Agriculture

Free power for farmers

5th June – Free power for farmers

Time to discontinue free power for farmers The Union Government is attempting to do away with the much-abused scheme of free power for farmers by prescribing that it should be replaced with the direct benefits transfer (DBT) as a condition to allow States to increase their borrowing limit. What is planned? For the first time …

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Agriculture Reforms

19th May – Agriculture Reforms

Reforms and Agriculture With mandi closures and supply chain disruptions causing havoc in agricultural marketing, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on some of the critical infrastructure gaps and long-pending governance issues that plague the farm sector. The third tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan listed measures of agriculture reforms to deal with those …

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Jal Shakti

2nd May – Jal Shakti

Jal Shakti One of the highlights of Government formation for a second time under the prime ministership of Narendra Modi was the creation of a new Jal Shakti Ministry. The new ministry has been mandated to synergise all activities that deal with this most critical natural resource, ranging from drinking water to irrigation to maintaining …

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SAMRUDHI

20th March – SAMRUDHI

SAMRUDHI – Odisha’s agricultural policy In January, the Odisha government released its Agriculture policy (SAMRUDHI), 2020, which focuses on profitability for farmers. Background – The first agriculture policy in Odisha was formulated in 1996, which conferred the status of industry to agriculture. Subsequent versions of agriculture policies were released in 2008 and 2013 with an …

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Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

29th February – Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

The package of measures announced by the government to revamp its flagship crop insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), may do more harm than good to this vital risk-hedging mechanism for farmers. Changes introduced – Allocation of business to Insurance Companies to be done for three years (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS). Flexibility to States/UTs …

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21st February – Pesticides Management Bill, 2020

The Pesticides Management Bill, 2020, approved by the Cabinet for introduction in Parliament, is unlikely to live up to the expectations of stakeholders in the agro-chemicals sector despite having been drafted after prolonged deliberations over 12 years, and inputs from the parliamentary standing committee. Need for legislation – The need for putting in place an …

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3rd February – Thinking beyond farm sops

The first half of the year 2019 saw the launch of a grand farm sop in the form of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) with a record allocation of Rs 75,000 crores. Despite such populist schemes, the agriculture sector remains woeful. What must be done to bring it back on track? Let us …

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14th December – Not many lessons learnt from water planning failures

Following the massive water crisis across India in the summer of 2019, the Central government hurriedly launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign to be carried out in two phases, across the 255 districts having critical and over-exploited groundwater levels. It aims to make water conservation a ‘people’s movement’ through …

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10th December – Agri reform : From production to profitability

The idea of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022, when the country completes 75 years of its independence, was shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2016. Despite zealous efforts made by government agencies toward fulfilment of this goal, the state of farmers and agriculture has shown little or no improvement. We must look for …

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7th December – A potential seedbed for private profits

After passing through at least two versions, Seeds Bill 2019 is now under Parliament’s consideration. The earlier versions of the Bill, in 2004 and 2010, had generated heated debates. The present version promises to be no different. International Conventions – In 1994, India signed the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In …

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