1. Agriculture World

Agriculture- The Saviour of Indian GDP During Lockdown

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Farm-comine-harvester
Farm-comine-harvester

When the first covid positive person in India was found in January of 2020 in the state of Kerala. Government had already started panicking on how to deal with the oncoming pandemic.

India being a country that had around 58% of its population dependent on agriculture was also very concerned regarding the oncoming Covid crisis and its impact on agricultural practices which would drastically affect its below poverty level farmers.

This was supposed to impact the Indian economy in a fashion similar to the one during the drought of 1979-1980 or during 1971-1972 when India was in a staunch confrontation with Pakistan. However by the end of the financial year of 2020-2021 although Indian GDP was at an all-time low of -6.2%* its agricultural economy was actually doing well at 3.6%, which in and of itself was a miracle.

According to Yogendra Yadav, a prominent Indian activist said in one of his videos with quint “ lockdown restrictions were only a matter of not eating some fruits and veggies for the consumer however for a farmer in India it meant the loss of his monthly income”

This comment itself should present the direness of the consequences faced by marginal and low-income farmers during the covid lockdown. Major hotels, restaurants and banquet halls that were the prime consumers of vegetables and fruits were shut down decreasing the demand and hence decreasing the income earned by the farmers.

Some of the crops did go to waste leading to a major loss of perishable goods.

However, the agriculture economy did better than in previous cases like the Eisenhower recession or the India Pakistan war of 1971-1972.

Here is how it happened:

PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

Inaugurated by PM Modi in March of 2019 this yojana guaranteed farmers of low income and marginal classes having 2 hectares of cultivable land Rs 6000 per year as minimum income support.

86% of Indian farmers are marginal or generate a low income.

 

This fund which was directly sent to farmers banks in 3 instalments helped the farmers a lot as it helped them to escape the clutches of money lenders.

Exemption of Agriculture from Complete Lockdown in 2020

The government of India spared PDS Raton shops and stores selling grains, pesticides fertilizers etc from complete lockdown.

Governments Investment in Agritech startups

New startups like Clover, INI farms etc. were encouraged to help fix the supply chain condition of the market while providing good storage facilities to farmers which was a luxury in the past for Indian marginal and low-income farmers.

Monsoon

Even nature didn’t give up on us and blessed us with good monsoons fulfilling one of the most major conditions for crop growth water.      

Covid

A lucky thing covid actually had not penetrated Rural India as thoroughly as it had urban India.

This however doesn’t take from the fact that there were a lot of troubles that Farmers had to go through this year just to have a good harvest and to find avenues to actually sell them before the expiry of their respective goods.

However, it also has revealed unto us new avenues where the government can improve and provide better service to our farming community.

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