Few HNIs look at investing in farm land and going back to their roots in a very different way from earlier days. Agricultural research plays a crucial role in promoting diversified cropping systems. Currently, the public expenditure on agricultural research is only 0.7 per cent of the agricultural GDP.

Crop diversification is another big challenge. Experts feel that attention must be paid to include crops like pulses and millets and attempt to develop climate-resilient cropping systems. They have a crucial place in the country’s food security architecture.

Concentrated efforts are required to revive the agricultural extension system and build its capacities by both human resource as well as technical know-how. Organizations like the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) and Krishi Vigyan Kendras need to be energised to become active agents of change in rural areas.

Public investment in rural infrastructure is known to leverage substantial private investment and generate significant local employment multipliers. Available evidence shows that even as the overall rate of women’s labour force participation has declined, there has been high labour force participation of women from poorer households, especially in times of increasing agrarian distress.

There is also the challenge of employment generation and figures show that non-farm jobs to be created has to be at least thrice as much as the current growth rate of 5-6 million jobs per year. Sectors like agro-processing and value addition to agricultural produce offer huge scope for local employment and for greater control by the local producers over the value chain.

How does this impact real estate scenario?

A general permission is available to NRIs or PIO to purchase only residential/ commercial property in India. There is no restriction on the number of residential/commercial properties that an NRI or a PIO can buy. The name of a foreign national of non-Indian origin cannot be added as a second holder of a residential/commercial property purchased by an NRI or a PIO.

A foreign national of non-Indian origin, resident outside India, cannot acquire any immovable property in India by way of purchase without the RBI’s nod.

He does not require the RBI’s permission for this. A person resident outside India (that is, an NRI, a PIO or a foreign national of non-Indian origin) cannot acquire agricultural land/plantation/farm house in India by way of purchase.

The Government can bring in policies which will ensure that these buyers continue farming on this land. This is will ensure that the latest technology from countries other than India is implemented and a sustainable agriculture practice is adopted. Whether it is traditional farmers or the newer generation, the ecosystem approach to agriculture will benefit the environment and the nation. The traditional farmers can be offered subsidies to adapt to the new practices.

While the concept of vertical farming is still a dream, let us ensure that the next generation does not lose out on the certain things money can’t buy – and one of them is seeing and feeling mother earth and listening to the earth’s soul.