Agriculture
 
A suggestion for WTO negotiations
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 02 Dec 2013

India’s new food security law is likely to breach WTO’s limit on farmer support. India is keen to ask for a temporary exemption from the rule so that the law can be implemented unhindered. But, in return, it may have to agree on trade facilitation. This article argues that while our food procurement policies do need reform, there is no link between the food security law and free trade.
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Do the poor need genetically modified crops?
Milind Murugkar
Posted on: 22 Nov 2013

Field trials of a few genetically modified crops were recently put on hold by the Environment Ministry. This article asserts that the decision reflects an ideological resistance to and suspicion about the technology, which is at odds with the government’s stated policy of using GM crops for the benefit of rural poor. It argues that GM crops can go a long way in helping farmers by improving crop yields.
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The Jaitley Budget: Planning for crisis
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 23 Jun 2014

El Nino can potentially derail the best-laid plans of the new government in India. The article contends that the finance minister would do well to plan his first Budget by attaching a reasonable probability to a food crisis this year. The Budget will need to be as much about creating a basis for successful crisis action later in the year as about launching epochal reforms now.
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Protectionism under the guise of food security
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 10 Aug 2014
Topics:   Trade , Agriculture

India has backed out of the commitment it made at the WTO negotiations in Bali in November 2013. The implicit explanation is that the government needs to accumulate food grain stocks to provide subsidised grain to the poor and ensure food security. In this article, Kotwal, Murugkar and Ramaswami critique this reasoning and India’s position on the issue.
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The crisis of farmer suicides
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 04 May 2015

More than 15,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide per year, on average, in the last two decades – a suicide rate that appears to be higher than that of the general population. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak emphasises the need to think of farmer suicides as a policy problem, rather than tragedy, and to deliberate on the causes and remedies.
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Bovine economics
Shanta Gokhale
Posted on: 08 Apr 2015
Topics:   Agriculture
Tags:   Maharashtra

About a month ago, the state government of Maharashtra instituted a ban on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, in addition to the existing ban on the slaughter of cows. In this article, Shanta Gokhale discusses the economic consequences of the move on farmers.
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Transforming Indian agriculture: The role of credit policy
Amartya Lahiri , Dilip Mookherjee
Posted on: 14 Dec 2015
Topics:   Finance , Agriculture

Despite various policy attempts at priority sector lending to poor farmers, very little progress has been made on the ground, suggesting problems in the design and implementation of these policies. In this article, Amartya Lahiri and Dilip Mookherjee and explore where the problem really lies and what can be done to address the issues.
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Some reflections on the National Food Security Act
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 10 Dec 2013

The Food Security Bill became an Act with little parliamentary opposition. Yet the public debate has lingered. Would subsidised food grains reduce malnutrition? Won’t it be better to invest in health and education instead? Can we afford the cost of subsidising food for such a large chunk of the population? Should we continue to waste money on the flawed PDS system? How will the grain markets be affected? This column offers a perspective on these important questions.
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Demonetisation and agricultural markets
Nidhi Aggarwal , Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 30 Nov 2016

In this article, Aggarwal and Narayanan contend that demonetisation alone cannot turn agricultural markets cashless. Such a shift would require sustained and focussed effort to expand the reach of formal institutions, especially for credit and storage.
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Bali conundrum: WTO and Indian agriculture
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 15 Jan 2014

The outcome of the recent WTO meetings at Bali is a stopgap arrangement, which implies that the Indian government does not have to make any changes in the implementation of the new Food Security Act in the near future. In this article, the authors suggest disentangling consumer support and producer support via cash transfers so that India can build a safety net for its poor without violating WTO agreements.
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