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

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Climatic Trends, Cropping Pattern Shifts, and Migration of Rice in India

The rice area in India has shown a mild shift, both temporally and spatially—from the rain-fed eastern belt to the drier north-west, served by controlled irrigation—despite a declining trend of rainfall observed in both the regions. The shift is part of the broader changes in land use.

Accounting for the Diversity in Dairy Farming

“Economics of Dairy Farming in India” by M Dinesh Kumar and O P Singh (EPW, 14 October 2017), provided an analytical and conceptual critique for a special article co-authored by the current author, “Do Producers Gain from Selling Milk? An Economic Assessment of Dairy Farming in Contemporary India” (EPW, 24 June 2017). The author reiterates some of the issues implicit in the special article in order to stimulate further questions on these issues.

Do Producers Gain from Selling Milk?

Primary field-level information collected shows that producing milk for sale is not always profitable and suggests that despite the white revolution, milk production still remains largely a subsistence activity. There are, however, large variations in milk price, animal stock, and profit among regions; urbanisation levels of districts; and main occupations of producers. The results also reveal that the producer’s remuneration varies with the uses of different marketing channels. While informal traders still dominate the market, the sign of entry of private corporate buyers is also clear. The findings raise serious concerns about the commercial prospects of dairy farmers, especially in the eastern region and among the labouring classes and others who practise dairy as a subsidiary economic activity.

Higher Education in the Private Sector

The editorial “Degrees of Disparity” (EPW, 6 February 2010) is undoubtedly a well written and researched piece but n evertheless it misses out some facts behind the rise of private institutes in education.

Theory and Practice of Agricultural Indicators

of Agricultural Indicators Agricultural Sustainability: Strategies for Assessment by Gary W vanLoon, S G Patil, L B Hugar; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2005;

Promoting Biofertilisers in Indian Agriculture

Biofertilisers have multiple beneficial impacts on the soil and can be relatively cheap and convenient for use. The government is seeking to encourage their use in agriculture and also promote private initiative and commercial viability of production. This paper analyses data from industry and finds only limited success till date. There has been no accelerated growth in distribution and there has been inadequate spatial diffusion. Despite the entry of small private units into the industry, there is no clear indication of success. The paper argues that the government has ample grounds to intervene to set up an effective market for biofertilisers, while encouraging private players. But the policy and instruments of intervention need to be designed with care.

Revenue Estimates for a Crop-Specific Agricultural Tax

This paper calculates per hectare rates of levy for a land-based crop-specific agricultural tax on eight major field crops, based on published Cost of Cultivation data, now available at state-level for the nineties but with uneven coverage across states. The eight crops are paddy, wheat, groundnut, rape/mustardseed, sugarcane, cotton, potato and onion. Clearly, any reconfiguration of input subsidies presently available to agriculture will alter the taxable surplus parameters and levy rates estimated, but the method used is of perfectly general applicability. The state-level rates of levy calculated for the year 1996-97 yield an estimated tax revenue of Rs 500 crore, around 80 per cent of aggregate land revenue collected that year from agricultural land. The levy is envisaged for panchayat rather than state-level, with jurisdictional retention for infrastructure improvements within agriculture. District-level rates of levy, with taxable surplus parameters adjusted for crop yield variations across districts, are calculated for four selected states: Andhra, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Revenue additionality at panchayat level as a per cent of own revenue collections, aggregating across all panchayat tiers, ranges between 30 per cent in Andhra, and 201 per cent for West Bengal.

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