Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 8]

  • IASbaba
  • September 8, 2015
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Think and Learn-2015, Think Learn & Perform (TLP) - 2015, TLP Mains 2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 8]


Day 8 – Agricultural Issues – GS 3

Q.1) Urijit Patel’s Committee had recommended for the removal of administered prices and subsidies in agriculture. What are the different forms of farm subsidies in India and what is their justification?

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Indushree

Ans) Farm subsidies in India have twin objectives of achieving socio economic equality and modernising agriculture. They can be categorised as follows.

Input subsidy:

Agricultural yield in India is low when compared to global standards. The bridging of yield gap needs quality seeds, improved soil quality, and timely availability of water and irrigation facilities. Hence, Government subsidises seeds, fertilizers, water and power.

Administered Prices:

The seasonal nature of agriculture makes it vulnerable to demand-supply variations.

Government uses minimum support prices to assure income to producers and to provide food security to poor.

Credit subsidy:

Technologies like farm mechanisation, micro irrigation are crucial for efficient utilisation of inputs and timely completion of activities. Being capital intensive, they are assisted by state through interest subvention schemes.

Kisan credit cards and credits against Negotiable warehouse receipts are aimed at avoiding distress sale by producers.

Insurance subsidy:

Indian agriculture is gamble with monsoons. Hence government promotes crop insurance through schemes like MNAIS.

Infrastructure subsidy:

development of irrigation projects, roads and storage facility are necessary for timely delivery of services and better utilisation of land and labour.

Instead of doing away with administered prices and subsidies as recommended by Urijit Patel Committee, Government has to focus on rationalising the subsidy regime and allocating the resources to research institutes like ICAR and Agricultural Universities for development of technology which suits the local needs.

Q.2) How is the multi-brand FDI relevant from food-processing point of view? Critically comment.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Sepoy No. 1446

Ans) Introduction of Multi-brand FDI in retail has been a topic of debate in India. The term “retail” is closely related to food processing. Majority of Indians buy agro-processed products like packaged milk, pickles, vegetables, fruits, jam, breads etc from local vendors and kirana shops. Loss of employment to such people remains central to the given debate.

Other concerns of multi-brand FDI are: monopolistic market tendencies, higher prices in future, unfavorable competition for small and medium enterprises etc.

However, FDI is needed in this sector for following reasons:

1. The 42 mega-food park (MFPs) are based on PPP financing. FDI will be an essential component of it.

2. FDI will bring technology and investment in front and back end infrastructure like cold storage,reefer vans and processing centers which will significantly reduce the post harvest losses

3. Multiple actors will provide more options to the customers. This in a way will actually decrease the prices.

4. All these activities will also provide jobs to many.Moreover it will also bring skilled employment in food-processing industry.This can be utilized under Skill India programme.

Food processing is a priority sector industry under National manufacturing policy. Given its importance government is following a public-partnership approach to develop the sector. There are some concerns with this model as discussed above. Few of them have already been resolved. Further a stringent regulatory framework will ensure compliance to safety norms and control of monopolistic tendencies. This should be the way forward for this sector.

Q.3)What are the roles of skill development, training and entrepreneurship for both post-harvest management and food processing industry? Examine.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Rahul Agarwal

Ans) Post harvest management are the set of activities from the harvest of crops to their palcement for marketing to final consumers eg sorting and grading, cold stroages, cold chain etc. On the othe rhand food processing means any activity to boost the value of food product. This may be to increase shelf life like pickles, enhancing taste like pulpy juices or ease of cooking like ready made batters

In face of wastage of almost 25% of food products in transit to markets and lowering incomes from farm produce, it is imperative to boost the post harvest management and food processing activities.For this, skill development, training and entrepreneurship plays a key role.

Role of skill Development:

Most of the workers in these two sectors have shifted from the agricultural sector. Thus, they lack the basic skiils for effective harvest management and food processing. There are institutes like NIFTEM to augment the skills of such people

Role of Training:

Training is necessary for capability building of people involved in these indusrites. Since both harvest management and food processing industries use technologies like controlled enthronement management, irradiation technologies etc, these skills can only be inculcated by effective training

Role of developing entrepreneurship:

Due to heavy pressure on land in agriculture, harvest management and food processing present themselves as ideal sectors for shifting surplus labour from agriculture. Government should ensure proper policy framework, access to credit, incubation support for enabling the entrepreneurial ventures in these sectors.

Q.4) Although India is the second largest producer of food in the world, but its share in world’s expots is very low despite its inherent strength in tea, spices and rice. Why?

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Harshit Ladva

Ans) India has made significant progress in achieving food security after green revolution but Indian Food exports are far from being significant due to following reasons –

1) Domestic Demand : India’s first priority is meeting domestic demands and hence exports are given second priority.

2) Packaging and Processing – India’s sub-standard packaging industry and few – scattered processing industries restricts “Value-added” food exports. Ex – Banana and other fruits are exported to Bangladesh and Myanmar from Assam & Arunachal Pradesh but re-enter in India as canned foods.

3) Less Productivity of Farm-lands – Indian farms are less productive comparatively due to fragmented holding , rain-fed irrigation , low mechanisation and pest infestation. This limits farm produces.

4) Policy measures – Gov’s policy to increase export duties to combat domestic food inflation. eg :- hike in export duties for Onion and Pulses.

5) Prejudicial Lobbying by EU and Western Countries – To support their local peasants , developed countries sometimes violates WTO trade norms and FTAs and restricts Indian imports under false pretences. Eg:- Mango ban by EU.

6) Inherent quality and Branding – India has failed to achieve high nutrient content and branding of it products. Eg – Japanese green tea v/s Indian tea.

7) Untapped potential of Horticulture and Pisciculture : India’s share of horticulture exports is minimal and pisciculture caters to local demand only.

This can be remedied by structural and Infrastructural reforms.

Q.5) Is agriculture the backbone of the Indian economy? Critically examine.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Annapurna Garg

Ans) Agriculture, as an economic activity holds an immense value for the Indian economy. This is because of followng reasons:

1. It supports about 55 to 60 percent of population. It even absorbs unskilled labour.

2. Village economy revolves about Agriculture. For example, the year in which agriculture productivity is low, the sales of motorbikes in rural areas gets badly hit.

3. Food security comes from robust agriculture. For example, cereal production in India is sufficient and milk production is also quite good.

4. Food processing is a related industry which can revolutionise the Indian economy.

5. Agriculture, being a primary industry supports many secondary industries, such as cotton, jute, sugar mills etc.

However, there are certain limitations of agriculture in India:

1. It contributes only 14 pecent to GDP

2. It is highly prone to seasonal risks and hence contribute to temporal instability

3. It alone doesn’t guarantee food security.

4. Poverty of farmers

Thus, to take Indian economy on a higher path of growth trajectory, followng steps need to be taken:

1. It should be made climate resilient by using technologies such as drip irrigation, drought resistnant crops and diversification of crops

2. Flaws in MSP Poilcy need correction.

3. All agricultural land need to be brought under irrigation.

4. APMC laws need to be implemented in amended form, and national market should be established as laid down in the budget.

5. Moreover, farmer education, and agriculture research needs to be given a boost.

Thus, right kind of support to agriculture can work wonders to Indian economy and would lift many above the poor indicators of financial, social and human conditions.

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