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Commission not mandated to consider any sectoral allotments but needs of the Indian Economy can not be understood holistically without understanding the needs of the agriculture sector – Dr. Ashok Lahiri 03-May-2018
 
R&D, use of ICT and integration of service sector and MSMEs with agriculture are the key to doubling farmers income - thoughts that were echoed by the participants of the Agriculture Conference in Chandigarh, moderated by Dr. Ramesh Chand, Member, 15th Finance Commission. Ahead of its meetings with Haryana Govt on 4th May, 15th Finance Commission today held an interactive session on Agriculture. Eminent agriculture scientists from State Agriculture Universities from across the country and agriculture economists along with other agencies like NABARD, Punjab Farmers Commission etc. attended it. R&D, use of ICT and integration of service sector and MSMEs with agriculture are the key to doubling farmers income Various luminaries of the likes of Prof. Sardara Singh Johl and Prof. Abhijit Sen participated. Prof Johl said General universities need to be roped in alongwith Agricultural Universities to strengthen agricultural research as well as basic research. It can not be left only to private agencies. ICT should be used to develop knowledge centres in villages. Prof Abhijit Sen complimented the Commission for holding the conference on Agriculture, a first by any Commission. He said that structural reforms are required in this sector. Planning needs to be based on resources and agro-economic zones. Addressing the media after the conference, acting Chairman of the Commission Dr. Ashok Lahiri said that as such Commission is not mandated to consider any sectoral allotments but needs of the Indian Economy can not be understood holistically without understanding the needs of the agriculture sector. He emphasised that Equity, Efficiency and Sustainability are the key considerations for the Finance Commission. He highlighted the salient points, which were discussed as follows: 1. Resource need evaluation in agriculture is required. 2. Challenge of climate change affecting all the facets of agriculture. 3. Impact of price support and market mechanism. 4. Role of land ownership and crop diversity Participants discussed a wide ranging spectrum of issues pertaining to agriculture. Agricultural productivity, cropping patterns, crop diversity, climate resilience, focus on small and marginal farmers, agriculture subsidies, private sector investment, strengthening the agricultural universities across the country were the issues discussed.
 
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