Category Archive Reports

SBI report says rural economy is losing steam, flags rising unemployment and fall in wages

For 12 Indian states, the loss in state GDP in the current fiscal is mainly due to the rural areas, says the research report by State Bank of India.

REMYA NAIR 3 September, 2020 7:37 pm

Representational image | Commons

New Delhi: India’s rural economy may be losing steam after leading the economic recovery in the first few months of the pandemic, a research report released by the State Bank of India said.

Rural unemployment rate has started rising again in August, while employment and average wages under the national rural employment guarantee scheme have fallen, the report released Thursday said (see graphic).

Graphic: Soham Sen
Graphic: Soham Sen
Graphic: Soham Sen
Graphic: Soham Sen

The report also pointed out that for 12 Indian states, more than two-thirds of the loss in gross state domestic product (GSDP) in the current fiscal was contributed by rural areas.

Chhattisgarh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are among the states that are seeing a substantial loss in the GSDP contributed by rural areas.

According to the report, in states like Chhattisgarh, Assam and Himachal Pradesh, more than 90 per cent of the GSDP loss is from rural areas. Bihar at 86 per cent, Odisha at 84 per cent, Uttarakhand at 79 per cent, Rajasthan at 75 per cent, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh at 71 per cent and Uttar Pradesh at 65 per cent are among the other states with high output losses from the rural sector.

Agriculture was the only silver lining

The report’s findings come at a time agriculture and rural demand are expected to be the only silver linings for the Indian economy battling Covid-19 and the economic impact of the initial two-month lockdown as well as the intermittent lockdowns announced by many states to curb the pandemic.

The GDP data released last week had also shown that agriculture was the only sector that reported a positive growth at 3.4 per cent in the April-June quarter. Other sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and hotels and transport had reported sharp contractions by 50 per cent, 39 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively.

The RBI, in its annual report released last month, had also pointed out how urban consumption demand has suffered a bigger blow than rural demand. Citing tractor sales and motorcycle purchase data, it had pointed to improved rural recovery but added, “A fuller recovery in rural demand is, however, being held back by muted wage growth which is still hostage to the migrant crisis and associated employment losses.”

It had expressed hope that increased employment generation in rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and increased wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act would provide a fillip to rural incomes.

The SBI, in its report, however, said mixed signals are emerging.

Tractor sales and two-wheeler sales increased in July and August but fertiliser sales and diesel consumption declined in recent months, the report said.

Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Report 2020

TCI’s 2020 report on Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition in India (FAN 2020) provides an analysis of India’s progress towards achieving the second sustainable development goal—zero hunger. Using district-level data and maps, the report highlights stark spatial differences in the extent of the hunger problem and identifies potential paths forward.

In recent decades, India has made significant progress in reducing hunger, at least in terms of calories. But about 210 million Indians remain undernourished, while many others suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.

The report provides a detailed assessment of the prospects for improving productivity and farm incomes across India’s highly varied agroecologies and cropping systems. It emphasizes the need for continued high-level investments in agricultural infrastructure and research to sustain past gains and exploit new opportunities for growth. FAN 2020 calls for reorienting agricultural policy away from its traditional focus on staples, such as rice and wheat, and toward enhancing the productivity and supply of coarse cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables, and livestock products.

The report is the inaugural issue in a series produced by TCI. Each report will provide periodic assessments of the food, agriculture, and nutrition situation in India.

