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Is agriculture a business? -Harish Damodaran

-The Indian Express Yes, except that farmers suffer rules other businessmen never encounter Agriculture is said to be India’s largest private-sector enterprise, engaging nearly 119 million farmers (“cultivators”) and another 144 million landless labourers, as per the 2011 Census. It is even considered the most respectable business, going by the oft-quoted slogan “uttam kheti, madhyam vyapar, kanishtha naukri (supreme is farming, mediocre is trade and most lowly is service)”. But the exalted...

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Panel proposes 70% reduction in royalty on GM cotton seeds -Sayantan Bera and Shreeja Sen

-Livemint.com The nine-member cotton seed price control committee has recommended a maximum sale price of Rs.800 for a 450g packet of Bollgard II Bt cotton seeds New Delhi: A government panel on genetically modified Bt cotton has recommended a steep reduction in royalty fees payable to technology companies, and lower seed prices. If accepted, the recommendations will benefit nearly 8 million cotton farmers in India, but may raise concerns about how India...

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Jats think they’re backward; there’s a reason -Harish Damodaran

-The Indian Express Agriculture doesn’t pay that much, land is no longer the source of power it once was, and the community has failed to keep up with a changing India. The Jats conform fully to the idea of a ‘dominant caste’, a term the eminent sociologist M N Srinivas used to refer to any community that is both numerically strong in a village or local area, as well as wields...

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Haryana, Punjab may cut Bt cotton sowing -Komal Amit Gera

-Business Standard The move comes after a joint action panel recommended use of traditional varieties as they were immune to Pest Attacks Chandigarh: Farmer suicides in Punjab and Haryana in the aftermath of extensive damage to the cotton crop in 2015-16 due to pest attack has led to a swing in official opinion against genetically modified (Bt) seeds. A Joint Action Committee was appointed by the two state governments on the causes and...

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NDA junks the ‘dumb peasant’ argument -Anil Padmanabhan

-Livemint.com Traditionally, public policy has tended to view Indian farmers as what is described in economic history as the “dumb peasant” Last week, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government launched a revamped crop insurance scheme. At first glance, the scheme, christened Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, looks mostly like a reworking of the risk cover already in place; actually, it is much more. Not only does it take a big step in de-risking...

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