Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir have lowest income in comparison to their counterparts in rest of the country, reveals a government of India report.
Thecompound annual growth rates (CAGR) of real incomes between 2002-03 (NSSOsurvey) and 2015-16 (NABARD survey) of agri-households in Jammu and Kashmir isminus 2.3 which is not only lowest in the country but it is the only state withminus CAGR, according the report.
OverallCAGR is 3.7 percent at the all India level, with a high of 8.4 percent forOdisha.
Expertsattribute the failure of state governments over the period of time to draftagriculture policy as the one of the reason for dwindling income offarmers.
Interestingly,the largest employer and the primary driver of Jammu and Kashmir's economy –agriculture – continues to be in decline.
Overthe past decade, its contribution to the state's gross domestic product (GSDP)has fallen by 8 percent.
Accordingto the Draft Srinagar Master Plan 2035, the share of agriculture has dippedfrom 28 percent to 16 percent, while industries (secondary sector) has stayedstagnant at 43 percent and the share of services (tertiary sector) has gone upto 57 percent in the past ten years.
Agriculture,which has been categorised as the weakest contributor in the draft master plan,provides employment to about 60 percent of the population, followed by theindustries and services sectors. This has led to disparity between the averageincome of agriculturists and of non-agriculturists, which has been increasingsince long and has made the major part of the population poorer.
Decliningshare of agriculture in the GDP has resulted in further dependency on outsidesupplies. Currently, J&K imports goods worth Rs 58031 crore a year.
In2011, Jammu and Kashmir government had announced formulation of an agriculturepolicy, but seven years down the line due to the lackadaisical approach of thepeople at the helm of affairs neither the policy has been drafted nor theunabated conversion of the state farmland has been halted.
Itwas the government of National Conference – Congress alliance which announcedagriculture policy will be formulated in order to find out solutions and givedirection to the farm sector to match up with latest technologies and climaticchanges.
Afterissuing scores of press handouts, authorities claimed in 2013 that the drafthas been formulated which would be reviewed by expert committee in order tocome up with a final comprehensive policy on agriculture production in Jammuand Kashmir.
However,since then the government changed hands, as PDP-BJP alliance was forged in 2015which remained in office till June 2018, but the state's agriculture policydidn't see the light of the day. Even though, the previous regime also claimedof working on it on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.
Asource in agriculture department said that the policy document was formulatedto meet among others the challenges posed to agriculture crop cycle by theclimate change phenomenon being observed across the globe.
Hesaid policy would envisages measures for meeting the challenges of climaticchange affecting the crop cycle and achieving self-sufficiency in food throughcomprehensive planning and intervention programmes, including soil mapping,seed replacement creation of dependable irrigation infrastructure, technologytransfer to the fields. However, since 2013, there has no exercise done by thedraft policy document to give it a final shape.
Inabsence of agriculture policy, Jammu and Kashmir is fast losing its agricultureland for non-agriculture purposes.