Report on policies and action plan for secure and sustainable agriculture
Executive Summary
Despite having achieved household food security, thanks to Green, White and Blue revolutions, the problem of poverty, hunger and malnutrition still persists and the real income of farmer has declined. To reverse this trend, there is an urgency for an introspection of existing technology, development and policy related initiatives and to evolve a new strategy with defined Road Map, to accelerate agricultural growth rate which seemed to have stuck around 3 per cent. Also, accelerating agricultural growth is warranted for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This obviously calls for some bold policy decisions and their effective implementation. Recognizing the above concerns, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India constituted a committee to review agricultural policies and suggest strategies as well as action plan to achieve faster a secure and sustainable agriculture so as to ensure improved livelihood of smallholder farmers. Besides its five meetings, the committee networked with more than 150 eminent scientists, agricultural experts and key stakeholders from across the country and those of Indian origin residing abroad, organized a few peer review meetings and had individual/virtual consultations. In the process, key existing government policies, programs and schemes related to agriculture were critically reviewed, along with some very promising innovations, which on scaling out, can make greater impact. Accordingly, this report is structured to highlight: (i) role of agriculture in achieving sustainable development goals;
(ii) accelerating agricultural growth for secure and sustainable agriculture; iii) recommendations and proposed reforms, and iv) action plan for scalable innovations.
India is currently at the centre stage globally with regard to achieving SDGs, failing which possibly the UN targets would not be met in view of existing concentration of both poverty and hunger, being the maximum compared to elsewhere. Hence, there is an urgency to adopt some bold policies and to scale out new technologies and innovations to ensure increased production linked to input use efficiency, post-production, value chain, effective partnership with stakeholders, especially the private sector, and the linkages with both national and global markets. Fortunately, the Government’s commitment to meet SDGs and the Paris Agreement for climate change do present unique opportunity for the entire agricultural sector to get aligned for a better tomorrow. Thus, there is an urgency that policy makers accord high priority to agriculture, which still sustains almost half of the Indian population, to
ensure faster agricultural growth to achieve food, nutritional and environmental security for all. This obviously would demand doubling of funds for agricultural research and innovation for development (ARI4D), which still gives the highest returns (more than 10 times) compared to rest of other growth sectors. Also, the enhanced capital investment in non-Green Revolution areas such as eastern and north-eastern regions, especially to improve social progress index (SPI), becomes highly justified to ensure an Evergreen Revolution that is sustainable. Besides SDGs, India’s commitment for doubling farmers’ income is a major policy initiative, which demands specific focus now on increased production with low input cost, sustainable agricultural diversification and efficient post-production management, including value addition, and better options for linking farmers to market. Obviously, these would
demand a paradigm shift in current national agricultural policies to become pro-farmer and to ensure higher agricultural growth for an over all prosperity.
This committee is of the firm view that farmers are currently the most stressed community whose income is not enough to meet their daily needs. Farmers need good land, healthy soils, adequate and good quality water, timely supply of key inputs, technologies that can ensure higher and efficient production, good and timely extension services, easy availability of credit at low interest rate, access to national xxii Report on Policies and Action Plan for a Secure and Sustainable Agriculture and global markets and finally the respect and dignity which they deserve in the society. Accordingly, this report centers around a new strategy and policy reforms aiming at accelerating agricultural growth, achieving SDGs, and doubling farmers’ income while perusing a ‘Farmer FIRST’ approach.
This report also centers around transforming Indian agriculture and the food system towards a more productive, secure (resilient) and sustainable source of economic growth, improved livelihood for those engaged in the sector and a true catalyst for creation of jobs downstream in the production and post-production scenario. To achieve this noble transformation, a bold vision, accompanied by equally bolder policies and resolute actions are suggested, because the needed boldness is required to get to achieve a new plank, which we seemed to have slipped since India became food secure. Since then, agriculture has prodded along sluggishly being a reflection of complacency despite pockets of brilliance and available technological innovations needing policy support for scaling. Bringing new
innovations to scale and to accelerate agricultural growth above 4 per cent, as envisioned in National Agricultural Policy (2000), would require increased investments with priorities and commitments as a pre-requisite for implementing suggested reforms and new programs in this report. The proposed recommendations are not just a continuation of the business as usual approach of providing technical solutions and essentially tinkering at the margin but are key for taking India to newer heights through over all accelerated growth and sustainable development in agriculture.
