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

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Crop Insurance in India

The National Agricultural Insurance Scheme is vital for providing insurance cover to farmers, across regions, across seasons and across crops. This paper comprehensively reviews the NAIS and suggests changes to make it more effective. The paper is based on a detailed analysis of exhaustive data for 11 crop seasons, covering the rabi season of 1999-2000 onwards up to the same in 2004-05. Field investigations were also conducted in Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to assess the response of farmers, bankers and other stakeholders. The authors also rely on discussions with knowledgeable persons like government functionaries from the department of agriculture, bankers, academicians and farmer representatives in Nagpur, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Agrarian Distress: Strategies to Protect Vulnerable Sections

Present policies and programmes neither protect a sizeable section of the agricultural population from natural and market-induced uncertainities nor enable them to contribute meaningfully to overall growth of the economy. It is possible, however, to turn the tide by enhancing investment to strengthen the resource base of agriculture, devising suitable instruments to compensate small and marginal producers for losses from natural calamities, designing organisational interventions to impart strength to their economy, lightening the interest burden from non-formal sources of credit, and encouraging rural financial institutions to take over the debts of the farmers from usurious sources. A positive feature in our situation is that we have some examples of success in all these areas. There is a need to extend and scale up these efforts.

Our Agrarian Future

This paper highlights the extant and the emerging role of agriculture in the Asian region by reviewing the past performance and postulating the conditions for sustainable growth. In the first section, attention is drawn to the initial conditions impacting on the pace and pattern of economic growth. In the second section, the performance of agriculture is reviewed on well established parameters, bringing out the pattern of growth witnessed during the last two decades or so and discussing the exogenous and endogenous factors responsible for changes in this sector. The third section takes a medium-term view of the likely changes in the demand and supply conditions affecting Asian agriculture and the economic environment it is likely to face. In the fourth and final section key issues which have ramifications for achieving a sustainable and humane development in the region are outlined.

Globalisation: Hopes, Realities and Coping Strategy

The characteristics of globalisation as it is now unfolding are multifarious. It is influencing culture as much as the economies of nation states. While most attention is focused on economic integration globalisation is seen to be leading to cultural hegemony. While such homogenisation of diverse cultures certainly makes humanity poorer, tentatively, haltingly, a universal conscience is beginning to take shape.

Agriculture: Second Round of Economic Reforms

The imperatives for the next phase of reforms in Indian agriculture, with 'growth with equity' as the touchstone.

Ensuring Food Security

Though concepts of food security have acquired a variety of interpretations, it acquires a meaning where it also connotes nutritional security at the household level. Nowhere in developed and in the developing world has this notion become operationalised. Ensuring nutritional security requires that the three vital institutions - the state, the market and civil society, each recognises its own role and responsibility in warding off hunger, and ensuring food security.

Agricultural Trade Policy and Export Strategy

This paper reviews the performance of Indian agriculture in the context of the development in agricultural trade especially agricultural exports internationally and outlines a strategy for augmenting India's agricultural exports.

Assessment of Environmental Policies and Policy Implementation in India

Implementation in India V S Vyas V Ratna Reddy Though the political economy of the developing countries does not allow neglect of the demands of the poor, and though the developed countries are mainly responsible for global environmental problems, the developing world cannot remain oblivious of its own environmental degradation. In spite of promulgating various acts and instituting ministry for environment and forestry, the record of their implementation has been dismal There has been a recent spurt in NGO activities in generating environmental awareness. Yet, systematic introduction of environment issues into educational curricula is awaited.

Public Intervention for Poverty Alleviation-An Overview

Public Intervention for Poverty Alleviation An Overview V S Vyas Pradeep Bhargava Although there is a high degree of uniformity in the approach and content of poverty alleviation programmes (PAPs) in India, there is great variation across states in the outcome of these programmes. The reasons for this have been explored in a research project in which nine states were selected for in-depth study of poverty conditions and implementation of PAPs, the results of which are presented in this issue. The organisation and general findings of the project are summarised in this introductory paper.

Agricultural Policies for the Nineties-Issues and Approaches

Agricultural growth in India during the 1980s shows certain characteristics which are significant for the formulation of policies for the future. If the performance of the agricultural sector has not measured up to the country's requirement, explanations have to he sought in some of the structural and more abiding features of Indian agriculture, in fact of the Indian economy.

New Economic Policy and Vulnerable Sections-Rationale for Public Intervention

There are several areas where concerted public intervention is imperative if the poor have to participate in the growth which the New Economic Policy promises.

D S Tyagi

Population Control: Simplistic Approach EPW's first piece on family welfare after the 1991 Census (integrating Family Welfare and Development Programmes' by T Padmanabha, January 18) has an ominous ring. The author rightly emphasises the need for integration of family welfare with development programmes and deplores functional isolation of the programme and "adherence to routine administrative structures" but his own innovation in the form of an "apex body to formulate policy and programmes" amounts once again to adopt a simplistic approach to a highly complicated problem. Such instant, simplistic remedies have been frequently applied in the past three decades and the result has been devastating

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