[Editorial Analysis] For farms and farmers: on launching of Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana
Mains level: Highlights of the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana

Context:

• The Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana launched by Chhattisgarh last week aims to supplement the income of the State’s 18 lakh rice, maize and sugarcane farmers by ₹10,000 to ₹13,000 per acre, through direct cash transfers.

• Besides the Centre’s PM-KISAN scheme that provides ₹6,000 to farm families owning less than five acres of land, Telangana, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have similar cash transfer programmes for farmers.

Minimum Support Price:

• For balancing the interests of the consumer and the farmer, India has an extensive Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime which works in combination with the PDS.

• But the efficiency of neither MSP procurements nor the PDS is uniform across the country.

• The Centre says it fixes MSPs at 1.5 times the cost of production for farmers, but this calculation is not free of controversy.

• Last year, several States including Chhattisgarh and BJP-ruled U.P. and Haryana questioned the Centre’s MSP calculations.

• Though food is a universal necessity, those who produce it languish at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

• These income support schemes target landowners, and bypass tenants and labourers.

Chhattisgarh example:

• In Chhattisgarh, there is preliminary evidence that tenants managed better rates from owners last year after the government gave incentives over and above MSPs to farmers.

• The State is now designing a cash transfer scheme for landless labourers, according to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

• But these interventions are only palliative and cannot address the underlying problem, which is the non-remunerative nature of farming.

Market-Driven Approach:

• A more market-driven approach has often been proposed as the solution, and the agriculture-related components in the Centre’s response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic appear to toe that line.

• However, many previous arguments about the agriculture economy have been rendered questionable by the pandemic.

• The food supply chain crisis in the U.S. is instructive. Considered supremely efficient, it ended up with wasted produce and unmet demand as the pandemic erupted.

• India’s agricultural management must take into account such fresh learning from the pandemic, and vulnerabilities arising out of supply chain-dependent food security.

Way forward:

• For now, the Centre must announce the MSPs for the current season at the earliest — late announcements have added to the uncertainties for the farmers in recent years.

• The creation of a buoyant agriculture sector will take much more, and those efforts must be made on a war-footing. Income support serves a purpose, but the farm sector needs a lot more.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the 61st Cavalry, consider the following statements:

1. It is the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world.

2. The 61st Cavalry was raised in 1953 after amalgamating the horse-mounted cavalry units of the erstwhile princely states of British India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Income support serves a purpose, but the farm sector needs a lot more. Comment

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