Lockdown extension is an add on hurdle inflicted on agriculture sector of India. Nonetheless, the government is implementing several guidelines to overcome the negative impact .
Lockdown Repercussions on the Agricultural Community
The farm economy faced a severe hit when lockdown halted transportation, thereby stagnating the harvest. Further, during the peak harvest, the produce could not reach mandis, thus disrupting the supply chain. Also, the unavailability of migrant laborers, intercepting the harvest and post-harvest operations. The pandemic has given rise to several challenges in procurement operations as well.
That apart, the sale of dairy products such as milk, egg, etc is also facing problems. This is because of various operational restrictions.
Focus on the Indian Farm Households
As a result, the cultivators and related professionals lose their income while some face the wrath of unemployment. Accordingly, small and marginal farmers, landless farm laborers, SMEs dependent on raw materials from agriculture and so on experience extreme challenges. Thus, the government is striving to provide alternative revenue until the economy falls back into its place.
Few Measures Proposed to Assist the Agriculture Sector
Following the announcement of the lockdown extension, the home ministry set guidelines. These guidelines were set bearing in mind their challenges and ensuring less damage to the agriculture sector.
- The supply chain will resume as usual while employing social distancing. This is exclusively for milk, milk products, poultry, tea, rubber plantation and so on.
- The center allows normal functioning of agriculture, health services, and industries in rural areas.
- Some of the main functional activities are- cultivation, horticulture, agro- procurement, mandis, repair shops, farm machinery, and Custom Hiring Centres.
- MSP operations will be functional including the food grain procurement.
- MNREGA projects will resume while also abiding the rules of lockdown and social distancing.
- PM Kisan scheme action, PM- CARES, RBI relief measures, borrowers moratorium, and so on are few measures to safeguard the farmers and other vulnerable sections.
Other Recommended Exemptions to Ensure a Smooth Flow of Economy Amid Lockdown
The following measure despite restoring economic momentum acts as an exit plan to the lockdown. However, this will act as an exit strategy only if states across India reports fewer or no COVID-19 cases in the coming days. Subsequently, the states performing well will slowly return to normalcy. Meanwhile, the rest will have to follow stern rules that will block the relaxations as well.
- Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and infrastructural units and their production unit will be operational.
- Marine and inland fishery activities will resume working as it employs millions of people.
- The urban community will remain shut however, SMEs in a rural area will be exceptional with stringent guidelines.
- Export and trade are on the verge of falling back to the usual momentum while keeping in mind to avoid the contaminant spread.
Government Trying to Lessen the Harsh Impacts of Lockdown on Agriculture Sector
The poor community and the farmers make up 85% of the Indian population. In case of any mishaps, they suffer the most. Similarly, the Coronavirus lockdown initially affected their livelihood beyond repair. However, now we can see it restoring will the relaxations and several measures that are initiated in their favor. Even with lockdown extension, we can presume their smooth flow due to the measure put in by the government.