Filling the voids in farms

Context: In the recently formed NDA cabinet under Modi 3.0, Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s appointment to head both the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) and the Ministry of Rural Development is a strategic move. 

During his tenure, Madhya Pradesh achieved impressive economic growth, with an overall GDP growth rate of 7% annually and agricultural GDP growth rate of 6.8% per annum from 2005-06 to 2023-24. 

This growth surpassed national averages significantly, demonstrating his effective leadership in fostering inclusive development.

Challenges and Strategies Ahead

  • Enhancing Agricultural Productivity Amid Climate Change
    • Chouhan faces the critical challenge of boosting India’s agricultural GDP growth to over 5% annually while increasing farmers’ incomes. 
      • Increasing expenditure on agricultural R&D and extension services to at least 1% of agri-GDP.
      • Promoting resilient farming practices and heat-resistant crop varieties to mitigate climate risks.
      • Implementing water-efficient technologies to ensure sustainable water use (“more crop, per drop”).
  • Reforming Agricultural Markets and Trade Policies
    • To improve farmers’ access to global markets and ensure fair prices for their produce, Chouhan must advocate for:
      • Revising policies that hinder export opportunities, such as lifting bans on exports like onions and easing restrictions on rice exports.
      • Collaborating with other ministries to establish efficient value chains for high-value agricultural products, leveraging private sector partnerships and models like the AMUL cooperative.
  • Overhauling Fertiliser Subsidy Policy
    • A significant structural reform Chouhan should pursue is the transfer of the fertiliser subsidy from the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers to MoA&FW:
      • Directly transferring fertiliser subsidies to farmers’ accounts to empower them in choosing fertiliser types.
      • Gradually freeing fertiliser prices while promoting the use of bio-fertilisers and natural farming methods.
      • Implementing digital fertiliser coupons to facilitate this transition and reduce environmental impact.


Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s appointment as the head of MoA&FW and Ministry of Rural Development is pivotal in addressing the rural distress evident from recent electoral setbacks. His track record in Madhya Pradesh demonstrates a proactive approach to agricultural growth and rural prosperity. By focusing on innovation, market reforms, and sustainable practices, Chouhan can play a transformative role in realizing Prime Minister Modi’s vision of doubling farmers’ incomes and ensuring robust rural development across India.

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