Bumper foodgrain output expected in 2016-17 but production during rabi may be lower vis-a-vis 2013-14
After facing intense criticisms from various sections of the society following its policy of demonetisation during November-December, 2016, the NDA government has finally something solid to cheer about.
Riding on the back of a normal monsoon, gross foodgrain production is likely to reach a record level of about 272.0 million tonnes in the crop year 2016-17.
As per the second advance estimates of foodgrain production, which has been released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on 15 February, 2017, the total foodgrain production in the crop year 2016-17 is not only expected to be higher than that in 2014-15 and 2015-16, it is also anticipated to surpass the previous record level of nearly 265.0 million tonnes of foodgrain output that was achieved in 2013-14.
Source: Second advance estimates of foodgrain production in
2016-17, released on 15 February, 2017, Ministry of Agriculture and
Farmers Welfare, please click here to access
Unemployment has risen sharply among SCs & STs in last 6 years
Amidst concerns over budgetary cuts in social sector spending, a recent statement from Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Planning reveals that unemployment rate has risen much sharper among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) vis-à-vis the overall population.
Replying to a starred question by Shri PL Punia regarding Human Development Index (HDI) of SCs and STs, the Minister of State for Planning said on 6 February, 2017 in the Rajya Sabha that the unemployment rates among SCs, STs and total population has increased from 3.2 percent to 5.0 percent, 2.6 percent to 4.4 percent and 3.8 percent to 5.0 percent, respectively, between July, 2011 and August, 2016 (see Chart-1). Please click here to access the entire reply from Rao Inderjit Singh to the starred Question No. *34 on 6 February, 2017.
It means that the unemployment rate among the SCs, STs and overall population has...
Acreage under rabi crops declined in 2016-17 as compared to 2013-14
As opposed to what has been said officially about the positive impact of demonetisation on rabi sowing, acreage actually declined in 2016-17 as compared to a normal year. Let us see why this has been so.
On New Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation post-demonetisation, among other things, said:
“...Friends in the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that the agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent compared to last year. Fertilizer offtake is up by 9 per cent. During this period, the Government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access to seeds, fertilisers and credit. Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers...”.
In short, the PM in his speech tried...
Mihir Shah Committee report recommends a paradigm shift in water management
Against the backdrop of drought that affected most states in the past 2 years, it is essential to take a look at a report on improving water governance in the country, which was submitted to the Ministry of Water Resources in July, 2016. That report, which was prepared by the Committee on Restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the chairpersonship of Dr. Mihir Shah, has mentioned that although around Rs. 4 lakh crore was invested in major and medium irrigation projects since Independence, vast quantity of water still do not reach the farmers and the marginalized.
The report entitled A 21st Century Institutional Architecture for India’s Water Reforms (please click here to access) says that the gap between irrigation potential created and the potential utilized is growing. At present, the irrigation potential created in the country is 113 million hectares, whereas the potential utilized...
Between 2014 & 2015, farm suicides rise by 2 percent
The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) election manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha election says that if elected to the Centre, it will then "(p)ut in place welfare measures for farmers above 60 years in age, small and marginal farmers and farm labours", among other things. Despite the formation of a BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre in 2014, the latest available data on farm suicides from the NCRB indicates a deepening of agrarian crisis and rural distress during the last 2 years.
The data from NCRB on land holding status of farmers who committed suicide in 2015 reveals that 27.4 percent and 45.2 percent of victims were marginal farmers and small farmers respectively. They together accounted for 72.6 percent (5,813 out of 8,007) of total farmer suicides. Out of the total 8,007 farmers/ cultivators who committed suicides in 2015, only 160 were large farmers (i.e. roughly 2...