Govts should think beyond loan waivers, farmers need support in form of infra, power supply: Naidu

New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday underlined the need for “much-needed” reforms in agriculture sector to improve the status of farmers and asked the governments to think beyond loan waivers, saying the farming community needs support in the form of infrastructure and power supply than just doles.

He also called for cooperative action to achieve this, and a dialogue with farmers and agricultural scientists to design a system that delivers tangible results to the farming community.

Expressing happiness over enterprising youth returning to villages and introducing advanced techniques in agriculture, the vice president said this is an encouraging trend and must be further accelerated.

He underscored that agri-entrepreneurship is an effective way to gainfully and sustainingly employ and leverage India’s demographic dividend.

Naidu also suggested top priority and coordinated action by both the Centre and the states to bring in reforms.

The vice president also suggested that the 4 Ps–Parliament, political leaders, policymakers and press — must proactively adopt a positive bias towards agriculture, an official statement said.

“In fact, a radical shift in making agriculture profitable is the need of the hour. We must also ensure that the growth is steady and sustainable,” he said.

He made these remarks at the release of a book on agriculture in India in Hyderabad.

Suggesting that the Centre and states should give a helping hand to farmers, he advised governments to think beyond loan waivers, the statement said. Farmers need timely and affordable credit, assured and quality power, infrastructure support like godowns and marketing facilities, more than just doles, Naidu remarked, according to the statement.

The vice president suggested that the problems that are holding back Indian farmers from realising their full potential must be identified, adding “we can’t continue with business as usual”.

Referring to key issues affecting agricultural productivity such as the decreasing size of land holdings, continued dependence on the monsoon, inadequate access to irrigation and lack of access to formal agricultural credit, he said “as a result of these factors, agriculture is not seen as a profitable venture”.

Naidu observed that many people are leaving agriculture and migrating to urban areas because it is not remunerative, because of rising input costs and unfavourable market conditions.

The vice president called for long-term policy changes like governance and structural reforms to make agriculture viable.