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23rd October – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Contents

  1. Healthy and wise
  2. Politics of economics (Labour Reforms)

Healthy and wise

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on World Food Day spoke at length about how the government is incentivising the production of nutri-cereals to increase the intake of diverse and nutritious diets, improve their availability in markets and bring benefits to small and medium farmers, who are the main cultivators of coarse grains.

Relevance:

GS Paper 2: Social Sector & Social Services (health, education, human resources – issues in development, management);

GS Paper 3: Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices;

Mains Questions:

  1. How has the emphasis on certain crops brought about changes in cropping patterns in recent past? Elaborate the emphasis on millets production and consumption. 15 marks
  2. What are the major reasons for declining rice and wheat yield in the cropping system? How crop diversification is helpful to stabilize the yield of the crop in the system? 15 marks
  3. How do subsidies affect the cropping pattern, crop diversity and economy of farmers? What is the significance of crop insurance, minimum support price and food processing for small and marginal farmers? 15 marks

Dimensions of the topic:

  • What is cropping pattern?
  • Cropping pattern in India.
  • Changing of cropping pattern in India.
  • Consequences of cropping pattern.
  • Measures  to reforms the cropping pattern in India.
  • Way forward

What is cropping pattern?

Cropping pattern is basically the nature and variety of crops grown both spatially and temporally in an area or a geographical region. In spatial terms, it is what different type of crops grown in adjacent lands of a region. In temporal terms, it is the nature of crops that are taken up in a specific land over different agrarian seasons of an year(like kharif-rainy, rabi-winter, zaid-summer).. It depends upon following factors:-

  • Infrastructure facilities: Irrigation, transport, storage, trade and marketing, post-harvest handling and processing etc.
  • Socio-economic factors: Financial resource base, land ownership, size and type of land holding, household needs of food, fodder, fuel, fibre and finance, and labour availability etc.
  • Technological factors: Enhanced varieties, cultural requirements, mechanization, plant protection, access to information, etc.

Cropping pattern in India:

Cropping pattern in India is determined mainly by rainfall, climate, temperature and soil type. Technology also plays a pivotal role in determining crop pattern. Example, the adoption of High Yield Varieties Seeds along with fertilisers in the mid 1960’s in the regions of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh increased wheat production significantly. Following are the major cropping pattern in India:-

  • Rice-wheat: UP, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh
  • Rice-Rice: Irrigated and Humid coastal system of Orrisa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
  • Rice- Groundnuts: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orrisa and Maharashtra.
  • Rice-Pulses: Chhattisgarh, Orrisa and Bihar.
  • Maize-Wheat: UP, Rajasthan, MP and Bihar
  • Sugarcane-Wheat: UP, Punjab and Haryana accounts for 68% of the area under sugarcane. The other states which cover the crops are; Karnataka and MP.
  • Cotton-Wheat: Punjab, Haryana, West UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.
  • Soybean-Wheat: Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan
  • Legume Based Cropping Systems (Pulses-Oilseeds): MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
SL NO. 
2. 
3. 
4. 
Types of Crops 
Food grains 
Commercial 
Crops 
Plantation Crops 
Horticulture 
Meaning 
Crops that are used for human 
consumption 
Crops which are grown for sale either in 
raw form or in semi-processed form 
Crops which are grown on Plantations 
covering large estates 
Sections of agriculture in which Fruits and 
Vegitables are grown 
Major Crops 
Rice, Wheat, Maize, Millets, 
Pulses and Oilseeds 
Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane, 
Tobaccco and Oilseeds 
Tea, Coffee, Coconut and 
Rubber 
Fruits and Vegitables
See the source image

Causes of changing of cropping pattern in India: Cropping pattern depends multiple factors, in India cropping pattern changed due to following factors:

Pre Green Revolution Phase:

  • During Independence, about 3/4th of the total area was under food crops and there was very little diversification in the pattern of cropping and almost entire Great Plain of North India was dominated by the food crops including sugarcane.
  • Tea in Assam, Cotton in Maharashtra, Jute in West Bengal were the other major crops.

