SHALL THE BENEFITS REALLY REACH TO THE FARMERS AND FISHERMEN /
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), a flagship scheme for sustainable development of fisheries sector and e-Gopala App for farmers to get market information and other related assistance. People engaged in pisciculture will benefit from the Scheme and the production and exports from the fisheries sector would be doubled in the coming 3-4 year period.
The Mobile App e-Gopala will provide solutions to farmers and the Prime Minister interacted with many farmers on the livestock and fisheries sector.
The PMSSY Scheme will focus on development of fisheries with an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 Crore as part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package.
It is an investment of Rs. 12,340 Crore for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture.
Also an investment of Rs.7,710 Crore will be provided for the development of fisheries infrastructure in the country.
The ambitious plan to promote the fisheries sector will revolutionise the Blue Economy providing infrastructure including cold storage and processing facilities in our country.
The Package is part of the stimulus to revive the economy. Also aims to increase the per capita consumption of fish in India and targets to generate more than 5.5 million jobs by 2024-25 in the country.
The Scheme aims to enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne and export earnings to Rs. 1 Lakh Crore by the period 2024-25.
The Prime Minister also launched several other projects in the fisheries and animal husbandry sectors, including a Semen Station in Purnea in Bihar, a state which is heading for the assembly polls shortly.
Many studies conducted by various agencies reveal that the Socio-Economic status of the fishermen in our country seems to be very low even after many initiatives of the Central and State governments in the country.
The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) study report specifically mentioned the deplorable state of the fishermen in the coastal area stretching nearly 7500 kilometers of marine coastal line.
To assess the plight of the farmers and fishermen in the country, many surveys were conducted to record the income and indebtedness among other issues by the government.
Many Socio-Economic Evaluation programmes were conducted by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and assessed the literacy, income and health status of marine fishers in our country.
The overall literacy rate was 79.37 % and only 32.85 % have primary level of education and 13.1 % have attained the graduate level of education among the fishermen community in the country.
The average monthly income was reported at Rs.8742 and the average amount of debt per person was Rs. 39807, shows the plight of the fishermen community who was struggling against the diverse conditions and bad weather usually seen in the coastal areas and inland marine sectors. It was also found that only 34.99 % of the loans availed were used for the fisheries and aquaculture activities.
Many initiatives such as environmental awareness programmes, ecosystem restorations and climate change mitigations were conducted through community based participatory approach. All these programmes were mobilised with great participation of the responsible communities living and struggling along the coastal areas of the country.
Recently a draft National Policy on Fisheries was also released by the Central Government and called for comments from the stakeholders and public.
THREE BILLS ON AGRICULTURE
Three Bills on agriculture reforms were introduced in Parliament and many farmers groups were vehemently protesting against the Bills in the country.
The proposed legislations, the amendments to the Essential Commodities Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Bill will bring many changes to the marketing and storage of farm produces and facilitation for contract farming.
The new Bills would reform the agriculture sector and benefit the farmers by empowering them to decide the price of the produce, which was determined by traders now. It will encourage private investments and technology introduction in the farm sector. Many farmers organisations are opposing the Bills as they fear imminent corporitisation of farm sector.
We have witnessed farmers’ suicides in many parts of the country and the scholars and experts have offered a number of reasons for the suicides such as crop failure, high indebtedness, poor government policies and corruption in subsidies and other personal issues.
Most of these issues are not at all addressed by the enactments.
Shall we witness a considerable rise in the income and status of the poor farmers and fishermen in the coming years even after declaring Packages after Packages by the Government?
Shall the benefits really reach to the real farmers and fishermen?