We have a contingency plan in place for bad monsoon

Written by Sandip Das | Updated: May 29 2014, 10:42am hrs
New agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh spoke to FE's Sandip Das on priority areas for the Modi government

What could be the impact of a deficient monsoon or an El Nino-induced drought on the agriculture output What steps would the ministry be taking to tackle this

Monsoon is expected to be better than anticipated by many people. The IMD forecasts says that monsoon would be 95% of the long-period average (LPA) which implies that some areas may get lesser rainfall than normal. We have held discussion with state governments on the contingency plans and we have allowed states to set aside 10% of allocation under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana for dealing with any rain deficiency. We are in constant touch with state governments and would track the progress of monsoon closely once it enters the Kerala coast next week.

Will you support genetically modified crops for increasing output

My view is that GM technology should be adopted only if it is necessary. We have to invest in research for developing new technologies.

Despite having a large number of people depending on the agriculture for livelihood, we have only one central agricultural university (in Meghalaya) and another central university will be set up in Jhansi for which earlier government had given necessary approval.

We will be soon working on setting up more central universities dedicated to agricultural research.The betterment of farmers and price stability in the country are our focus areas.

On the involvement of private sector in agricultural research

We support the involvement of private sector as partners in agricultural research, education and extention so that large investments are brought in these key areas. What I have understood is that time taken for getting requisite approvals of various schemes needs to be greatly reduced so that more time is available for actual implementation of the schemes during the plans.