ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Production Benefits from Large-Scale-Canal Irrigation

This paper aims to demonstrate how National Accounts Statistics compiled by the CSO can be tapped by researchers to obtain nationwide insights into costs and returns aspects of irrigation activity, especially public canal irrigation. Two noteworthy research results are: (1) income benefits from canal waters prima facie were more than the supply cost of such waters throughout the period 1980-81 to 1992-93 and (2) the supply cost of canal irrigation tended to rise much faster than the income benefits, probably because hidden costs of corruption and sheer inefficiencies in canal development and administration soared in the above period of general erosion in ethics and public accountability.

Large-Scale Canal Irrigation-How Cost Effective

How Cost Effective? B D Dhawan Canal irrigation is a costly proposition, more so when provided under government aegis because of grave inefficiencies in project implementation and canal operation. To irrigate one crop hectare with canal water it costs the nation Rs 2,277 infixed and variable expenses in 1992-93. Barely 5 per cent of this cost was recovered through irrigation fees levied on farmers, What is more disturbing is that, net of price inflation, marginal cost of canal irrigation tended to rise by 8 per cent per annum in recent years. Is this huge cost rise (in real terms) a genuine phenomenon, or merely indicative of large-scale corruption in irrigation department? With marginal cost of irrigation increasing phenomenally, would canal irrigation remain an economically viable proposition at all?

Public Investment in Indian Agriculture-Trends and Determinants

Public Investment in Indian Agriculture Trends and Determinants B D Dhawan S S Yadav The determinants of private investments are fairly well identified in a behaviouristic frame in investment literature. The same, however, cannot he affirmed about public investments which have been usually treated as exogenous variables by scholars in their macro-modelling of the Indian economy. This study is an exploratory effort in establishing a functional relationship for public capital formation in Indian agriculture.

Price and Non-Price Factors in Agricultural Investments

Price and Non-Price Factors in Agricultural Investments B D Dhawan V N MISRA AND PETER B HAZELL {EPW, October 26,1996) have responded to my observations (EPW, June 22, 1996) on their paper (EPW, March 30, 1996). Some of their clarifications are welcome. Yet, a response to their rejoinder would be in order, affording me an opportunity to clarify my position where I have been misunderstood. My observations essentially touched on the three following issues:

Getting More Out of Irrigation

community" and "the language became a barrier". This was never true. It is not true even now. That theatre would cater to "a single community" (in the main) is obvious. It does so ail over the world. But language becoming a barrier is simply not right, at least not so far. But then that's scarcely the issue. The question is whether plays like 'Gidhade' or 'Mahanirvan' or 'Uddhwasta Dharmshala' provided a "compelling thrust towards modern Indian" theatre, to borrow Dalmia's words on modern Indian art.

Price and Non-Price Factors in Agricultural Investments

Price and Non-Price Factors in Agricultural Investments B D Dhawan THE observations which follow arise out of a critical reading of V N Misra and Peter B R Hazell's paper Terms of Trade, Rural Poverty, Technology and Investment: The Indian Experience 1952-53 to 1990-91' (EPW, March 30). My major concern is with their following conclusion: ... the empirical evidence for the entire period of three decades clearly shows that the terms of trade and technology have been responsible for increasing the private investment in agriculture. It seems during the late 1980s the increase in private investment has not only helped in raising production and farmers' incomes but also improved the efficiency of investment made in agriculture despite unfavourable terms of trade (p A-11). Admittedly, Misra and Hazell (MH hereafter) have reckoned with both price and non-price factors in agricultural growth process, especially the interactive role of terms of trade with H Y V technology variable. But in their zeal to underscore the role of price factor which has been underplayed in earlier research writings they have un- warrantedly down played the role of three following non-price instruments in private capital formation in agriculture: (1) public investments in agricultural sector (major, medium and minor irrigation works; soil and water conservation works, agricultural research, etc); (2) public investments for agriculture development but outside the agriculture sector (rural electrification, rural roads, fertiliser and pesticide industries, etc); and (3) institutional credit through commercial and co-operative financial institutions.

