Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

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NEW DELHI: Eminent agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan had not only piloted the green revolution in India during the 1960s that eventually ensured the country’s food security but also laid a foundation of future reforms in the farm sector.
Many of his suggestions, incorporated in the reports of National Commission on Farmers led by him, including law on national food security and higher minimum support price (MSP) for procurements of crops factoring in weighted average cost of production, continue to benefit millions of people across the country.
Five reports submitted by the Commission during December 2004 – October 2006 are the compendium which the successive governments referred to for key policy decisions. In fact, the three farm laws (now repealed) brought in by the present government in 2020 too had its roots broadly in various reform points suggested by him.
“Creation of All India Agricultural Research Service, strengthening of all India coordinated projects ensuring networking of scientists from across the country, starting of lab-to-land programme to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers, and establishment of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences are some of the other significant contributions of Swaminathan,” said R S Paroda, agriculture scientist and former director general of ICAR.
Pitching for honouring him posthumously with Bharat Ratna, Paroda told TOI that it was Swaminathan who as chairman of NCF convinced the government to come up with national farmers welfare policy and gave recommendation to pay farmers MSP that should be at least 50% more than the cultivation cost.
Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), A K Singh, said the national food security law, which is being effectively implemented by the present government, was also one of the most significant contributions of Swaminathan.
He said an era of agricultural research, education and extension marked by disruptive innovations has come to an end with the death of Swaminathan.
Besides his suggestion on higher MSP, Swaminathan always pushed for improvement in its implementation and argued why arrangements of procurement at minimum support price need to be put in place for crops other than paddy and wheat. In addition, he suggested millets and other nutritious cereals should be permanently included in the public distribution system (PDS).
The Commission under him also recommended that the state Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) relating to marketing, storage and processing of agriculture produce need to shift to one that promotes grading, branding, packaging and development of domestic and international markets for local produce, and move towards a “single Indian market”.



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