Radha Mohan Singh
MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FARMERS’ WELFARE
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.