AGRICULTURE SERIES – PART IV

This article is the fourth part of the ‘Agriculture’ series of articles. Read Part III here.

‘Agriculture’ is a hot topic for UPSC. Questions from this topic can be expected in the essay paper or any other general studies paper. Therefore, in order to cover various aspects and dimensions of this topic we bring to you a series of posts dedicated to this specific topic. We would be analysing the topic from multiple angles and at the same time provide data, quotes etc. related to the topic.

Wherever required, we will link the article with previous parts of the series. This will not only help a better understanding of the topic but also would help in revision.


Federal Institution for Agriculture

Based on a speech by finance minister Mr. Arun Jaitley.

Indian healthcare and agriculture sectors need a federal institution similar to the GST Council to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes.

GST Council, which comprises of the Union and State Finance Ministers, is a successful experiment in practical federalism.

While both health and agriculture are State subjects under the Constitution, Centrally sponsored schemes are carried out in both sectors.

Mr. Jaitley pointed out that both the Centre and the States spent resources, ran schemes, and established hospitals and other institutions. “We are doing Ayushman Bharat, they also have parallel schemes. All this needs to be merged, so that the benefit of these merged resources now starts falling to the benefit of the patient population of the country,” he said.

Implementation would be the responsibility of the States, with the Centre responsible for coordination, he said, insisting that this was not a turf issue.

“Every State would stand to benefit if this coordination through such a federal institution actually came up,” he said.

Source: The Hindu


Agri-export policy

Seeking to double agricultural export to $60 billion by 2022, the Union Cabinet in December 2018 approved a maiden export policy for the farm sector that imposes no restrictions on export of all organic and processed products. However, export policy for primary agricultural products, like onion, would reviewed periodically on a case-to-case basis depending on price-supply situation.

The farm exports have grown by 20 per cent in a year. Agricultural exports are currently estimated at $30 billion, however, India had no export policy for agri products despite a being a major producer.

How will the new export policy help?

The first ever ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ would help the government in achieving the target of doubling farmers’ income. The policy aims to boost exports of agriculture commodities such as tea, coffee and rice and increase the country’s share in global agri-trade. The policy would focus on all aspects of agricultural exports including modernising infrastructure, standardisation of products, streamlining regulations, curtailing knee-jerk decisions, and focusing on research and development activities. It will also seek to remove all kinds of export restrictions on organic products.

The implementation of the policy will have an estimated financial implication of over Rs.1,400 crore. As per an official release, the objective of the policy is to diversify export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports.

It will also provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.

Other objectives of the policy is to strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest and enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market. The policy has arrived at after consultation with state governments. He said states have also agreed to remove ‘mandi tax’ and reforms in Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) norms.

To operationalise the policy, the government would focus on creating agri clusters, promote value added shipments, attract private investment and infrastructure development.

Source: Livemint