Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
SECOND WAVE WON’T IMPACT AGRI SECTOR: NITI AAYOG
Niti Aayog Member (Agriculture) Ramesh Chand on Sunday said the second Covid-19 wave will not impact the Indian agriculture sector in anyway as rural areas saw spread of infections in May when agriculture activities remained at bare minimum. In an interview with PTI, Chand said that India’s policies on subsidy, price and technology have remained too much in favour of rice, wheat and sugarcane, and there is need to make the procurement and minimum support price policy favourable to pulses.
“Cases started spreading in the rural areas in the month of May, with the beginning of the month of May, and agriculture activity in the month of May is bare minimal, particularly landbased activities,” he added. “...May is a peak summer month and no crop is sown, or harvested except some off-season crops,” Chand further explained.
He pointed out that labour force is moving to rural areas as there has been a lot of increase in Covid-19 cases in urban areas and these labourers are willing to work in the agriculture sector for livelihood.
“From the output side, you look at agriculture market data. Market for agriculture (is) just working normally everywhere,” he argued.
The Niti Aayog member noted that income from the agriculture sector, which is a major source of earning for rural people, is intact. “So that large segment of rural income, ...it is remaining intact and rural demand on that count will not be affected,” he opined.