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Updated: December 5, 2010 12:36 IST

Entitlements passbooks can bridge info gap

D. Murali
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The four crore farmers who get rescued from the debt trap as a result of loan waiver will have to be helped immediately to derive benefit from the numerous well-funded schemes of the government, urges M. S. Swaminathan in ‘From Green to Evergreen Revolution’ by (www.academicfoundation.com). The schemes he mentions include the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Food Security Mission, National Horticulture Mission, Watershed and Micro-Irrigation Programme, Rural Godowns and Warehousing Development, and Knowledge Connectivity through gyan chaupals.

“Every farm family can be given an entitlements passbook which will provide them with information on how to access the relevant provisions of these schemes. Unless timely support is given, the farmers covered under the loan waiver scheme will again get indebted.”

The author notes that if such farmers are helped to produce even 5 quintals of grain per hectare more, the result can be 20 million tonnes of additional food grains for the nation; and that the Netaji Subhas Open University can take the lead in providing entitlement passbooks to eligible farm women and men.

Food security

While some imports of wheat, pulses, and oilseeds may be necessary in the short-term, a food security system based on home-grown food alone will help to improve the income and work security of small and marginal farm families, to whom agriculture is the backbone of the livelihood system, Swaminathan reminds.

He cautions that unless we produce adequate food, the needs of the Public Distribution System (PDS), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), School Noon Meal Programme and various other food-based social safety net programmes cannot be met. “Also, it will be difficult to build an adequate food security reserve essential to insulate our large population from the vagaries of the weather as well as of the market.”

Messages of critical value.

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