Private Fixed Capital Formation in Agriculture-Some Aspects of Indian Farmers Investment Behaviour

Contrary trends in public and private components affixed capital formation in agriculture sector have been construed in some quarters as lack of complementarity between the two investment components of agricultural capital formation. Such complementarity is believed to have existed in the planning period. This article raises some pertinent questions on the issue on the basis of an inquiry into the Indian farmers' investment behaviour through an analysis of survey data on the Indian farmers' total capital expenditure and the share affixed capital formation m farm business in such expenditure.

Magnitude of Groundwater Exploitation

B D Dhawan Official statistics indicate a rather confusing picture of groundwater exploitation in India. As per the irrigated area figures of the Planning Commission, development of groundwater irrigation has reached disturbing levels in many states, notably UP. Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. But the less known volumetric statistics in respect of groundwater irrigation compiled at the behest of the Central Groundwater Board are rather reassuring. Barring a dozen districts of the West Indo-Gangetic plains, no state as a whole appears to have reached the danger mark of groundwater over-exploitation. The reality is somewhere between these extremes, more likely nearer to the Board's than the Commission's assessment.

Reclamation of Degraded Lands within

Canal Commands B D Dhawan Expenditures on preventive measures tend to fall gravely short of desired levels, more so in poor economies with low savings and income levels. In contrast, remedial measures get a markedly better deal In the context of land degradation from canal waters the question of investments in drainage, the widely-acclaimed preventive remedy for averting waterlogging and salinity and investments in remedial measures for reclamation of such degraded lands need to be examined.

Water Development and Management

to emulate his example and remain my essential modest self, not overawed by the pomp and panoply of residence in Rashtrapati Bhawan''. However, numerous passages in the narrative reflect the vainglory of Lord Curzon rather than the simplicity of Rajen Babu or Rajaji. RV was continually overawed by the "sheer majesty of Rashtrapati Bhawan, its massive structure, extraordinarily high ceilings and long winding corridors'' So was he by the bodyguards "all six feel and over" with their "blue-and-gold turbans and white long coats with gold girdles" mounted on "fine bay horses no less distinctive than their riders". He was thrilled by the 'gleaming black six-door limousine" in which the president rides to parliament where, on arrival, the usher announces the ''Mahamahim Rashtrapatiji" in "stentorian tones". Nor should one miss the 640 kg silver chair in the Ashoka Hall seated on which the president receives the credentials of ambassadors. There is an enormous amount of such trivia wrapped in tinsel throughout the book.

Ground Water Depletion in Punjab

While the cultivation of paddy in Punjab (and Haryana) does need some curbing, the extreme forebodings of either total ground water exhaustion in Punjab or of the state turning into a desert if paddy growing is not curbed forthwith are unwarranted.

Reassessment of Irrigation Potential

Reassessment of Irrigation Potential B D Dhawan THAT there was something amiss with our statistics of irrigation potential, developed over the plans through public, private and institutional investments, arose time and again during the course of innumerable probings by academic persons into the problem of underutilisation of irrigation capacity in India. Misgivings about their being on the high side were reinforced whenever the reported estimates of irrigation potential utilised were compared by some scholars with data from alternative sources. For example, these estimates have tended to exceed the levels based on our agricultural land records. At the end of the Sixth Five- Ycar Plan (i e, 1984-85), the national plan figure of gross irrigated area was placed at 60.58 mha, almost 6 mha more than the corresponding figure of 54.67 mha as per the compilation from land utilisation records. More up-to-date comparison is not possible because data from land record sources are available with a lag of 4-5 year period. In viewof this lag planners are forced to rely on data in respect of plan achievements (in respect of irrigation potential created and utilised) as per the reports of the states which in turn, go by the claims made in this regard by their irrigation departments manned mostly by engineers.


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