23 November 2015 08:16:24 IST

Arvind Subramanian pushes for the ‘Amul’ model in pulses production

Calls for structural transformation in agricultural sector

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has called for structural transformation of agriculture and policy to achieve higher growth. Referring to the recent spurt in prices of pulses, Subramanian called for replication of the Amul model in a broader sense in agriculture.

“We need to have an ‘Amul’ for pulses,” Subramanian said, while delivering the fourth ‘Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture’, organised by the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) at NDDB campus.

The ‘Amul’ model follows the cooperative model, where farmer members of a cooperative collect milk and sell it under the farmers’ cooperative, thereby fetching better price for farmers and increasing milk production. This made the country a net exporter of milk from a net importer.

“We need a big push that raises agriculture productivity in pulses. And this will require organisational (support), science and technology, prices, policy, etc. It is something the Centre is trying to address,” he said.

Speaking further on rising disparity in demand and supply of pulses, he said while dietary changes were shifting towards proteins through pulses, the policy emphasis still lay on cereals.

In his lecture on ‘Reforms in Indian Agriculture’, Subramanian specifically focused on the need of reforms to incentivise farmers to achieve higher productivity and greater market access. “In India, we have 5,500 markets. This means we are widely-fragmented. So, the freedom and choice that farmers of Kheda districts didn’t have about 30 years ago to sell milk, is the same situation we face today.

“Because, farmers are forced to sell their produces at their local APMC. And, there are about 5,000 APMCs. So, freedom of farmers is restricted,” Subramanian said in his address.

He mentioned that just like the Goods and Service Tax (GST), this will have a common market to cover. “There is a need to have an open market like GST. We need to remove restrictions on storage and restrictions of State market boards,” he told the gathering.

The memorial lecture is an annual event to mark Dr Kurien’s birth anniversary and commemorate the exemplary work done by the father of White Revolution.