Survey highlights need for higher investment for higher farm output, to strengthen food security, deal with inflation; calls for diversification from crop farming for long-term growth
New Delhi: The Economic Survey states that Indian agriculture is at the "crossroads" and it has called for a second Green Revolution with newer technological breakthroughs and higher investment in the sector, even while projecting 5.4% farm growth this year.
"... The agriculture sector in India is at the crossroads, with rising demand for food items and relatively slower supply response in many commodities resulting in frequent spikes in food inflation," the pre-budget survey stated.
The survey said the agriculture and allied sectors would register 5.4% growth this fiscal due to a good monsoon, compared to a mere 0.4% expansion last year. But the sector needs to grow at 8.5% next fiscal to achieve the targeted 4% growth in the 11th plan (2007-12), reports PTI.
Pointing out that the technological breakthroughs achieved in the 1960s are gradually waning and no big crop-tech has come up since then, the survey noted, "The need for a second Green Revolution is being experienced more than ever before."
The survey outlined the special attention that needs to be given to increasing production of nutrition-rich crops like pulses, fruits and vegetables, which remained untouched in the first Green Revolution.
Consequently, it suggested that Indian agriculture should diversify from just crop farming to livestock, fisheries, poultry and horticulture, besides focusing on raising farm productivity with adequate focus on rain-fed areas.
The survey also felt that augmenting farm production remains a challenge, with stagnation in crop acreage and yields, and prescribed "concerted and focused efforts" to overcome this challenge. "A holistic approach, simultaneously working on agriculture research, development, dissemination of technology and provision of agricultural inputs and irrigation, would help achieve the critical levels of productivity needed," it said. It noted that higher farm output is important not only for the country's food security, but also to sustain high growth.
Calling for higher public and private investment in the farm sector, the survey stated, "The choice before the nation is clear-to invest more in agriculture and allied sectors with the right strategies, policies and interventions. This is also a necessary condition for 'inclusive growth'." Higher levels of investment are required for increasing farm productivity and to create infrastructure for transport, storage and distribution of agricultural produce, it added.
"The relatively weak supply responses to price hikes in agriculture commodities, especially food articles, in the recent past brings back into focus the central question of efficient supply chain management and need for sustained levels of growth in agriculture and allied sectors," it observed.
Reliance Mutual Fund new issue closes on 28th February
Reliance Mutual Fund has launched Reliance Fixed Horizon Fund-XIX-Series 1, a close-ended income scheme.
The primary investment objective of the scheme is to generate regular returns and growth of capital by investing in a diversified portfolio of central and state government securities and other fixed income/debt securities maturing on or before the date of maturity of the scheme with the objective of limiting interest rate volatility. The tenor of the plan is 368 days.
The new issue opens on 25th February and closes on 28th February. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.
IDFC Mutual Fund new issue closes on 28th February
IDFC Mutual Fund has launched IDFC Fixed Maturity Plan-Yearly Series 39, a close-ended income scheme.
The investment objective of the scheme is to generate income by investing in a portfolio of debt and money market instruments maturing before the maturity of the scheme. The tenor of the scheme is one year.
The new issue opens on 25th February and closes on 28th February. The minimum investment amount is Rs10,000.
CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. The fund manager of the scheme is Anupam Joshi.