The new strategy suggested in the report to address farmers’ diverse needs includes: doubling farmers’ income through increased production, diversification in farming systems that are eco-regionally most sustainable, input cost reduction by scaling technical innovations (be scientist or farmer-led), availability of credit at low interest rate, value addition and better income through direct linkages to markets. The strategy centres around: harnessing scientific, technical and institutional innovations, besides needed policy reforms and both national and global partnerships.
The report highlights new opportunities for harnessing science for new gains through the use of: precision agriculture, biotechnology, sensor technology, bioinformatics, climate-smart agriculture, robotics, drones, big data management, artificial intelligence, etc. The committee firmly believes that there exists considerable scope for scaling out promising technologies for extending the gains such as: growing different crops in newer/non-traditional areas, exploitation of hybrid technology, use of biotechnology, especially GM crops, conservation agriculture, scientific land use and ecoregional planning, farm mechanization for precision farming, reversing soil degradation, improving soil health, especially through the restoration of soil organic carbon, doubling water use efficiency, improved nutrient use, generation of bioenergy and biofuel production, ICT for knowledge empowerment, etc.
The report covers major recommendations relating to key production sectors of agriculture, namely, natural resource management, crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and some cross-cutting areas such as: agro-ecological based land use planning, role of youth and women, private sector participation, institutional mechanisms and reforms, knowledge dissemination and capacity building along with action plan for policy reforms and some creative innovations that have great potential for outscaling to accelerate agricultural growth with desired impact on farmers’ income.
Institutional reforms are important to sustain the gains in agriculture through scaling scientific innovations. Some key institutional reforms recommended include: review of existing agricultural policies and forming a new one on agriculture and farmers’ welfare to meet the emerging challenges; needed reorientation of on-going missions/national programs, including urgency for initiating some new missions; clearance of some key pending Acts/Bills by the Parliament; strengthening of ICAR/SAUs/KVKs/PRIs with urgency for doubling current public funding; establishment of a new National Agricultural Development and Farmers’ Welfare Council (NAD&FWC) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, extremely essential for decision making and to ensure effective coordination and convergence so critical, since agriculture is a State subject; establishing Farmers’ Welfare Commissions both at the Centre and State level, as an institutional mechanism for providing a neutral platform; an
Report on Policies and Action Plan for a Secure and Sustainable Agriculture xxiii
Independent Strategic Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Unit to review and assess the impact of all
central agriculture related schemes; grassroot knowledge empowerment through both public and paid
extension systems; expanding the mandate of KVKs as ‘Knowledge-Skill-Innovation Centres’ and to
facilitate the establishment of Agri-Clinics; support for creating more Farmer Producer Organizations;
building trusted partnership with the private sector, and finally the empowerment and motivation of
women and youth to remain in agriculture and be the important game changers.
The report also highlights an urgent need for policy reforms to increase capital investment in
agriculture (both public and private), especially in the eastern, North-eastern, dryland and coastal
regions that are capable of more sustainable Green Revolutions in future, increase in credit access
to the farmers and young entrepreneurs at low interest rate (4%) and creation of more financial
institutions such as Kisan Banks, increasing investments in rural (roads, electricity) and marketing
infrastructure, including pledged warehouses, production and availability of quality seeds and
planting materials, availability of safe and effective chemicals, farm machinery on custom hire basis,
food processing facilities, etc. which are so critical for increasing social progress index (SPI), being
a major determinant, for achieving the SDGs. Also, there is a need to rationalize input subsidies
and transfer them henceforth to farmers through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mechanism such as:
converting subsidies on fertilizers as incentives for use as per need assessed through soil health cards,
power and irrigation subsidy through adoption of conservation agriculture as well as micro-irrigation
practices, more land cover under trees (e.g. har med par ped) through adoption of agroforestry policy
etc. Accordingly, it is recommended to convert subsidies as incentives for both farming efficiency
and environmental services @ Rs 10,000 per acre per annum up to a maximum of 10 acres (4 ha) per
farming family. Strengthening of price stabilization fund is also suggested with enhanced allocations
and the creation of a credit risk management fund is suggested on the model of plantation crops.
Insurance of horticultural crops, livestock and fishery needs to be given equal importance under
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), linked to operational efficiency for its implementation
through accurate weather forecasting, mapping of losses using satellite imagery, and the timely
