While flipping pages of my Geography textbook, a fact caught my eye – two third of the population of India is engaged in agricultural activities. We are blessed to have diverse climatic conditions because of which we see a variety of flora and fauna, and grow so many veggies, fruits and other crops. But India still imports a lot of harvested produce from other countries.
Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to ‘self-reliant India’ or ‘self-sufficient India’, is a policy formulated by Prime minister of India Narendra Modi for making India a bigger and more important part of the global economy. It was launched on 12 May 2020 during the announcement of India’s COVID-19 pandemic related economic package. Not only should products be ‘made in India’, but the promotion of those products should take place so as to make those products competitive. We should appreciate our local products, if we don’t do this then our products will not get the opportunity to do better and will not get encouraged. The agriculture and biodiversity sector were also given a lot of importance in it. This scheme helps farmers by providing better financial help, good prices of crops and a lot of new schemes are introduced which will help to support farmers and other people who are dependent on the agricultural sector for their livelihood. The improvement in PDS (Public Distribution System) has also started. Sustainable fishing practices and organic farming practices are encouraged, beekeeping shelters are increased and Rs 1500 crore is specified for animal husbandry. Many medicinal herbs are to be grown by the shore of river Ganga. Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, D V Sadananda Goda, in September 2020, said that “India will be self-reliant in fertiliser production by 2023”. Three Farm Bills passed in September 2020 provide the legal framework to give the farmers the right to choose the price and people to whom they want to sell. Coir Udyami Yojana aims to develop the coir-related industry’s sustainable development.
Role of Agriculture and Biodiversity
From my point of view, the making of New India does not mean cutting the forests to make big buildings, industries or exploiting the natural resources without limit. When I think about a new Bharat, I imagine a country with minimum degradation of natural resources while still sustaining the agricultural demand of our country.
Important focus on agricultural exports should also be given so as to improve the quality of exports rather than just quantity, thereby fetching more price for the farmer. Exports of medicinal herbs and oils, agricultural produce and raw materials like cotton and jute will increase drastically; also aiding the economy. Correspondingly, many people will start to prefer Indian exported products.
Great biodiversity will help to maintain ecological balance for ecosystem stability and support ecotourism. We can use resources and conserve them due to eco-friendly practices in farming, fishing, etc.
At school level, a new subject – Agriculture should be introduced with hands-on experience and interaction with farmers. This will inspire many students to study agriculture and forestry streams.
I think that biodiversity and agricultural prosperity will highly assist in the making of New India. Our new Bharat will be more sustainable and more developed. India will promote eco friendly practices, biodiversity, organic farming, quality produce and build a strong economy. From a developing country, it will turn into a super-power.