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

Articles by Seema BathlaSubscribe to Seema Bathla

Does Public Procurement Benefit Paddy Farmers?

This paper investigates the impact of public procurement on paddy farmers in Bihar. Whether farmers’ access to public procurement agencies led to higher price realisation by them is examined here. The paper used a comprehensive telephonic survey of 1,976 farm households in eastern India (Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal) and employed an endogenous switching regression model to estimate the impact of public procurement on farm harvest price of paddy. The findings reveal that farmers gain by selling to public agencies. However, they are unable to receive the minimum support price.

Impact of National Lockdown on Rural Household’s Income

The unprecedented shutdown of economic activities led to a colossal loss of livelihoods. To understand the impact of this national lockdown on rural households’ income, the paper empirically examines the determinants of reduction in their income, and the effectiveness of government’s response in mitigating their economic hardships. The study is based on a comprehensive telephonic survey of 2,599 rural households from five eastern states—Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal conducted during the lockdown period, June–July 2020. The econometric results highlight that (i) a number of socio-economic and demographic factors influenced income loss of rural households during the lockdown, (ii) the impact was relatively higher on the migrant labour, though it differed across the eastern states, and (iii) government cash and in-kind assistance under various social protection schemes were timely but requires expansion in both coverage and outreach.

Factors Contributing to Income Inequalities among Agricultural Households in India

Inequality in agricultural households in 20 major states is estimated and its factors analysed. In most states, farming and livestock contribute over half the total income. Income inequalities, irrespective of farm size, are large, though these have not widened much over time; major sources are non-farm income, land, and farm assets. The relationship between growth in household income and land size is positive; it does not augur well for the government’s professed objective of promoting inclusive development. To bridge income gaps, mechanisms need to be developed to ensure the viability of increasingly small and fragmented landholdings.

Where to Invest to Accelerate Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction

This study aims to understand the drivers that helped India achieve the challenging targets of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty before 2015. Have increased public investments or farm subsidies contributed to reducing rural poverty, directly through various public spending schemes or indirectly through increased agricultural land productivity? Utilising a structural equation to answer this question for the period 1981–82 to 2013–14, it was found that education and agricultural research and development produced the highest marginal returns for promoting agricultural income, while investments in rural infrastructure development and health provisions are the most effective in reducing rural poverty.

Capital Formation in Indian Agriculture

Is capital formation in Indian agriculture really declining? How and to what extent has it affected growth in agriculture? These questions have been at the centre stage of a debate sparked off in the late 1980s. This paper re-visits this debate by dissecting different components of capital formation, by digging into the very concept and estimation procedures followed in the Indian system of National Accounts vis-à-vis the UN system. The study, after re-defining and re-estimating trends in capital formation in agriculture, concludes that the situation is definitely not good, but not as alarming as is sometimes made out to be. This is because of the increasing share and role of private sector investments in agriculture over time. And the trend in that has remained robust despite decline in public sector capital formation in agriculture, and despite the fact that public sector investment has an inducement effect on private sector capital formation. This only goes to suggest that private sector investment in agriculture has been increasingly influenced by other factors, especially the terms of trade. And this has implications for the structure of growth within agriculture.
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