Skip to main content

There is no real change in Government of India policy for promoting natural farming

By Bharat Dogra 

The union government has often voiced its support for natural farming but this is not yet seen in real change in government’s commitments. The government’s subsidies in favor of agriculture are still heavily biased in favor of chemical fertilizers or overall agro-chemical intensive farming or ‘green revolution’ type farming. This farming also tends to use water and power in greater excess and hence gets a higher share of water and power subsidies, even in times of alarming decline of water table in many regions. Such farming also tends to use heavier machines more frequently and hence gets most benefits of such subsidies as well. Most of the government funds spent on agricultural research, education and extension are oriented towards such farming.
To provide equal benefits to natural farming, the government can calculate the subsidies it gives to green revolution type farming per hectare and provide the same subsidy in the form of conditional cash transfer per hectare to those farmers who are practicing natural farming and hence entirely avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and using water and power to a lesser extent. This is clearly justified by the avoidance of various forms of pollution, production of healthier food and above all by the improvement of soil quality, particularly the increase in organic content of soil so important for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. In fact this would justify the use of climate change adaptation and mitigation funds also to a greater extent for natural farming and improving the organic content of soil which is linked closely to natural farming.
Here it should be made clear that I am not asking for a withdrawal of chemical fertilizer subsidy but only saying that at least similar, if not higher, subsidy benefits should be given to natural farming. Farmers who opt for green revolution type farming should have no objection to such a proposal. In a democratic system many farmers, particularly the bigger ones, will always opt for green revolution type farming as they find this more convenient. So let them do their kind of farming which after all has been officially promoted for so many decades. At the same time, in view of the heavy environmental and health costs of such farming, it is very important from the perspective of the entire society to spread scientific, comprehensive information about the undesirable impacts of green revolution and the alternatives that are available. An essential precept of subsidy is that it should be given for socially desirable objectives. Hence to expect equal subsidy per hectare for natural farming is the least that those who practice and support natural farming should demand and expect from the government: in fact they deserve more. Despite all its publicized support for natural farming, the government has not introduced such a system of support for natural farming.
One can understand, however, that there can be some practical problems in administering such a system of subsidies, particularly in corruption-ridden systems. Hence there is all the more need for trying various schemes of such subsidization to move towards the best ones, the aim being to ensure the entire subsidy to the genuine natural farmers without involving any intermediaries.
It is also very important to revise the farm mechanization policy. The government should stop any promotion and subsidization of heavy farm machines. Those who want to use these can do so, but the government should not promote, facilitate or subsidize this. The government should shift its focus to smaller improved implements, tools and machines which are more helpful in all small-scale farming but particularly in natural farming.
The government must clearly ban all genetically modified (GM) crops including gene edited crops as these, with or without their herbicides and agro-chemicals, are very harmful for environment and health, cannot co-exist with natural farming and can contaminate naturally grown crops as well.
The government needs to stop the further spread of such unscientific, anti-nature programs like those based on sexed semen technology which, if continued, can cause great harm within a few years.
The heavy corporate orientation of union government’s farming policy with its obvious although unstated aim of increasing the hold of a few big multinational corporations and crony-capitalists in the production, hoarding, trade, processing and marketing of farm produce must be withdrawn and instead the government policy should be oriented in a very basic way towards enhancing the sustainable livelihoods of small farmers and processors (including the landless who can be helped to become small farmers) as well as protection of environment and health.
The present day over-centralized government policy is not suitable for natural farming at all which must be necessarily highly decentralized, keeping in view local requirements and allowing full room for the creativity and innovativeness of farmers in keeping with local conditions.
---
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include 'A Day in 2071', 'Man over Machine' and 'India’s Quest for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food'

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h