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Dire need to salvage agriculture in India

Around 50% of India’s population depends on the rural economy and that means agriculture. Agriculture contributed the most to the development of the economy then and doing now also and thus Indian policymakers gave much importance to it. The main theme of the first five-year plan was the promotion of agriculture.

But after the emergence of the industrial sector, the importance given to agriculture annulled. Many legislation and policies were enacted for the protection of the industrial sector that resulted in the neglect of the agricultural sector. Gradually the situation became worse in the case of farmers and it became impossible for them to earn their livelihood by tilling the soil. Consequently, the young populace has had to seek employment in other sectors within and beyond the country. Neoliberal policies formulated in the year 1991 also made a negative impact on the farming sector.

The streamlined object of expansion of agricultural lands to step up production while was in contemplation, really it so happened that more and more agricultural land began to be acquired. The Land Acquisition Act 1894 had been onerous to the aggrieved farmer, deprived of his land with no just compensation. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 made certain definite improvements to mitigate their grievances. But the practical implementation of this legislation has to be examined to know whether it protects the interests of farmers.

The Right to livelihood which is a part of the Right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is not properly protected in the case of farmers. The promotion of agriculture is kept under the Directive Principles of State Policy also. The specific legislation for the protection of farmers in India is The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. Registration and protection of plant varieties, farmers' rights are some of the main provisions of this Act. Even if this legislation dealt with the intellectual property rights of farmers, it missed out on the basic rights of farmers. Some other legislation like the Seeds Act, 1966, The Patents Act 1970, and The Biodiversity Act, 2000 are to be considered in this regard. Even in the presence of such legal measures the condition of our farmers is very worse.

With all it’s snags, COVID –19 may also bring new opportunities in agriculture. The realization of the significance of the farming sector for our survival is one of such opportunities. To attain self-sufficiency in many matters including food security, cloth manufacturing, etc, cultivation should be given much importance. The existence of many industrial and business sectors are subjected to the process of cultivation. In India, many states including Kerala are depending on other states for food and many other things. As a result of the long lockdown period, many complications have arisen in this regard. So this is the right time to make our legal system at least a little more favorable to the agricultural sector. The government declared some agricultural policies and some relief amount for the protection of farmers. But such policies are not enough to cope up with the situation. In order to safeguard the farmers from exploitation by intermediaries and to secure fair prices for their produce and to attain self-sufficiency, a legal mechanism has to be evolved. The basic right to livelihood of farmers must be properly protected for not just their betterment but for well being of every individual in the country.


1) Sushruth Sunder, India economic survey 2018: Farmers gain as agriculture mechanization speeds up, but more R & D is needed.  https://www.financialexpress.com/budget/india-economic-survey-2018-for-farmers-agriculture-gdp-msp/1034266/

2) Agricultural Development in India since Independence: A Study on Progress, Performance, and Determinants Amarnath Tripathi & A.R. Prasad Journal of Emerging Knowledge on Emerging Markets Volume 1 Issue 1 November 2009.

3)Bhavana Rao, The Peasant Farmers Of India: The Need To Classify And Recognise Their Rights, ILI Law Review, Summer Issue 2016.

4)Bheemabai S. Mulage, “History of Agriculture System in India: A Legal Perspective”, International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Education (IJHSSE) Volume 4, Issue 7, July 2017, PP 25-30.

5) Agrarian Crisis: The Survival of Indian Farmers IN India Loud & Clear I 4, August 16, 2019, Video Volunteers.


Hrudya J is currently studying at MG University, Alleppey Area.

You can contact them: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hrudya-j-61263b1aa

Edited By: Swati Tolambia

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