Green Revolution Phase:

  • During Green Revolution, the introduction of MSP (Minimum Support Price) gave a major impetus to the farmers choice of crops and in the Green Revolution heartland, the repetitive kind of cropping pattern with wheat-rice predominance was in existence.
  • During this phase, the main aim of Indian Agriculture system was to attain self-sufficiency in food production and by late 1980 s India was able to attain self-sufficiency in Food grains.
  • Green Revolution led to the development of intensive agriculture production system which accelerated agriculture production.
  • Towards the end of this phase commercial dimension entered into Indian Farm sector.

Economic Reforms Phase:

  • Globalisation brought in new opportunities for the Agricultural export and at the same time, it also led to competition from other countries due to a cheaper cost of production in other countries.
  • Corporate and Contract Farming was introduced in India for mobilising investment in the agriculture sector.
  • The diversification in cropping pattern has shown its impact and cropping pattern has turned more complex as non-food crop became more prominent.
  • Agriculture was declared the Prime Moving Force of the economy.
  • With the introduction of NFSA (National Food Security Act), issue of food security has been highlighted again and this may further promote monoculture as it motivates Rice and Wheat as a staple crop by subsidising them.

Consequences of changing cropping pattern in India:

  • Shifting from nutri cereal to wheat and rice: Because of it, the poor people deprived from nutritious food like jawar, bajra and ragi e.g. In Global Hunger Index, India’s rank is 93.
  • Depletion of ground water: the farmers started to grow non climatic crops like paddy, sugarcane in rainfed regions which depleted the ground water specially in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra etc.
  • Depletion of soil fertility: indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and water reduced the fertility of soils.

Measures to address these problems:

  • Focussing on nutri crops like millets: High in dietary fibre, nutri-cereals are a powerhouse of nutrients including iron, folate, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, vitamins and antioxidants. They are not only important for the healthy growth and development of children but have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in adults.
  • Increase the MSP for nutri cereal: the government increased the MSP of millets that is in good direction.
  • Market accessibility: the government should create competitive markets for nutri cereals so that farmers can get good price e.g. The NAM is in good initiative.
  • Crop diversification: the government should focus on rainfed crops.

Way forward:

As the government sets to achieve its agenda of a malnutrition-free India and doubling of farmers’ incomes, the promotion of the production and consumption of nutri-cereals seems to be a policy shift in the right direction. Instead of working in silos, this multi-ministerial policy framework is a strategic move towards building an Atmanirbhar Bharat which resonates with the global call for self-sufficiency and sustainable development.

Background:

1:  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): It is a specialised agency of the  UN that leads international efforts to defeat  hunger and improve nutrition and  food security.

  • Headquarter: Rome, Italy
  • declaring 2023 as the “International Year of Millets”

Politics of economics (Labour Reforms)

Context:

The relative bargaining power of capital in relation to labour will continue to radically favour capital.

Relevance:

GS Paper 2: Indian Economy (issues re: planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development, employment); Inclusive growth and issues therein.

Mains questions:

  1. While we found India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability. What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain. 15 marks
  2. To capitalize on its demographic dividend, India must create well-paying, high productivity jobs. Discuss. 15 marks

Dimensions:

  • What is unemployment and its types?
  • What are the cause of unemployment?
  • What is current status of employment in India?
  • What are the constraints related to employment in India?
  • Measures to improve the status of employment in India?
  • Way forward

What is unemployment and its types?

Unemployment as “involuntary idleness of a person willing to work at the prevailing rate of pay but unable to find it.” Voluntarily unemployed persons who do not want to work like the idle rich, are not considered unemployed.  Generally unemployment is three types cyclical, structural, and frictional.