settlement of claims, etc.
For increased income of farmers, and for attracting youth in agriculture, emphasis is clearly needed now on secondary and specialty agriculture, supported well by value chain for efficient postharvest handling, rural based primary processing and marketing. All these are badly in need of policy support and technical backstopping. In this context, the minimum support price (MSP) be fixed at 1.5 times of cost C2 and the procurement in future be extended to all commodities, with decentralized procurements to be made by the States. Also, there is need to enhance markets intensity in rural areas and ensure market linkages through e-NAM requiring uniform adoption of Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLM) Act and Contract Farming Act by various States. Further, the mandi tax has also to be rationalized around 5-7 per cent, whereas some even charge more than twice the amount. The Essential Commodities Act (ECA) and Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act also need to be reviewed in regard to their relevance especially when intention through e-NAM is to create a unified national market to benefit both the producers and consumers. The concerns of seed industry with regard to implementation and harmonization of Biological Diversity Act and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act (PPV&FRA), unresolved issues relating to access and benefit sharing (ABS) for use of genetic resources, besides intellectual property (IP) protection on innovation such as genetic modification (GM), genome editing, etc., pricing policy
on seeds and long awaited revision of Seed Act need to be addressed on priority. The fertilizer and pesticides industries also have serious concerns relating to regulations and their effective implementation requiring immediate Government intervention to create an enabling environment to ensure accelerated growth of agriculture. It is proposed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) be now linked to efficient technology dissemination through active involvement of youth (including women) as technology/extension agents, input and/or service providers and for the establishment of Agri-Clinics involving young enterpreneurs. Considering enormous potential for agricultural
xxiv Report on Policies and Action Plan for a Secure and Sustainable Agriculture exports, it is suggested to revisit our export-import (EXIM) policy and make it long-term foresight oriented to harness the benefits of globalization. For this, Agricultural and Processed Food Products
Export Development Authority (APEDA) needs to be strengthened to take-up additional functions of international demand assessment, establishing linkages with potential importing countries and to maintain international food safety and quarantine standards. It should also create a national system of certification of organic foods for both domestic and international markets.
Further, it has been observed that the Seed Bill, Pesticide Management Bill, Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, and other important Bills/Acts relating to agriculture and rural development are pending for enactment by the Parliament for long and hence all these be got expedited without further delay. A National Policy on Biotechnology, embracing GM and genome editing, National Livestock Breeding Policy (including the enactment of a new Act to protect all indigenous livestock breeds), and the National Land Utilization Policy, which is both owner and tenant friendly, as proposed in the Model Land Leasing Act, should be considered for quick decision and
implementation by all the States concerned. In this context, the fragmentation of land holdings below one ha in irrigated and 2 ha in the rainfed areas, being uneconomical, be legally not permitted. Also, the digitization of agricultural land ownership records be now made a priority requirement by all States.
Finally, it is committee’s resolve that the growth of agriculture sector can be accelerated to help achieve SDGs much faster provided the recommendations given in the report are implemented through both a missionary zeal and as a package by the Government.

RBI: Report of Internal working group on Agriculture credit 2019

Report of the
(RBI’s) Internal Working Group to Review Agricultural Credit, September 2019
2019 Working group on credit

Review of Agricultural Extension in India

2010 Review of Extension System in India IFPRI
Review of Agricultural Extension in India
Are Farmers’ Information Needs Being Met?
Claire J. Glendenning
Suresh Babu
Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere
Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office

Agricultural Extension System in India 2018

Agricultural Extension System in India
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2018 Agriculture-Extension-System-in-India-2018
Review of Current Status, Trends and the Way Forward
Ashok Gulati
Pravesh Sharma
Anisha Samantara
Prerna Terway

State level climate change trends in India

Report published by Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India
2019 StateLevelClimateChangeMonoFinal

India world’s largest groundwater user

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 01 July 2019

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images
India largest groundwater user
According to the World Bank, India uses the maximum groundwater in the world, the Union Jal Shakti Ministry informed Parliament.
According to the World Bank’s latest assessment in 2013, the Annual Replenishable Ground Water Resource of the country is 447 billion cubic meter (BCM) and the Net Annual Ground Water Availability is 411 BCM. The Annual Ground Water Draft (utilisation) for various uses is 253 BCM.
download the report