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

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BJP’s Farming Policies

Agricultural market reforms recently enacted by the National Democratic Alliance government reflect the Bharatiya Janata Party’s determination to introduce agrobusinesses into agriculture and push further its agenda of centralisation of economic power and decision-making. The opposition to the reforms by farmers, many state governments, and regional political formations poses the most formidable challenge, so far, to this government. The contesting claims have missed the dimension of the damaging ecological implications of these reforms.

Bills of Contention

Suggestive content or procedural violation—what makes the BJP ’s farm bills more contentious?

Is MSP a Viable Proposition in Marine Fisheries?

The Kerala government, in response to the demands of the fishing community in the state, introduced a minimum support price for fisherfolk’s catch in April 2018. The viability of such a policy, against the present context of the marine fishery marketing in Kerala, has been analysed, and possible policy alternatives have been highlighted.

Too Little, Too Late

The last budget of the Modi government comes against the backdrop of severe agrarian and rural distress. It is also the last opportunity to undo the damage caused to the rural economy by this government in the last four years. While the government has finally acknowledged the gravity of the situation, its response has been limited to empty rhetoric without any financial commitment. Going by the past record of the government, it is clear that it is serious neither in its commitment nor in its intent. The half-hearted measures are not only too little and too late, it is also clear that this budget is unlikely to revive the rural economy.

Arecanut after Gutkha Ban

The collapse of arecanut prices after the ban on gutkha imposed by some states has plunged farmers into a crisis and lack of export avenues has further exacerbated the situation. Along with an MSP policy for arecanut to assist the beleaguered farmers, intercropping with remunerative crops can also be considered as a safeguard against income uncertainty.

Rubber : Lost Bounce

The centre’s announcement of the minimum support price (MSP) for rubber has pleased no one. It has brought trading to a virtual standstill in the markets in Kerala, which accounts for 90 per cent of the country’s total rubber production. Earlier this month, the government announced an MSP of Rs 32.07 per kg for sheet rubber of the RSS4 grade and Rs 30.90 per kg for all other sheet grades, classified as RSS5. However, almost 30 per cent of the sheet rubber traded in the market is of the ungraded variety having quality levels below RSS5, and has a market price of Rs 24-28. The Rubber Board’s clarification that sheet rubber is not to be sold below the price for RSS5 has made purchases impossible, as such trades are illegal under the Rubber Act. Sheet rubber produced by 9 lakh small growers accounts for over 75 per cent of the total volume traded. The fresh convulsions in the domestic market come even as global rubber prices languish at 30-year lows due to a supply glut, forcing major producers to announce a 4 per cent production cut for 2002 and 2003.
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