Radha Mo­han Singh

MIN­IS­TER FOR AGRI­CUL­TURE, FARM­ERS’ WEL­FARE

India Today - - 30 YEARS OF MODI GOVERNMENT | FOOD & AGRICULTURE - —Ajit Ku­mar Jha

ABJP AND RSS AC­TIVIST for many years, Singh faced a daunt­ing chal­lenge when PM Modi in­ducted him into the cabi­net as In­dia’s agri­cul­ture min­is­ter. Two con­sec­u­tive droughts had crip­pled the sec­tor re­sult­ing in neg­a­tive (-0.2 per cent) growth in 2014-15 and a mea­gre 1.2 per cent the fol­low­ing fis­cal. A self-con­fessed ‘green­horn’ at gov­er­nance when he as­sumed of­fice, Singh was sur­pris­ingly quick at learn­ing the ropes of one of the largest Union min­istries—one with three full sec­re­taries, 42 de­part­ments and sev­eral joint sec­re­taries. Un­der his watch, a com­bi­na­tion of mar­ket-led agri­cul­tural re­forms cou­pled with the in­tro­duc­tion of new tech­nolo­gies is see­ing a re­vival in agri­cul­tural growth—4 per cent in 2016-17. Some of the key re­forms spurring growth in­clude the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yo­jana, Pradhan Mantri Kr­ishi Sin­chai Yo­jana, the in­no­va­tive new soil health card scheme and the in­fotech­driven Na­tional Agri­cul­ture Mar­ket. Just on crop in­sur­ance, the Modi gov­ern­ment’s an­nual spend of Rs 31,807 crore is close to three times the UPA’s Rs 8,374 crore. Singh says he is com­mit­ted to “dou­bling farmer

in­comes”. But since agri­cul­ture is a state sub­ject, he is bank­ing on BJP-ruled states to show the way.

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