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The Hindu Daily Editorial DiScussion 8/2/19 By - Ashish Singh
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Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna Fasal ki Suraksha Har Pal Aapke Saath Pradhan Mantri Klsan SAmman Nidhi PM-KISAN BUDGET 2019-20 ' Direct income support of 6,000 p.a for farmers, effective 01.12.2018 Kisan Credit Card To benefit 12 cr small and marginal farmer families having cultivable land upto 2 ha FEDERAL BANK Direct transfer into the bank accounts in three equal instalments asemer as KISAN CARD First installment upto 31.03.2019, to be paid this year itself 75,000 cr in outlay for 2019-20 and 20,000 cr in RE 2018-19 RuPay DEBIT CARDHOUD
Will the 6,000/- farmer payout help? All farmers affected by severe natural calamities where assistance is provided from National Disaster Relief Fund, will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2% and prompt repayment incentive of 3% for the entire period of reschedu lement of their loans. l0 GS PAPER 3 Issues related to direct and .indirect farm subsidies
YES The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme, announced in the Interim Budget, is the biggest scheme launched by the Government of India till date for providing structured support to small and marginal farmers. For farmers' welfare Under the scheme, t6,000 per year will be provided to farmers holding cultivable land of up to two hectares This has been done because the government is aware that the smaller the land holding, the greater the need for financial support.
This is a Central Sector Scheme and will be funded fully by the Government of India. The guidelines of the scheme have been issued. The government has developed a portal for managing the scheme (http://pmkisan.nic.in), which has gone live. The States have to upload the data of the beneficiaries on the portal. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare will transfer the benefit directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries. The amount will be credited into the account of the beneficiary within 48 hours of its release by the government.
In the 2018-19 Budget, the government announced that minimunm support price (MSP) would be 1.5 times the cost of production for all the notified commodities. . The Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan was approved by the Cabinet last year to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers. There have been various interventions to boost the production of pulses and oilseeds. Earlier, in 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yoiana to provide insurance to farmers from all risks. Thus, in the broader framework of farmers' welfare, it is easy to understand the importance of the PM-KISAN scheme.
Institutional credit The government was concerned that although our farmers work very hard, and we have had record foodgrain production in the last three years, they were unable to get good prices for their produce, especially for non-MSP commodities, because of the adverse terms of trade, including depressed international prices. What has gone unnoticed is that the government is also trying to bring all farmers into the fold of institutional credit. The target is to bring more than six crore farmers into the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) regime. Directions have been issued for this to the States and banks. They have been advised to issue KCCs within 15 days of application by the farmers. All the charges which were being levied by the banks, including documentation and inspection charges, up to 3 lakhs have been waived.
It is important to keep in mind that the average annual income of small and marginal farmers is well below the average income of all farmers. The benefit being given to small and marginal farmers through PM- KISAN will provide them assured supplemental income and also meet their emergent expenses, especially immediately after harvest. The scheme will be implemented with an estimated expenditure of l rode them assured suprlaily immesdlaelk aterharvest 1 lakh crore till 2019-20, benefiting 12.50 crore small and marginal farmer families.
NO Earlier, we were told there was a battle cry during India's freedom struggle. It ."Mujhe khoon do, mein tumhey azaadi doonga (give me blood and I will give went like this: you freedom)." When the Interim Budget was being read out by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, it sounded more like, "Muihe vote do, mein tumhey paisa doonga (give me votes and I will give you money)." Politics in India is not 'accidental' as in Uri, the movie. The farm crisis is real. Admittedly, it is not a recent phenomenon. It is not the creation of this particular party in power. It is the result of policies adopted by most of the political outfits that governed this nation and its States for the past many decades.
The explanation for politicians turning a blind eye to the crisis is simple While solutions to the bottlenecks in business and industry could be dished out in comfortable offices in New Delhi or State capitals, agriculture, for long, had no spokesperson or lobby in India. All the so-called elites of India looked down on farmers as poor and unwanted citizens that the country could well do without.
No vikas for farmers All this suddenly changed. The drastic alteration took place when three of the five States that went to polls at the end of 2018 turned hostile to the BJP . Those victories were not so much victories for the Congress as they were a resounding defeat for the BJP. The underlying message was crystal clear: All the noise about vikas'(development) meant nothing to the farmer. The toiling Indian in the field decided, after 71 years of utter neglect, that enough is enough. . The farmers realised that numbers favoured them. They were not willing to be pawns in the hands of those who debated whether or not the of India could be printed on a postage stamp.
The farm crisis is real Farmers with two hectares of land want not just 2,000 every four months, as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi promises. That is not even enough to fill diesel in their hired tractors. Farmers are not begging for doles. The system of governance has to understand who the small farmer is What does the word share-cropper imply? Who is a tenant farmer? Are the land records sorted out in rural India, or are they all being purposefully kept vague to enable big sharks to grab large tracts? What is land settlement and why has most of the country not gone through this process? . These are the questions that we need to ask.
