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Transforming India's Agricultural Sector & Improving Rural Development: Modi 3.0's Vision (UPSC CAPF Essay 2024 | 2025)

23 Jun 2024

The Narendra Modi government faces significant challenges on the agriculture front as it embarks on its third term.

Introduction

  • The Narendra Modi government faces significant challenges on the agriculture front as it embarks on its third term. 

  • The growth in agri-GDP in 2023-24 was a mere 1.4%, highlighting the need for substantial changes in agriculture to boost farm incomes and improve rural livelihoods. 

  • With 45.8% of the workforce engaged in agriculture, the low growth rate directly impacts the well-being of a significant portion of the population.


Lessons from the Election Results

  • The recent election results, where BJP’s tally in rural-dominated constituencies dropped, is trying to indicate rural dissatisfaction. This serves as a critical lesson for the new government to address the pressing issues in rural areas. 

  • Rural India has sent a strong message through the ballot, highlighting the urgent need for policies that improve rural incomes and infrastructure.


Key Challenges in Rural Areas

  • Despite significant efforts by the Modi government in building rural infrastructure, rural incomes remain low

  • The average per capita monthly expenditure in rural areas was Rs 3,773 in 2022-23, translating to a family income of about Rs 20,000 per month

  • The stagnation of real wages further emphasizes the need for policy interventions to enhance rural incomes.



Strategies for Agricultural and Rural Development

  • Shift from Basic Staples to High-Value Agriculture:

    • The focus needs to move from staples like rice to high-value agriculture such as poultry, fishery, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.

    • High-value agriculture requires fast-moving logistics in a value chain approach, similar to the AMUL model in milk.

    • Developing infrastructure for cold storage, transportation, and processing can help reduce post-harvest losses and increase farmers' profits.


  • Invest in Climate-Smart Agriculture:

    • With increasing climate change-induced events, India must invest in climate-smart agriculture.

    • Agrivoltaics (solar as a third "crop") can provide farmers with a steady income even during crop failures due to extreme weather.

    • Implementing drought-resistant crop varieties, improving irrigation techniques, and promoting sustainable farming practices can mitigate the effects of climate change.


  • Reduce Dependence on Agriculture:

    • There are too many people dependent on agriculture. They need to transition to higher productivity, non-farm jobs.

    • Investments in skill formation and rural infrastructure can facilitate this transition.

    • Promoting rural industries and encouraging entrepreneurship can create job opportunities and reduce the burden on agriculture.


  • Enhance Financial Support and Access to Markets:

    • Increasing access to credit and financial services for farmers can enable them to invest in better technologies and inputs.

    • Strengthening market linkages and ensuring fair prices for agricultural produce can enhance farmers' incomes.

    • Reforming agricultural marketing laws to allow direct selling and reducing intermediaries can benefit farmers.


  • Implement Comprehensive Crop Insurance:

    • Expanding the coverage of crop insurance schemes to protect farmers against losses due to natural disasters and market fluctuations.

    • Ensuring timely and adequate compensation for insured farmers can provide a safety net and encourage investment in agriculture.


Leadership and Implementation

  • For successful implementation, the government needs an experienced person heading agriculture and rural development

  • Shivraj Singh Chouhan (the new Agricultural Minister), with his track record in Madhya Pradesh, is a strong candidate to lead this sector. His leadership could potentially bring about the much-needed changes in the agricultural policies and practices. 

  • Chouhan's experience in driving agricultural growth and rural development in Madhya Pradesh can be instrumental in formulating and executing effective strategies at the national level.




Conclusion

  • The agenda for agriculture in Modi 3.0 must focus on increasing farm incomes, shifting to high-value agriculture, and investing in climate-smart practices. Addressing these areas can significantly enhance rural livelihoods and contribute to more inclusive growth. 

  • By implementing these strategies, the government can ensure that the benefits of development reach the rural masses, thereby addressing the root causes of rural discontent. 

  • It is essential to create a robust support system for farmers, including financial aid, market access, and insurance, to ensure sustainable agricultural growth.


Note: In this CAPF essay, the world limit has been crossed to give you more information, you can take relevant portions as per your need. Further, we have given subheadings for your reference. When you write in the UPSC exam, you don't need to do that.


Importance for Competitive Exams
  • This article is crucial for aspirants preparing for UPSC CSE, UPSC CAPF, Assistant Commandant, and other competitive exams like NDA, CDS, SSB Interview, AFCAT, IAS, and IB ACIO. It provides insights into the challenges and strategies in the agricultural sector, which is essential for current affairs preparation. 

  • Understanding these issues helps in crafting comprehensive answers in essays and interviews, aligning with the UPSC CAPF AC syllabus 2024

  • It emphasizes the need for policy interventions in agriculture, making it relevant for discussions on economic development and rural livelihoods.

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