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

Bhupat M DesaiSubscribe to Bhupat M Desai

Food Subsidy

This paper counters negative advocacy about the food subsidy, the public distribution system, and farm price supports. It argues that the public food supply chain for market intervention has a favourable impact on the cost-benefit ratio, poverty reduction, calorie consumption by the poor and productivity-led agricultural growth. The paper proposes reforms for the six pillars of the public food supply chain. These include: an alternative poverty line concept that is linked to the minimum "norms" for calorie intake enabling a reduction of the exclusion and inclusion errors, procurement just for the PDS and buffer stocks to be purchased at a farm price that is fully cost-based, fair price shops with fixed and adequate time of operations, "indent" of the demand, doorstep delivery, and so on.

Agricultural Policy Strategy, Instruments and Implementation: A Review and the Road Ahead

For 40 years, India's agricultural growth rate has averaged less than one-third of the government's modest target of 4%. The sector's performance has been about the same before and after the economic reforms in the early 1990s. The reforms that brought a dramatic acceleration of growth in urban sectors have essentially had no effect on agriculture. Slow agricultural growth has had ill-effects on food security, food price inflation and poverty reduction because of the inadequate level and composition of public expenditure. Agricultural education, research, extension and a wide range of ancillary public institutions have also suffered. Agricultural growth always demands massive public goods provision and that in turn requires a radical reorientation of central, state and district government activities. This paper advocates a new integrated, technology-led strategy to pull out of, what looks like, a vicious circle that agriculture is now caught in.

Investment Credit to Agriculture

This article examines of the report of the Reserve Bank of India's expert group on investment credit to agriculture. The expert group seems to have overlooked the "complementarity" of public expenditure on the capital and revenue accounts, emphasising only public capital expenditure and institutional investment credit to farmers.

Drought Impact and Vision for Proofing

There is an urgent need to fine-tune drought relief policies, besides making their implementation time-efficient, depoliticised and accountable. Improving the government's total expenditure on agricultural programmes will not only hold up the sector's performance in the event of a monsoon failure, but will also boost its contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Evading the Dilemmas

Development and Deprivation in Gujarat: In Honour of Jan Breman edited by Ghanshyam Shah, Mario Rutten and Hein Streefkerk; Sage Publications, New Delhi, Thousand Oaks and London, 2002; pp 345, Rs 580.

Terms of Trade, Trade and Technical Change

Neither barter terms of trade nor trade liberalisation can be alternatives to technical change for domestic agricultural growth. What is needed is an integrated farming system approach, which requires paradigm shifts in government and private expenditure on R and D in agriculture. Broad-based technical change in agriculture will make it internationally competitive, and also extend the fruits of this change to those who cannot on their own invest in it.

Raising Agricultural Productivity in Gujarat

Agricultural production and productivity have experienced a declining trend in Gujarat. A workshop on this subject in Ahmedabad last year yielded recommendations on specific themes with the policy paradigm shifts required for each of them.

Policy Strategy and Instruments for Alleviating Rural Poverty

N V Namboodiri The emphasis in government policy on target-group specific and social sector related government expenditure for poverty alleviation programmes and neglet of government expenditure for agricultural growth together with an ad hoc policy approach to farm input subsidies and interest rates for rural credit in addition to the misdirected policy of relying on relative farm prices as an engine of agricultural growth are disconcerting developments as agricultural growth and poverty alleviation are perfectly compatible objectives. Against this background this paper analyses the prerequisites of alleviation of absolute rural poverty with a view to identifying a strategy and policy priorities for poverty alleviation.

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