See the source image
  • Frictional Unemployment: Frictional unemployment exists when there is lack of adjustment between demand for and supply of labour. It is also caused by lack of necessary skills for a particular job, labour immobility, breakdowns of machinery, shortages of raw materials, etc.
  • Seasonal Unemployment: Seasonal unemployment results from seasonal fluctuations in demand. Employment in ice factories is only for the summer.
  • Cyclical Unemployment: Cyclical unemployment arises due to cyclical fluctuations in the economy.  It is during the downswing of the business cycle that income and output fall leading to widespread unemployment.
  • Structural unemployment: Structure employment results may be variety of causes.  It may be due to lack of the co-operant factors of production, or changes in the economic structure of the society.
  • Disguised unemployment:  A person is said to be disguised unemployed if his contribution to output is less that what he can produce by working for normal hour per day.

Causes of unemployment:

See the source image

Status of unemployment in India:

  • India’s total workforce of about 52 crore, agriculture employed nearly 49 per cent while contributing only 15 per cent of the GVA. In contrast, only about 29 per cent of China’s workforce was employed in agriculture .
  • Industry and services accounted for 13.7 and 37.5 per cent of employment while making up for 23 per cent and 62 per cent of GVA, respectively.
  • As per the National Sample Survey (NSS) 73rd round, for the period 2015-16, there were 6.34 crore unincorporated non-agricultural micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country engaged in different economic activities providing employment to 11.10 crore workers.
  • India’s informal sector employs approximately 85 per cent of all workers.
  • The female labour force participation rate in India was 23.7 per cent in 2011-124 compared to 61 per cent in China, 56 per cent in the United States.
Figure 2.1: Share of workforce employed in agriculture 
50% 
45% 
35% 
30% 
25% 
20% 
15% 
10% 
5% 
0% 
Source: NSSO; World Bank 
49% 
India 
29% 
China 
14.50% 
Brazil 
4.60% 
South Africa

Constraints regarding employment:

  • Productivity across all sectors:  A large share of India’s workforce is employed in low productivity activities with low levels of remuneration.
  • Protection and social security:  A large number of workers that are engaged in the unorganized sector are not covered by labour regulations and social security. The multiplicity and complexity of laws makes compliance and enforcement difficult.
  • Skills: According to the India Skill Report 2018, only 47 per cent of those coming out of higher educational institutions are employable.
  • Employment data: We currently lack timely and periodic estimates of the work force. This lack of data prevents us from rigorously monitoring the employment situation and assessing the impact of various interventions to create jobs.

Measures to improve the status of employment in India:

  • Enhance skill and apprenticeship: The Labour Market Information System (LMIS) is important for identifying skill shortages, training needs and employment created.
  • Labour law reforms: One of the government’s key initiatives is to rationalize 38 central labour laws into four codes, namely wages, safety and working conditions, industrial relations, and social security and welfare. The National Policy for Domestic Workers needs to be brought in at the earliest to recognize their rights and promote better working conditions.
  • Enhance female labour force participation: Ensure the implementation of and employers’ adherence to the recently passed Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
  • Increase data collection on employment: Increase the use of administrative data viz. EPFO, ESIC and the NPS to track regularly the state of employment while adjusting for the formalization of the workforce.
  • Ease industrial relation to encourage formalisation: Strengthen labour courts/tribunals for timely dispute resolution and set a time frame for different disputes.
  • Wages: Enforce the payment of wages through cheque or Aadhaar-enabled payments for all.
  • Working conditions and social security: Enact a comprehensive occupational health and safety legislation based on risk assessment, employer-worker co-operation, and effective educational, remedial and sanctioning. Workers housing on site will help to improve global competitiveness of Indian industry, along with enhancing workers’ welfare.

Way forward:

Encourage increased formalization of the labour force by reforming labour laws, easing of industrial relations and ensuring of fair wages, working conditions and social security through significant productivity improvements in the economy.

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September 2022
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