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

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Crisis in Agrarian Economy in Punjab

Agricultural production and crop yields in Punjab have nearly stagnated. Land and water, the two most critical resources on which Punjab's rural economy is built, have sharply deteriorated over time. Profit margins of the farmers have come down drastically. The paper argues that there is an urgent need to diversify the state's agrarian economy not only in the narrow sense of diversification within the crop husbandry sector, but also in its wider sense, i e, to promote allied agricultural and non-farm activities and agro-processing in rural area.

Rice Production in Punjab

This paper looks at the various issues related to the huge expansion of rice cultivation in Punjab since the 1970s, and its environmental and ecological implications, such as falling yields and water tables and stagnant production. Based on a survey of farmers, the paper analyses the parameters of production, extending it to estimate the affordable area under rice cultivation from the point of view of sustainability.

Fertiliser Industry in India: Moulded by Government Policies

Government policies on the fertiliser sector have been uncertain and inconsistent in the past decades, resulting in a growing subsidy burden and distortion of the optimal ratio of N P K consumption, especially after partial decontrol. Several studies and commissions have presented their conclusions on the retention pricing scheme, plant capacity assessments and subsidy reduction. These include among others, total decontrol of the sector in a time-bound manner. But political compulsions are likely to determine the vigour and pace of reforms in the fertiliser sector.

Fertilisers : Policy Muddle

It is time once again for fresh policy convulsions in the fertiliser sector and for claims and counter-claims by the government and industry. After a break in 2000-01, the government has once again imported 2.2 lakh tonnes of urea in order, it says, to prevent a shortage in the current rabi season. Considering that the total installed capacity of urea in the country is 20.9 mn tonnes, the import of such a small quantity is probably a symbolic gesture to drive home the government’s determination to press ahead with ‘rationalisation’ of prices. In November, the government, in an ‘interim’ decision, notified lower retention prices of urea for 13 manufacturers with retrospective effect from April 2000. This is expected to result in savings of Rs 800 crore in subsidies given to fertiliser units. The government has also drawn up stiff new norms of capacity utilisation and feedstock consumption by fertiliser units based on which retention price will be determined. But a comprehensive long-term policy for the Rs 35,000 crore industry – a key element in the agriculture sector – has yet to materialise.
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