MCX Chairman and former NABARD Chairman Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has said that it is necessary to increase the growth of agriculture to create a developed India by 2047. To increase agriculture, there is a need for good connectivity in villages. He expressed the view while addressing the “Investment and Job Opportunities in Rural Areas” session of the Rural Voice Agriculture Conclave and NACOF Awards, 2023, organized on the third foundation day of Rural Voice.
Dr Bhanwala said that today we cannot see agriculture only as agriculture. If agriculture is to be developed then many other things will have to be developed. To create a developed India by 2047, it is necessary to increase the growth of agriculture. For this, good roads, water, electricity, markets, digital platforms and better internet connectivity are needed in the villages. He said that today's youth orders everything on the internet, even if he is from a rural area. Food consumption is increasing through the internet. There are many opportunities in this field. This is an area that can provide employment.
He said that there is a problem of connectivity in rural areas in many states. Unless there is good internet connectivity in the villages, the plan for development of agriculture will remain incomplete till 2047. Raising the issue of sharing, he said that all the states will have to decide on it together. At present, there are about 30% farmers who do not have their own land and do farming on shareholding or lease. Why would such farmers invest in agriculture? They know that after a year or two or three years the land owner will give his land to someone else for sharing.
To change this situation, he suggested the states to enact laws so that the rights of the farm owner are maintained and the sharecropper also benefits. He said that the use of machinery in agriculture has increased. New machines have arrived for all agricultural activities which are expensive. Farmers cannot buy all types of machines. In such a situation, there are huge employment opportunities in mechanised service. Corporates should invest in this. There will be a shortage of workers in agriculture in the coming days, hence there is every possibility of demand for mechanised services increasing.
He also said that it is important for us to save the environment. Today, leave alone the cities, it has become difficult to breathe even in the villages, especially in the villages near the cities. It is important to invest in the environment related to agriculture. When there is investment, there will also be opportunities. Apart from this, there is also a need to invest in skill development.
He said that there is a need to bring changes in the institutions of Cooperative and Panchayati Raj and increase the participation of every farmer in them. Unless farmers' participation is ensured, no matter what technology comes, no matter what plan is made, the system will not change. Along with environment and investment, we need to bring about change with attitudes, policies and people's participation in our institutions, he added.