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PM Urges States to Increase Farm Output as Food Prices Rise Worldwide

One of the most important items in India's import basket is edible oil, which includes palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. Furthermore, several pulses, such as arhar and masur, are imported from other countries.

Shivam Dwivedi
Seventh Meeting of Governing Council
Seventh Meeting of Governing Council

Amid rising geopolitical tensions and global food prices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states at the Niti Aayog governing council meeting on Sunday to boost domestic production by speeding up the process of modernizing agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing to help India become self-sufficient and a global leader in the farm sector.

The Prime Minister urged states to prioritize reducing imports, increasing exports, and identifying opportunities for shipping goods out of India. "We should encourage people to buy locally produced goods," he said.

Focus on Crop Diversification:

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020 and the escalation of tensions with China, the government has sought to promote domestic manufacturing, a theme that has also become a key component of farm policy in light of recent supply shocks for wheat, sunflower oil seeds, and palm oil as a result of the Ukraine war and Indonesian restrictions, which sent global prices soaring.

One of the most important items in India's import basket is edible oil, which includes palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. Furthermore, several pulses, such as arhar and masur, are imported from other countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi estimated edible oil imports at around Rs 1 lakh crore per year, with Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand adding that foreign supplies met nearly half of India's requirement for the cooking medium. Following the meeting, Niti officials told reporters that there was extensive discussion about crop diversification, specifically increasing production of oilseeds and pulses.

According to Chand, states shared their experiences with crop diversification, including groundwater issues in Punjab and Haryana. "Some states have suggested that if they are helped in a specific way, they will be able to diversify much more quickly. Overall, states are cooperating and moving in these directions," he stated.

The agriculture economist added that the two were looking for more appealing minimum support prices for pulses and oilseeds in order to wean farmers away from paddy and wheat, which are the mainstays of India's procurement programme.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot spoke at the meeting about how better irrigation will allow them to expand mustard cultivation in 13 districts. North-eastern states also discussed their efforts to increase palm oil cultivation. Aside from crop diversification, the agenda for the seventh meeting of the governing council included the New Education Policy, response to urbanization, and India's presidency of the G-20 in 2023.

In his speech, Modi also urged states to view rapid urbanization as a source of strength rather than weakness, leveraging technology to ensure ease of living, transparent service delivery, and an improvement in the quality of life for all citizens. According to Niti officials, all states fully support the need to focus on these two areas, which are critical for the country's growth.

Suman Bery, a vice-chairman of the government Thinktank, said the PM discussed how collective effort and cooperative federalism helped India emerge from the pandemic as a role model for the world, as well as the year ahead and expectations from states.

"Every state, according to its strength, played an important role in India's fight against Covid. As a result, India has emerged as a model for developing countries to look up to as a global leader. In a statement, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying. The PM cited the recent increase in GST collections but added that there was still room for improvement. To increase GST collection, the Centre and states must work together. It is critical for bolstering our economic position and achieving our goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy,” he stated.

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