INDIAN EXPRESS EDITORIALS COMPILATION OCTOBER 2018 FOR UPSC PRE AND MAINS 2019 NEWS HIGHLIGHTS NEWS EVENTS ot locally and nutial NEWS AND EVENT PRESENTED BY Dr. SWASTI SINHA
From Plate to Plough: Get smarter on the farm - Oct 3
Importance: GS Paper IlIl: Indian Agriculture Suggested Question: Supporting agriculture through input subsidies is a bad approach. Priority must now be given to investment in the sector and ensuring farmers have access to the latest technologies. Discuss recent government initiatives in this regard.
Investment in Rural India: India needs a good blend of investments and subsidies in its agriculture policy. .There is not a severe constraint on resources to invest in rural areas like: o Roads o Water (irrigation) o Sanitation o Housing o Agri-research and development (R&D) o Quality education . All this will help to reduce poverty and propel agri-growth at a much faster pace.
Supporting farmers: Most countries support agriculture to ensure food security and enhance farmers' income. The main policy instruments to support farmers in India include: o Subsidised fertilisers o Subsidised Power o Agri-credit o Crop insurance on the input side o Minimum support prices for major crops on the output front
Criticism of Government policies: Trade and Marketing policies of India: o India's trade and marketing policies have inflicted a huge negative price burden upon the country's farmers. o The Producer Support Estimate (PSE) for India works out to be negative of the gross farm receipts. o This is primarily because of: Restrictive export policies: Minimum export prices . Export bans . Export duties Domestic marketing policies: . Essential Commodities Act . APMC and Others
. Subsidies: o Input subsidies on fertilisers, water, power, crop insurance and agri-credit have risen substantially. o This is the bad way of supporting agriculture o The marginal returns on subsidies are far below those from investments. o Expenditure incurred on rural infrastructure is many times more powerful in alleviating poverty than a similar expenditure made on input subsidies.
Negative impacts of Subsidies: .The rapid increase in input subsidies has squeezed public investments in agriculture. Input subsidies have caused large-scale inefficiencies in the agriculture system: . Fertiliser subsidies like on urea have led to the imbalanced use of soil nutrients. The subsidy on irrigation water has resulted in an inefficient use of scarce water. .Highly subsidised power has led to over-exploitation of groundwater. Subsidy on the interest rates on crop loans has diverted substantial amounts of agri-credit to non-agricultural use
The Way Forward: Irrigation: o Issues: Public irrigation is very expensive and involves long lags. Thee gap between the potential created and potential utilised has increased over time. o Solution: To give higher returns this leaky system must be fixed. It should be made more transparent. The gap between potential created and utilised must be bridged
. Policy Shift: o The present system of delivering subsidies through the pricing policy needs to be shifted to an income policy. o This could be well-targeted o The leakages can be minimised on the lines of JAM trinity o Like many OECD countries input subsidies at least must be given as DBT on a per hectare (ha) basis.