In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi and Orissa Economics Association, Odisha organised a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Odisha Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 15, 2021, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.
Macro Realities of Odisha
Dr Amarendra Das, Secretary, Orissa Economics Association; Faculty, National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Odisha, said that at the National level, agriculture is the only sector that experienced positive growth of about 3.4%. But the Odisha’s agriculture sector experienced a 6.7% decline in the agricultural output. Already 33% of people fall below the poverty line (BPL) and agriculture contributes 20% to it.
This will further have serious implications on the farmers as more people will fall BPL. Some regions also experienced a fall in the poultry sector and a fall in the price as farmers are unable to sell their outputs. Talking about the price mechanism, a Minimum Support Price should be ensured to the farmers. In conclusion, agriculture should be revived to provide a livelihood to all.
Dr Das said that support should be provided to the agriculture sector, particularly farmers, as it is directly linked to the rural economy. An alternative plan for employment, particularly skill-based employment at the panchayat level, is needed in the advanced districts of Odisha as there is very little demand for MGNERGA. There’s a need to create Panchayat level enterprises as well.