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

Articles by Sukhpal SinghSubscribe to Sukhpal Singh

Commission Agent System

Responding to the critique of their article on the commission agent system in Punjab, the authors highlight the perils of private solutions to agrarian problems. They propose an enhanced role of the public sector in obliterating the exploitative stronghold of arthiya system in order to protect the interests of farmers and address the problems of Punjab's agrarian economy.

Arthiyas in Punjab's APMC Mandis

A critique of "Commission Agent System: Significance in Contemporary Agricultural Economy of Punjab" by Sukhpal Singh and Shruti Bhogal (EPW, 7 November 2015).

Commission Agent System

Despite favourable policy measures, growth of financial institutions and public interventions in the marketing of agricultural produce, the structure of Punjab's agricultural economy makes farmers dependent on commission agents. These agents trap the farmers in a vicious circle of indebtedness. Based on a field survey, this study locates the commission agent system in Punjab's agriculture set-up and recommends reframing it in order to extricate farmers from the clutches of these agents.

Economic Development in Punjab

Punjab's Economic Development in the Era of Globalisation edited by Inderjeet Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Lakhwinder Singh, Delhi: LG Publishers, 2014; pp 383, Rs 1,035.

GM Crops and Global Agri Trade

The cultivation of geneticallymodified crops, especially food crops, is not just a domestic issue; it has an impact on global food trade as well.

Punjab's Small Peasantry

The small peasantry in agriculturally advanced Punjab faces a severe economic crisis. Though the total workforce has increased over time, the proportion engaged in agriculture has been falling and the number of marginal and small holdings has been declining. The farm surpluses of indebted farmers are very low, and 14% of marginal and 9% of small farmers are effectively bankrupt. Low profitability has prompted many small farmers to leave agriculture and 28% of them have entered the labour market. More pressingly, a significant number have preferred to take their own lives.

Surjit Singh: A Committed Development Economist

Rooted in development theory and grass-roots realities, Surjit Singh's understanding of development economics was holistic. It also aid reat attention to the plight of the marginalised. A warm and genuine person, he lived a humble life, and his agenda always had the deprived at the top.

Policy for Punjab's Agriculture

Punjab's new agriculture policy based on a report prepared by the Committee for Formulation of Agriculture Policy for Punjab focuses on yield enhancement and market orientation instead of demand-driven agriculture. While the report talks about the need for diversification, it does not bother to analyse the failure of earlier policies. The report is on the whole short on analysis and long on recommendations.

New Markets for Smallholders in India

The gradual withdrawal of the state from agricultural markets and the emphasis on the role of the private sector has meant the entry of corporate and multinational agencies through the opening up of procurement, wholesale trade and retailing. This paper examines the new corporate interface with primary producers in a small farmer-dominated economy. It contextualises the issue from the perspective of smallholders. It examines contract farming arrangements to show the exclusion of small producers from the retail chain; the performance of modern (supermarket) food retail chains in India and their spread and penetration into, or interface with, farmers; policy and regulatory issues; and some of the mechanisms and institutional innovations for more inclusive agricultural marketing systems.

Institutional and Policy Aspects of Punjab Agriculture: A Smallholder Perspective

Punjab's agricultural sector and allied activities are now in a crisis. This paper examines the role of policy and institutions in perpetuating or tackling it. It looks at the major initiatives taken by various organs of the state in the absence of any other major institutional alternatives and analyses their class and social biases from a smallholder perspective. It also discusses new mechanisms such as contract farming, corporate farming and policies granting agricultural incentives and subsidies before putting forward suggestions to benefit smallholders and ensure the sustainability of the farm sector.

FDI in Retail: Misplaced Expectations and Half-truths

The central government claims that allowing foreign direct investment into India's retail sector will benefit small farmers, expand employment and lower food inflation. What has been the experience in India with organised retail so far and what has been the global experience with FDI?

Farmers' Suicides in Punjab: A Census Survey of the Two Most Affected Districts

This is a report on the first-ever census survey conducted on suicides by farmers in the two most affected districts of Punjab, Sangrur and Bhatinda. It tries to arrive at the number of farmer suicides, the reasons (whether they were caused by economic distress alone or they were due to the interplay of the forces of economic distress, social conflict, cultural backwardness and lack of community/state support) and also the present economic status of the families of the victims.

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