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Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
Monday, 06 November 2017 17:59

SWAMINATHAN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS

National Commissions: The Central Government from time to time forms various committees to study specific subjects, analyze the situation and submit recommendations. On the basis of these recommendations, Government policies are formed or updated. These committees are generally work in assistance with the related Ministries. Their reports are presented and discussed in Parliament.

National Commission on Farmers (NCF) : In 2004, UPA Government formed National Commission on Farmers. This Commission was formed to submit their recommendations on food and nutrition strategy, farming systems in India, strategy for rural credit, measures to improve the competitiveness of farm products, protecting agro markets from exports and special programmes to address the issues of dry regions. The commission was headed by Professor MS Swaminathan and hence the report of this commission is known as Swaminathan Report.

MS Swaminathan Reports : Prof. Swaminathan is a geneticist, known as “Indian Father of Green Revolution” for his key contributions in Green Revolution (1960s) where he introduced high yielding varieties of wheat. Under his leadership, the committee submitted its report in five instalments over the period from December, 2004 to October, 2006. These reports made several recommendations for improvement in the situation of farmers in India. While several criticized the Government for not implementing the recommendations of this committee properly, other few questioned the recommendations itself.

Key Findings & Recommendations of the Report : The major causes of the agrarian crisis are: unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing. Adverse meteorological factors add to these problems. Land Reforms were considered necessary and key suggestions in this regards were to distribute ceiling-surplus and waste lands; prevent diversion of agricultural land & forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes; ensure grazing rights & seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists; establish a National Land Use Advisory Service, etc.Timely and adequate supply of credit is a basic requirement of small farm families and to enhance the same key suggestions of the committee were: expand the outreach of Credit facilities System; issue Kisan Credit Cards to women farmers; establish an Agriculture Risk Fund to provide relief to farmers in the aftermath of successive natural calamities, etc. 28% of the families in India were found to be Below Poverty Line and therefore, food security needed attention.

The committee recommended: ensure availability of quality seed and other inputs at affordable costs; Set up Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) or Gyan Chaupals in the farmers’ distress hotspots; need for focused Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) in the case of life-saving crops; have a Price Stabilisation Fund in place to protect the farmers from price fluctuations, etc.Improving the competitiveness of the small farmers was considered necessary.

Suggestions in this area included: improvement in implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP); MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production; availability of data about spot and future prices of commodities through the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD) and the NCDEX, etc.The committee highlighted the need to create productive employment opportunities and to improve the quality of employment in several sectors such that real wages rise through improved productivity. For this purpose committee recommended emphasizing on relatively more labour intensive sectors and inducing a faster growth of these sectors and ensuring that the net take home income of farmers should be comparable to those of civil servants.The committee also recommended development of measures to reserve traditional rights of access to biodiversity and conservation, enhancement and improvement of crops, farm animals & fish stocks through breeding, etc.

10 years passed but still piece of papers : It’s been around 10 years from the date of submission of Final Report by Swaminathan Committee, however, still the recommendations of the same have not been implemented entirely. One may blame any Government for the delay in implementation, but the truth is farmers have suffered in the end. Prof. MS Swaminathan and his team had made some worthy recommendations, but amongst other reasons, the failure of Government to implement these recommendations, has worsened the situation of farmers in India.

There are demands being made to conduct a separate parliamentary session to discuss about this Farmer issue and develop strategy to combat the situation on the basis of Swaminathan Report, however, it is up to the Political Agenda of the Political Parties if working on farmer crisis is a part of their promotion.

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