IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 29th Dec

“Trust because you are willing to accept the risk, not because it’s safe or certain.” —Anonymous

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #289 :“Modernization of Indian agriculture in 2021 | UPSC 

Modernization of Indian agriculture in 2021 | UPSC

Ramesh Chand
Modernization of Indian agriculture in 2021 | UPSC

Ramesh Chand is Member, NITI Aayog.

      HEADLINES:

Reforms with the future and farming needs in mind

      CENTRAL THEME:

If the Farm Acts are implemented in the right spirit, they will usher in the transformation of the rural economy

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Agriculture

      MAINS QUESTION:

What are the major hurdles in the path of Mordernization of Indian Agriculture post Farm acts. Substantiate -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Major Issues
  • The sides to the debate
  • Basis of Reforms
  • Some of the criteria

      INTRODUCTION: 

MAJOR ISSUES

The major objections and fears relating to the new Farm Act are :

  • The Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) will be eventually closed
  • The Minimum Support Prices (MSP) will be stopped
  • Corporates will take over agriculture trade
  • Farmers’ land will be taken over by powerful corporates.

      BODY: 

THE SIDES TO THE DEBATE

  • IMAGINARY FEARS : Some experts and farmer leaders feel that these apprehensions and fears are imaginary, unrealistic and a part of deliberate narrative created to stop reforms in agriculture.

This will prevent India from modernising agriculture and becoming a global power in agriculture

  • MODERNISATION OF AGRICULTURE : Those who oppose these Acts have focused mainly on threats and adverse effects are also ignoring the reasons for changing the regulatory system of agriculture.

BASIS FOR REFORMS

  • FARMERS NET INCOME : The gap between the agri-income of a farmer and that of a non-agriculture worker increased from ₹25,398 in 1993–94 to ₹1.42 lakh in 2011-12.

There is widespread feeling of agrarian distress.

  • DEMAND AND SHORTFALLS : Aggregate food demand has fallen short of domestic production necessitating the export of a large quantity to prevent domestic prices from falling very low.
  • OUR GRANARIES ARE FILLED : We are already sitting on excess stock of 60 lakh tons of sugar and nearly 72 million tons of extra buffer stock of wheat and rice which is causing a huge drain on fiscal resources.
  • EXPORT QUALITY : India’s agri-exports are getting difficult to push, imports are turning attractive as domestic prices are turning much higher than international prices.

APPREHENSIONS

  • JOB SEEKER : Rural youth including farmers’ children are looking for jobs outside agriculture and there is a serious problem of unemployment in the countryside.
  • MARKET FAILURES : There are numerous instances of market failure to the detriment of producers and consumers.This is turning farmers to look at the centre for remunerative prices through MSP .

Indian agriculture production and the market are not moving to the next stage of development.

  • SUBSIDIES AND SUPPORT : The growth rate in agriculture is driven by heavy support through various kinds of subsidies and output price support.
  • NET REVENUE FROM AGRICULTURE : Net revenue receipt of the Central government is below 9% of GDP.

There is also a need to understand that the APMC has nothing to do with payment of the MSP.

  • MSP SYSTEM : Crops other than paddy, wheat and cotton are selling at prices below the MSP in the APMC mandis of Punjab on an almost regular basis.
  • POLICY REFORMS ARE NEEDED : The necessary and sufficient conditions for the MSP are procurement by the state, with or without the APMC.

Experience shows that even after fruits and vegetables were de-notified from the APMC, they continued to arrive at APMC mandis in large quantities while farmers got additional options 

  • TAX COLLECTIONS : The threat to the APMC comes from the action of States to use these mandis for extra revenue generation.

SOME OF THE CRITERIA

  • PAN CARD : Another provision of the New Trading Act under attack is the simple requirement of a PAN card for a trader.
  • REGISTRATION : Protesting farmers favour stringent criteria and registration for traders in a trade area.

The spirit of the new law to facilitate farmers and rural youth to become agribusiness entrepreneurs will be lost

  • OPPRESSION : If a stringent criteria such as bank guarantee, etc. are included in the registration of traders then agriculture trade will remain in the hands of the trading class .

      IASbhai Windup: 

ON CONTRACT FARMING

  • PRIVATISATION : The experiences of contract farming which is already going on in various pockets in India show the critics and protesting farmers are mixing contract farming with corporate farming.
  • DIVERSITY : The new Act intends to insulate interested farmers (especially small farmers), against market and price risks so they can go in for the cultivation of high-value crops without worrying about the market and low prices in the harvest season.

The Act will promote diversification, quality production for premium price, export and direct sale of produce, with desired attributes to interested consumers

  • LAND AGREEMENTS : It prohibits the farming agreement to include the transfer, sale, lease, mortgage of the land or premises of the farmer.
  • INVESTMENT : It will also bring new capital and knowledge into agriculture and pave the way for farmers’ participation in the value chain.

If they are implemented in the right spirit, they will take Indian agriculture to new heights and usher in the transformation of the rural economy.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Modernization of Indian agriculture in 2021 | UPSC 

 

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