Centres at Gram Panchayat level.
*Cold storage and warehousing services, including at ports, airports, railway stations, container depots, individual units and other links in logistics chain.

Along with above to provide an impetus to the rural economy, industries operating in rural areas, including food processing industries; construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and industrial projects in rural areas; works under MNREGA, with priority to irrigation and water conservation works; and operation of rural Common Service Centres (CSCs) have all been allowed. These activities will create job opportunities for rural labor, including the migrant labor force.

This revised guidelines also permit all health services and the social sector to remain functional; public utilities to function without any hindrance; the supply chain of essential goods to operate without any hindrance; and, important offices of Central and State Governments and local bodies to remain open with required strength.

Interacting with a Seed distributor of  Muzffarpur in Bihar about the govt guideline , he said that we were worried about negative impact of lockdown on farmers and also for  our business but with this we are sure that the we will be able to give service which will ensure availability of seeds for the farmers.

In telephonic conversation with Munna Ji of Badh , Patna who is a farmer and  also member of Mandi about Lockdown and its related impact , he said ‘Lockdown is a very right step taken by govt. Farmers are allowed to do their harvesting ,sowing and even selling their produce in Mandi. We are with govt for its decision on Lockdown and also, we are abiding by the guideline given by them. Only concern is, in Mandi Social distancing is not being taken care off and govt. need to come up with something to ensure social distancing get maintained or some solution should be developed through which farmer can sell their produce to Mandi associated people with less number of people coming to Mandi for these days because there is a threat of Corona attack.”

Seems govt  listened and realized the concern of  people like Munna Ji who are associated with mandi and Farmers and this week they have come up  “KISSAN RATH APP” to facilitate on-board logistical service providers to extend transportation facilities for movement of Agriculture and Horticulture products from farms to regulated markets, farmers producers organisation centres, warehouses, railway stations, airports, processing units and wholesale and retail markets across the country.

Along with Doctors, Healthcare Staffs Policemen and Cleaning Staffs, Farmer are playing the role of Saviour of human Kind. Govt. realizing their importance are doing everything possible to facilitates farmers in every manner to ensure sustainable food supply to everyone. With facilitation and support from Govt farmers have to ensure that they produce enough to feed nation and in return they get what all they deserve without any hitches.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.