ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Pulses, Udta Punjab and Nutrition

It is a well-established fact that India has been short of domestic supply of pulses. Somewhat less known fact is that Punjab has been overusing groundwater and applying excessive urea, and on top of that the drug problem has worsened in Punjab as depicted in the Udta Punjab movie.

It is a well-established fact that India has been short of domestic supply of pulses. Somewhat less known fact is that Punjab has been overusing groundwater and applying excessive urea, and on top of that the drug problem has worsened in Punjab as depicted in the Udta Punjab movie.

It is also clear that the central government has no urgent intentions to save Punjab from these crises or India from the crisis of the deficit in proteins. The blindfolded ban on cow slaughter has not only increased the cost of culling excessive stock of cattle but has unfairly prevented signi­ficant number of lower caste and those of non-Hindu faith Indians from eating beef.

The basic course of agronomy has taught us that pulses fix nitrogen in soil and are good for sustainable agriculture. Pulses can reduce the demand for urea as well as water. So, Punjab can leverage on promoting the pulse–wheat rotation on farms and getting out of the vicious cycle of the rice–wheat rotation promoted by the incorrect procurement and subsidy policies of the central government. For this purpose, Punjab should demand financial support from the central government in the form of subsidies for the promotion of pulses. These can be treated as input subsidies since the pulse crop can be treated as an input for maintaining soil fertility.

A comprehensive economic analysis shows that this will not only help India in reducing the protein deficit even while keeping the ban on cow slaughter, but will also help in making agriculture in Punjab sustainable. Sustainable agriculture will also help in reducing the drug crisis in Punjab and as a chain reaction in other cities from Mumbai to Kochi.

Chandrashekhar G Ranade
WASHINGTON DC

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