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

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Social Entrepreneurship Journeys in Agriculture

Farming Futures: Emerging Social Enterprises in India edited by Ajit Kanitkar and C Shambu Prasad, 2019; pp 532, ` 795 (paperback).

Income and Livelihood Promotion through Individual Assets under MGNREGA

The potentialities of individual assets, created under category B of Schedule I of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, for enhancing income of rural households and increasing productivity of land and agriculture are examined. The beneficiaries of individual assets gained, through the creation of new sources of livelihoods, additional utility of their existing assets and a rise in their income levels. The community also gained by an increase in food security through the enhanced productivity of land and agriculture, mainly through increase in crop acreage, yields per acre, and crop diversification. However, a proactive selection of landless households and diversification of individual assets is required to make the benefits of assets creation inclusive.

Agricultural Transformation or Compromising Food Security

A response to the paper “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship—I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar, and Francesca Harris (EPW, 17 July 2021) argues that the solutions proposed in the paper will neither revolutionise India’s agriculture sector nor minimise the water and soil problems listed.

The (Repealed) Union Contract Farming Act, 2020

The rationale and the implications of the now repealed Union Contract Farming Act of 2020 and its implications for farmers is the focus of this article. It highlights some major lacunae in it from a design and small farmer perspective informed by experience of contract farming in India. The article argues for better provisions to protect smallholder interests and the need to leverage contract farming for their development.

Are Subsidies Trade-distortionary?

To benefit the farmers green box subsidies may be given.

Agro-food Systems and Public Policy for Food and Agricultural Markets

This transcription of a presentation, commentary and a discussion at IIM Banglore in 2020 has three parts. In Part 1, contested definitions of food, urgent food questions and concepts of food systems are clarified before considering the ways agricultural markets are integrated in food systems, the contradictory principles at work in policies for their regulation, and the ways such policy practices are imagined. Sixteen multidisciplinary depictions of global food systems, agricultural markets and food policies are analysed, concluding that their conceptual fracturing results from a disregard of theory. New models of the Indian food system will need to give rigorous attention to institutions for policy. Part 2 problematises the empirical granularity needed to understand market behaviour that policymakers ignore as they shift agriculture from being the driver of industrialisation to being a residualised welfare sector. By continuing to ignore and misunderstand existing physical markets, regulatory reforms like the new central laws assume that the deregulation would somehow automatically bypass the vast number of private intermediaries necessary for distribution whose relatively easy-to-enter, small-scale activity undercuts the transaction costs of corporate agribusiness. In doing so, they lose sight of the original purpose and need for public regulation in primary agricultural markets in the first place. Part 3 discusses the need for consultative policy processes for policy and the implications for small scales and informality in agriculture and its markets of the close integration of self-employment in the rural non-farm economy.

Suicide by Maharashtra Farmers

The present paper relies on the census survey of the suicide-affected farmers’ households from the two most vulnerable districts of Maharashtra from 2014 to 2017 when the largest number of farmers’ suicide cases was reported after the 2008 farm debt waivers. A complex mix of social, economic, and psychological factors play their role in translating into farmers’ suicide. The study covers the districts of Usmanabad from Marathwada and Yavatmal from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, respectively.

Economic Impact of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown on Indian Farmers

​The impact of the pandemic on the farmers with different farm sizes is analysed. The changes in the income of farmers are highlighted, and the mitigation of the financial downturn by farmers using government cash transfers and sale of assets is explored. The change in the uptake of loans during the pandemic is investigated.

Gendered Impact of Endosulfan Poisoning

This study focuses on the health conditions of endosulfan victims, the socio-economic status of their households, and the impact on female caretakers of the endosulfan victims. It notes that endosulfan poisoning has a gendered impact and that the women caretakers bear the maximum brunt.

Marketing and Procurement of Cotton

The farmers’ experiences related to cotton marketing are analysed based on the field survey data in 10 sample villages of the Adilabad district of Telangana during 2019–20.

Indian Agriculture Over Time

Political Economy of Agricultural Development in India: Policies, Achievements and Concerns by Akina Venkateswarlu, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2021; pp xvii + 554, ₹1,695.

Karnataka’s ‘Surya Raitha’ Experiment

Solar-powered irrigation has expanded in India at an unprecedented pace—the number of solar irrigation pumps—from less than 4,000 in 2012 to more than 2,50,000 by 2019. It has been argued that besides giving farmers an additional and reliable source of income, grid-connected SIPs also incentivise efficient energy and water use—critical for sustaining groundwater irrigation. The Surya Raitha scheme was the country’s first, state-driven initiative for solarisation of agriculture feeders by replacing subsidy-guzzling, inefficient electric pumps with energy-efficient, net-metered SIPs. An early appraisal of Surya Raitha lauded the scheme as a smart initiative and argued that it could set an example for promoting solar power as a remunerative crop. However, the scheme was eventually executed as a single feeder pilot with some design changes in Nalahalli panchayat from 2015–18. The authors visited the pilot in 2017–18 and 2018–19 to assess if it had delivered the promises of Surya Raitha scheme. The results are a mixed bag and offer important lessons for implementation and scaling out of component C of the Government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan policy.

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