GRAM is a unique platform where farmers, academicians, exhibitors of latest technologies and entrepreneurs of Agri business come together for synergistic learnings. The event aims to increase farmers’ awareness and bring them face to face with new technologies, processes, and high value crops and motivate them to diversify. The event showcased the strengths of Rajasthan for attracting investments in Agri Business segment.
What are the initiatives adopted by GRAM 2016?
The Rajasthan government has plans to open over 2,600 hiring centers at the panchayat samiti level in the next three years to enable the state’s farmers to rent farming equipment. We have plans to transform the state’s agricultural landscape by actively promoting global best practices and invited the corporates to join hands with farmers to modernise agriculture in the state. Within a year of holding the ‘Resurgent Rajasthan Summit 2015’, projects valued at almost Rs 5,000 crore have been implemented in the state. Besides, projects worth Rs 54,000 crore and Rs 49,000 crore are under construction and under various stages of clearance respectively.
The primary objective of GRAM is to ensure economic empowerment of the farmers through accelerated yet sustainable growth in agriculture. In addition to farmers, the global event showcased global best practices and best of technologies suited to the agro-climatic conditions of Rajasthan. Farmers have always been at the core of our policy and planning. In the recent years, we have focused on sustainability and innovation on the farm and made policy, technological and infrastructural interventions for enhancement of long-term farm productivity.
You started an ambitious project for rain harvesting. Have your efforts yielded results?
Our state has 1.16 per cent of the surface water available in the country; 4 billion cubic meters out of 16.05 billion cubic meters of rain gets wasted annually as run-off without being tapped. Around 70 per cent of drinking water and domestic supplies depend on groundwater. To address this issue, we launched the scientifically-designed Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan, the country’s largest water conservation campaign in rural areas. We began on January 27, with a target of 108,000 works related to water conservation in 3,529 villages.
Of these, 91,043 works have been completed. You should see the joy in the eyes of the people when they see the water bodies getting filled with rain water. In phase II of this campaign, the water conservation process will be taken up in 3,500 villages.
What is the scope of agriculture in the state of Rajasthan?
Agriculture Sector has immense opportunities for ‘Plasticulture’ in terms of efficient usage of water. If reused and recycled properly, plastic can play a pivotal role in water handling, storage, conservation as well as transportation. It is important to regulate the usage of water in agriculture by cost effective methods. And to achieve this it is significant that the departmental officers should make sure that all the government schemes and grants reach the farmers directly and that they are aware of it.
In order to achieve the mission of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, it is imperative that low-cost and high-quality plastic should be made available to the farmers. Being a scarce and valuable resource, water should be used judiciously and plasticulture will go a long way in limiting its use. New technology and processes should also be made available to the farmers so that the productivity and product quality can be increased with limited usage of water, the Principal Secretary added. She concluded her special address with the slogan - ‘Per Drop More Crop’.
Kindly elaborate on the role of ‘Plasticulture’. How will it help in the economy of Rajasthan?
With rising population, increasing food requirement and decrease in the per capita arable land, there is a dire need for increased productivity. The technological challenges faced by the country due to water stress can be addressed by plasticulture. It will lead to efficient management of resources as well as a reduction in the use of water and fertilizers. We urge the farmers to adopt micro irrigation technologies for improving water use efficiency which will further increase the productivity of the crops. The water-table and quality is decreasing gradually and steps have to be taken to save water through effective usage of micro irrigation. He stressed that productivity, production and farmers income need to be increased for the growth of the agriculture sector of the country.
What is the progress on the smart city project?
Jaipur and Udaipur were among the first 20 cities the Centre shortlisted for developing smart cities, with Jaipur ranking third and Udaipur 16th. A total investment of Rs. 2,401 crore has been proposed for Jaipur and Rs. 1,222 crore for Udaipur. With a huge funding ratio of 5:3:2 between the center, state and the urban local body respectively, the Union urban development ministry has released the first installment of Rs. 200 crore for Jaipur and Udaipur. The state has also contributed its share directly into the dedicated bank accounts of the respective special purpose vehicles, releasing funds of Rs. 186 crore for Jaipur and Rs. 159 crore for Udaipur to initiate development work.