However, the Budget has shown an implicit appreciation of the idea and proposed it for a large part of the rural labour force. Landless labourers are a category in the Census and National Sample Survey Office, but as the Finance Secretary clarified, they cultivate at least kitchen plots, and so are marginal farmers for revenue purposes and are eligible for the scheme. When we count the economic costs we factor in the terminal costs (for the year when the scheme is fully implemented) as a percentage of, say, GDP or agricultural GDP, but such schemes take time to implement and the initial costs are lower.
. The answer, of course, is to build rural infrastructure in markets and give tariff protection against subsidised imports. But urban interests become a constraint. The Interim Budget has rhetoric, but the NITI Aayog, which wrote this, does not have any fund allocation powers, unlike the reformed Chinese planning set-up where strategic plans are buttressed with funds. So, you live from day to day. Direct Transfers are then the oxygen you need.
The Budget speech also reiterates the government's stated goal of doubling farmers' income. The government is obviously sceptical of this; otherwise an additional Direct Transfer sounds rather excessive, even in the months before an election. The budgeted figure for MSP or other support will have to be based on a cost concept that includes rent and interest on farm investments, as a committee I chaired on cost concepts for MSP had argued
The road to peace runs through Tehran GS PAPER 2 Effect of policies and politics of developed a developing countries on India's interests nd
Iran is not a newcomer to regional diplomacy in Afghanistan. First and foremost, India should try to dissuade the U.S. from dealing with Iran, Russia and China as enemies. In fact, U.S. President Donald Trump's perception of all three as foes is at odds with America's earlier engagement with them to end its military campaign in Afghanistan. For instance, from 2014 to 2016, Washington and Moscow quietly arranged talks on the Afghan peace process. The meetings, known as the 6+1 group, included representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and the U.S. The 6+1 process assumed that each of these countries was essential to the achievement of a political settlement in Afghanistan Moreover, last November, the U.S. and the Taliban joined for the first time the Russia hosted conference
Regional powers could put their weight behind a negotiated settlement that will ensure Afghanistan's stability. Iran, Russia and China and the Central Asian states with which India and Afghanistan wish to cooperate in countering terrorism fearf that continued instability in Afghanistan could spill over into their countries. India will also be adversely affected if negotiations break down. In that event, extremist exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan or India would probably increase.
ndia could remind Washington about the past coincidence of American and Iranian interests on Afghanistan Together with the U.S. and India, Iran supported the overthrow of oth the Taliban in 2001 Saint-Petersburg RUSSIA Moscow In the international negotiations which followed in Bonn that year, Astrakhan Black Sea Iran supported the installation of Hamid Karzai as President and favoured the exclusion of the Taliban from his government. Baku AZERBALJAN IR Bandar-Abas NDIA Mumbai Arabian Sea Standard Route Bay of Bengal -North South Transport Corridor
Last December, Iran also held talks with the Taliban with the knowledge of the Afghan government. But it should assure Kabul of its good intentions. In recent months Afshan officials have accused Iran, which the u.s. In recent months Afghan officials have accused Iran, which the U.S. says is trying to extend its influence in western Afghanistan, of providing the Taliban with money, weapons and explosives. Iran denies the charge. The U.S. and Iran could be advised of the mutual, and regional advantages of improving ties. Such advantages could range from stability in Afghanistan, and beyond, to increased trade prospects, especially in South and West Asia
Win-win prospects Iran could gain by strengthening trading ties with a secure Afghanistan. In 2017 it supplanted Pakistan as Afghanistan's largest trading partner. . At a time when Iran's economy is weighed down by American sanctions, it would want to build up trade ties with neighbouring states. The U.S. would also gain After all, Iran is the geopolitical hub connecting South, Central and West Asia and the Caucasus. .The Strait of Hormuz, that crucial conduit, links Iran westwa rds to the Persian Gulf and Europe, and eastwards to the Gulf of Oman, South and East Asia
The U.S. should not lose the chance to act in concert with Iran to improve Afghanistan's security. And, as the U.S. airs the idea of withdrawal from Afghanistan, now is the right time for India to act as the honest broker between them and to play a larger role in regional security. The status of India and Iran as regional powers as well as the stability of South, Central, and West Asia would simultaneously be enhanced. It is to be hoped that Mr. Trump's display of America's "superpower" in opposition to Iran and Russia and China will not block such an opportunity to stabilise Afghanistan
Isfahan o IRAQ IRAN Strait of Hormuz Bandar Abbas al Juball A KISTAN UAE Muscat SA UDI ARABIA 0 MAN Arabian Sea YEMEN