Growing agrarian stress, climate change, farmer suicides and an unpopular land bill are all colluding to turn the farm sector into prime minister Narendra Modi’s possible Waterloo. After decades of subsidies and sops, Indian agriculture still remains the parking lot for the poor for whom non-farm jobs remains a distant dream. Modi’s promised acche din remain a pipedream unless his government finds some magic formula to quickly raise farm incomes.
One such formula remains hidden in our solar mission. An immensely promising proposition is helping farmers to make money by ‘growing’ Solar Power As Remunerative Crop, an intiative we can call SPARC. All we need to do is give farmers solar irrigation pumps with a power-purchase guarantee that megawatt-scale generators get. Karnataka’s Surya Raitha scheme is already piloting this idea.