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Farmers welfare: What Indian agricultural sector needs to learn from Denmark?

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By Prachi Mishra

Every day, from breakfast to dinner, our lives are touched by the farmers as the food we eat is cultivated by them. But never even once, a thought crosses our minds about the sacrifices peasants make so we can enjoy our daily bread.

This year itself, thousands of farmers have ended their lives because they were unable to provide basic sustenance to their families.

The poor farmers are vulnerable to a larger variety of risks, which not only affect individuals, but their households or the entire community. Other than the risk of injuries, accidents, underemployment, these farmers also have to deal with the risk of natural calamities like heavy rainfall, droughts, cyclones, etc.

The condition of the farmers in India is deplorable, and over the last 67 years since Independence, the political parties have used them only for political gains. Indian politicians, instead of coming up with solutions to the woes of the farmers, keep lamenting about the situation.

What is needed by the government is to adopt the policies, which have been tried and tested in the nations where farmers live a dignified life. One such example from which India could take cues is of Denmark.

Denmark is renowned for its profitable agriculture sector. In India, the farmers, who cultivate food for the country, cannot provide their own families with two square meals, while in Denmark, the farmers produce food sufficient to feed three times of its actual population. The farmers in Denmark are given proper education of around 4.5 years to enhance their skills and competency. The marketing and food companies are owned by the farmers themselves, unlike India where the agro-based companies are owned by industrialists who eat away the farmer’s share of profit.

Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has laid down certain rules regarding the storage of manure, livestock farming, handling and storage of manure. Some of the rules are:

·          Cover on manure storage

·          Education for farmers using chemicals

·          Updated list on safe pesticides

·          Safe storage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

India should take up Denmark as a model to improve the livelihood of its farmers. Instead of handing over the control to multinational corporations, the government can form farmer cooperatives, which could look into the production as well as the marketing of agricultural goods. Farmers should also be aided with proper education and infrastructure.

It’s not that India does not have plans to provide the farmers with subsidies and welfare schemes. Every now and then, we see political leaders supporting pro-farmer movements and coming up with new proposals to aid them. Several NGOs represents the vulnerability of farmers and urges the government to support them. Then, why are the Indian farmers still sustaining in a deplorable condition?

We have enough social protection plans in our country to redress the grievances of the farmers. It’s just that these plans are not implemented properly. Therefore, instead of coming up with new schemes, the government should make sure that the existing welfare program are exhausted to their full extent to benefit the farmers.

  • In india schemes r just on papers and r only to fill their own pocket.In india Talent and merit r given second importance.Double faced few indians like to be called Progressive but the truth is they love their backwardness.Denmark is also know for its Cattle breading milk production….
    Long way to go but this is a beautiful and encouraging articles.

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  • In india schemes r just on papers and r only to fill their own pocket.In india Talent and merit r given second importance.Double faced few indians like to be called Progressive but the truth is they love their backwardness.Denmark is also know for its Cattle breading milk production….
    Long way to go but this is a beautiful and encouraging articles.

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Three Projects Help India to Stop its Share of Water to Pakistan after Pulwama

The waters of the western rivers - the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab - averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan.

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Picture Courtesy:-www.economylead.com

The government has envisaged three projects to give intent to its decision to stop its share of water from three eastern rivers of the Indus system – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – from going to Pakistan.

The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack though the Union cabinet had approved implementation of one of the key projects – Shahpurkandi dam – in December last year.

The waters of the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for “specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India”, according to a treaty.

India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

pakistan, india, water ban
However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. VOA

To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.

However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. The other two projects are Ujh multipurpose project and the second Ravi Beas link below Ujh.

Here’s the reality check of the three projects:

Shahpurkandi Project: It aims to utilise the waters coming from powerhouse of Thein dam in order to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab by generating 206 MW of power.

The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the two states, work was suspended in August 2014 but they reached an agreement last September and the construction work has now resumed with the Centre monitoring its progress. The central government had in December last year announced assistance of Rs 485 crore for the project and it would be completed by June 2022.

 

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The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. VOA

The project will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectare in Punjab and 32,173 hectare in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The total balance cost of pending work in ShahpurKandi Dam project is estimated Rs 1,973.53 crore (irrigation component: Rs 564.63 crore, power component Rs1408.90 crore).

The Shahpurkandi Project was initially approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2001. Revised costs were approved, but there was delay in its execution both because of lack of funds with Punjab and inter-state issues with Jammu and Kashmir.

An agreement was finally reached between the two states under the aegis of Water Resources Ministry in September last year.

Ujh multipurpose project: Construction of the Ujh multipurpose project will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metres of water on Ujh, a tributary of Ravi, for irrigation and power generation and provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 hectares in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,850 crore and the Central assistance of Rs 4,892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The project is yet to be implemented and it will take about six years for completion.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh: The project has been planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through Ravi by constructing a barrage across it for diverting water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin.

The project is expected to utilise about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to the Beas basin.

 

india, pakistan, water share, pulwama
Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia

The water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to use the water available in the Indus system of rivers originating in India.

 

ALSO READ: IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

The Indus system comprises Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.  (IANS)