India Takes Steps Towards Feminization Of Agriculture

India has recently launched the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana, under the provisions of National Policy for Farmers (NPF) (2007). It is a component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM) and aims at improving the status of women in agriculture.

What is the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana?

The Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP), as the name suggests, is a scheme aimed at making women farmers self-sufficient and independent. This scheme identifies women (“Mahila”) as farmers (“Kisan”) and aims to build their skills in the domain of agroecological and sustainable practices.

Why is this scheme significant?

The primary focus of the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Yojana is to create a community of skilled professionals who will create a sustainable climate-resilient agro-ecology. It aims to strengthen smallholder agriculture practices through Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA), Pashu-Sakhi model for doorstep animal care services, Non-Pesticide Management (NPM), Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), Sustainable regeneration, and harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Produce.

Why the sudden drive towards the feminization of agriculture?

Though often ignored, it is a fact that rural women form the backbone of any agro-based economy. Well above 80% of rural women are engaged in agriculture or related professions. Almost 20% of the farms are led by a woman because of either widowhood, desertion by male family members, or simply because the male members of the family move to cities in search of better livelihoods. Unfortunately, the Indian support system excludes women from their entitlements as an active part of the agricultural ecosystem. Not only are women paid lower wages, but most women also led households are unable to access subsidies on seeds, pesticides, fertilizers as well as lack entry to farmer support institutions. This scheme aims to fix the situation.

Way Forward

Although the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Yojana is an effective first step towards including women into the farming ecosystem, a lot more is left desire. One of the main Sustainable Development Goals India is lagging in is gender equality. By aiding women financially at a grassroots level and pushing them towards attaining their due will help India not only take the economy forward, but we will be one step closer towards building the perfect society.

Question for UPSC Mains:
For an agricultural economy like India, taking steps towards feminization in agriculture is crucial. Discuss.

Published: January 10, 2020 | Modified:January 10, 2020

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