After half a century, India is under a major locust attack from
breeding grounds in Balochistan, Pakistan.
Other international tidings are also not favourable for Indian
In 2014, crude prices had hit rock bottom and the government
received a bonanza of a few lakh crore.
Circumstances have changed today: India’s finances are in a
perilous state and we face the spectre of a drought.
Highlighting the disputes
The escalation of the US-China trade dispute is pushing the world
towards a prolonged economic stagnation.
President Donald Trump is also engineering a conflict in the
strait of Hormuz to jack up crude prices.
In the aftermath of the imposition of duties on US agriculture
produce by China, there are fears that the US government will pressure India
to import US agriculture commodities like livestock feed, chicken and milk
products — and, the country will succumb to such pressure.
On the eastern front, the commerce ministry is all prepared to
sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will
commit the country to become a gateway for Asian agriculture imports. We are
also being sucked into a similar treaty with the EU.
Steps taken by the government so far
But now all these combine with a system that fails to value
climate change-related externalities. Besides, they also persist with the
GDP-led policy modelling. All this is literally killing us.
The government’s inflation-targeting priorities obviate all
possibilities of it passing all of the escalating costs (diesel, LPG, food)
to the consumers. But the axe must fall somewhere;
The complexities in MSP procurement and fertiliser prices will
compound the morass of stagnating food prices.
“PM Kisan” is a wonderful initiative of the government, but there
is apprehension that it may be funded by withdrawing resources from existing
agriculture initiatives and programmes.
Farmers have shown repeatedly that they are easily distracted from
livelihood issues. They must now be prepared for a precarious future.
Governments, notorious for rolling out policies that can’t be
implemented, generate truckloads of paperwork but are loathe to document
Till such time the system doesn’t record failure and establish
accountability, framing new policies would be like playing a game of dice.
For example, the policy on food parks has failed and private
investments in the agriculture value chain remain elusive. The bureaucracy,
having only dealt in food shortages, is clueless on how to respond to food
surpluses and fluctuations while farmers have been quick to respond to
market signals. This has created new problems, which lead to unprecedented
number of farmer agitations and suicides.
Industry associations and newspaper editorials have been offering
flawed market-oriented farm solutions. These only muddy the waters.
To improve farmer livelihoods, it’s absolutely essential to
quickly resolve issues of the animal husbandry sector.
Incidentally, 80 per cent of the stray cattle on the roads today
are Holstein, Jersey and basically crossbreeds.
A clear distinction can be made between these foreign breeds and
the pure desi.
Q.1) Which of the following is not the objective of National Water
Mission? (a) Increasing water use efficiency by 20 per cent
(b) Comprehensive water database in public domain
(c) Reducing river water pollution by 50% by 2022.
(d) Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas
Q.1) How India can ensure the delivery of agriculture programmes? What
are the major loopholes need to be addressed?