Comprehensive Agricultural Policy, but when?

Many things about the State of Jammu and Kashmir are pathetically interesting. There can be areas and pockets in any scheme or policy followed by the State towards achieving of a set desired objective which, to improve upon and bringing in tune with changing requirements, could be commented upon, criticized and even asked for soliciting suggestions from experts but what can be done in a scenario when there is no policy at all, not even for the name sake. It is tantamount to the proverbial saying of  ‘if the sky falls, we shall catch larks.’ It is astonishing to note that Jammu and Kashmir State has no Comprehensive Agricultural Policy.
The announcement to this effect that the State should have a well thought of and designed Comprehensive Agricultural Policy, was made exactly seven years back and till now, nothing has moved towards that end. The committee of Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities of the State, along with senior officers has failed to meet the deadline for finalization of this strategic policy. In fact, the policy , otherwise is a set of laws and procedures relating to domestic agriculture and imports from other States. The State expectedly designs and implements the covenants of the policy for achieving definite and set objectives including issues concerning price stability, marketing, supply position, product quality, land use, diversification of crops and employment issues.
As is well known, this State is undergoing an unwarranted scenario   laced with far reaching consequences ,  on the future of agriculture and allied activities although two thirds of the population of the State , directly and indirectly is wholly dependent on agriculture and agriculture allied activities. Our agricultural land is shrinking at an alarming rate and buildings, factories, shops, and other constructions are coming up fast on them as also blatant ways of conversion of productive lands in Kashmir and Jammu divisions is taking place which results  in the annual fall in agricultural output , the bulk of which has to be imported from other States. There are other concerns which the Agriculture Policy  could well take care of  to  provide solutions, remedies and improvements but there is neither such policy in force nor any expectations of its coming to fore within a short period.
What is the designated Committee doing? Why is there a dilly- dallying approach, if not tactics, despite the fact that Governor N .N .Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti have repeatedly been laying thrust on the dire need to address the concerns in respect of agriculture with special emphasis on doing away with annual food grain shortfall and effectively containing conversion of productive agricultural land for non agricultural purposes. Though, the announcement regarding formulation of Agricultural Policy was made in early 2011 and some “movements”  were noticed in the form of an exercise made by the Agriculture Production Department and Draft of the policy was prepared  yet no seriousness was observed being shown thereafter in any concerned quarters so that a vetted , well thought of and duly formulated  policy could be prepared .
It speaks about total abdication of responsibility on the part of the concerned authorities in a vital sector such as agriculture, with the result the preliminary Draft is suspected to be under several layers of gathered dust . Governor N. N. Vohra has been taking special interest in the early formulation of the much desired Agricultural Policy who, only a few days back emphasized on addressing farm distress and bringing more areas under agricultural activities. Let it be hoped that the Policy is prepared, now, without any further loss of time.


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