Swaraj is the kisan’s birthright and he
should have it (Indian Express)
Mains Paper 5: Economy
Prelims level: Agriculture
Mains level: Economic growth and development related to agriculture
- One of the Narendra Modi government’s first decisions, in July
2014, was to bring potatoes and onions under the ECA’s purview, empowering
states to impose limits on stocks held by individual traders.
- Besides, restrictions on exports via fixing a minimum price below
which shipments couldn’t take place were clamped from time to time.
- In pulses, the government not only banned exports while allowing
imports at zero duty, but extended stockholding limits even to dal millers
and large retailers.
Highlighting the indicator for pricing system
- The best indicator of it is prices, with annual wholesale
inflation in 2017 and 2018 for both “food” (2.2 per cent and minus 0.3 per
cent respectively) and “non-food” agricultural articles (minus 1 per cent
and 1.9 per cent) averaging lower than the corresponding rates of 3.4 per
cent and 4.3 per cent for “all commodities”.
- Kisan Long March rallies in Mumbai and Delhi, “public opinion” is
geared towards understanding things from a farmer’s rather than the
- For an average family consuming five kg of sugar per month, a Rs
5/kg price increase hardly pinches.
- But for the cane farmer in Bijnor who has a hectare of land and
harvests 80 tonnes, that increase assuming 11 per cent sugar recovery and
the mill sharing three-fourths of the sale realisation would translate into
an extra income of Rs 33,000.
- The same logic applies to onions, potatoes or chana, where the
gains to individual producers who sell in tonnes/quintals far outweigh any
losses to consumers buying in kilos.
- Indian agriculture is today crying for investment in processing as
well as backend procurement, grading, warehousing, cold storage and
- That cannot happen if farmers and agri-businesses continue to
operate in an environment of uncertainty about the government’s next
“supply-side management” action.
- Nothing stops the government from building a buffer stock of any
“essential” commodity, whether for the public distribution system or for
market intervention operations.
- The government can procure, stock, and distribute grains in the
interest of consumers, so long as this does not infringe upon the commercial
freedom of farmers and agri-businesses.
- Better seeds, agronomic practices, crop protection chemicals,
machinery, and also rural roads, electricity, irrigation and communication
infrastructure have reduced the supply response time to just the next season
in most crops.
- The policy take-way is clear: Price matters more to the person who
sells in quintals than who buys in kilos.
- Swaraj is the kisan’s birthright and he should have it.
Q.1) India’s first floating elementary school was recently inaugurated in
which of the following states?
Q.1) Agrarian crisis is an opportunity, for the government that assumes office
after elections, to enact a law giving farmers the right to sell any quantity of
their produce to anybody, anywhere and at any time. Comment.