THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 14 MAY 2019 (UP holds huge potential in agriculture it needs right leadership to forge forward-looking path (Indian Express))

UP holds huge potential in agriculture it needs right leadership to forge forward-looking path (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Not Much
Mains level: Agricultural growth in Indian states


  •  The whole of northern UP practically from Upper Doab, Rohilkhand, Terai and the Awadh region just above Lucknow, to Kushinagar grows sugarcane. T
  •  The state has 120-odd operational sugar mills with cane crushing capacity aggregating over 7, 80,000 tonnes per day, nearly half of it established in the last 15 years.
  •  Given that the country today is producing too much sugar and, simultaneously, importing the bulk of its oil requirements.
  •  The Narendra Modi government’s National Biofuels Policy permits such direct conversion, as opposed to making ethanol only from the residual molasses after production of sugar.
  •  It has also targeted 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2030, against an actual all-India average of 4.2 per cent for 2017-18 (December-November) and a likely 7.2 per cent this year.

Significant improvement

  •  UP has already overtaken Maharashtra as India’s top sugar producer.

  •  The next goal should be to transform the state’s ganna belt into an ethanol powerhouse. Give mills the choice whether to crystallise the juice from their cane into sugar, or ferment it straight into alcohol for potable, industrial and fuel blending purposes.

  •  At current sugar prices, they would rather produce more ethanol, making it also easier to clear outstanding dues to cane growers (Rs 10,500 crore-plus in UP).

  •  It would further help if all taxes on ethanol used for fuel blending are removed; the government’s revenue interests can be protected by reserving a certain percentage of mills’ alcohol output for potable liquor.

  •  Similar innovative thinking is necessary for UP’s potato belt, covering the Middle and Lower Doab regions from Mathura to Kanpur, and even districts such as Allahabad, Jaunpur and Barabanki.

  •  Like in ganna, there is an existing infrastructure for aloo in the form of cold stores. Agra, Hathras, Aligarh and Firozabad together have some 780 cold stores with a combined 65 lakh tonne space, again mostly created after 2000.

Cluster based approach needed

  •  A cluster-based approach to attract agro-processing investments can also be adopted for Bundelkhand, a major pulses bowl.
  •  Production of rabi pulses in this parched region has received an added boost through farm ponds that can store rainwater accumulated during the monsoon season, and, use it to provide up to two protective irrigations, just enough for the winter chana (chickpea), matar (green peas) and masur (lentil) crops.
  •  In the last three years, more than 10,000 such ponds have been built in the seven Bundelkhand districts by farmers themselves, with the UP government subsidising 50 per cent of the cost. The results are clearly showing on the ground.
  •  The logical next step should be to ensure remunerative prices through government procurement and incentives for setting up dal mills and downstream processing units.
  •  Such interventions are likely to work better when they are region and crop-specific.
  •  Another industry, whose worth hasn’t been appreciated, especially by the present ruling dispensation, is bovine meat.
  •  UP has 39 registered abattoirs that account for three-fourths of India’s annual $4 billion buffalo meat exports.
  •  Meat apart, a major byproduct of these modern plants, which have all come up in the last two decades, has been the increased availability of quality hide that is freshly flayed, fleshed, salted and folded for supply to tanneries.
  •  The abattoirs sell other byproducts as well tallow (fat) to soap and lubricant units, bones to manufacturers of gelatin used in drug capsules, etc.
  •  Animal tallow is, incidentally, also identified as a raw material for bio-diesel production in the National Biofuels Policy!

Way forward

  •  However, forget recognising the potential of an industry that provides farmers a market for their spent buffaloes enabling them to invest in new milk-yielding animals and making dairying viable the Yogi Adityanath administration in UP has embarked on a path of destruction.
  •  What began as a crackdown on so-called illegal slaughterhouses has extended to forced closure of tanneries in Kanpur, ostensibly for the ardh kumbh mela from January 15 to March 4.
  •  The mela is over, but the tanneries are yet to reopen.
  •  We have a situation now of abattoirs in Aligarh and Unnao holding huge unsold stocks of raw hide, even as Agra’s shoemakers have switched to synthetic leather (basically polyurethane foam-coated fabric) imported from China.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which of the following conditions should be satisfied by religious denominations to enjoy the freedom to manage religious affairs under the Part III of the Indian Constitution?
1. It should be a collection of individuals who have a system of beliefs.
2. It should have a common organization.
3. It should be designated by a distinctive name.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D
Mains Questions:
Q.1) Discuss the significance of the Cluster based approach in UP agricultural region.


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