Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 13 June 2023
- MSP Hike: Effect on Farmers and Reform Calls
- Improved Nutrition for Adolescent Girls: A Future Investment for India
MSP Hike: Effect on Farmers and Reform Calls
The government has announced an increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for this year’s summer (kharif) season crops in an effort to guarantee farmers fair pricing and promote crop diversification. However, there is still a need for extensive reforms and farmer unhappiness.
GS Paper 3: Agriculture
Crop variety is crucial for environmentally conscious farming and sustainable agriculture. Examine how crop diversification initiatives are hampered by MSP’s inadequate implementation and the absence of different crops from MSP purchases. Discuss how a legal status for MSP could help farmers’ incomes and crop diversity. (150 words)
MSP and Its Purpose:
Despite its intended advantages, farmers encounter difficulties such as delayed procurement, exploitation by commission agents offering prices below MSP, and lack of awareness. Farmers demand a legal status for MSP as well as an assured market mechanism to ensure their produce is purchased at the MSP.
MSP Announcement by the Government:
The government just announced the MSP for 17 kharif commodities, including cotton, rice, pulses, and oilseeds, for the marketing year 2023–2024. The government asserts that this year’s raise is the biggest in comparison to prior years, and it is consistent with the Union Budget 2018-19’s goal of giving farmers a generally decent wage.
Farmers’ Concerns and Suggestions:
- A number of farmer organisations have complained that the most recent MSP is insufficient. It is anticipated that rising input costs and an unfair MSP would result in greater farmer debt.
- Their displeasure is made worse by the broken promise of implementing the Swaminathan Commission’s suggestion of C2+50% (comprehensive cost of production). Farmers suggest making MSP a legal requirement, obliging the state and private parties to buy crops at MSP and guaranteeing a fair price.
- Economist Dr. Ranjit Singh Ghuman emphasises the importance of implementing MSP effectively and purchasing crops at MSP, particularly for different crops, in order to increase crop diversity and farmer income.
- Experts believe that an increase in the MSP may give a slight respite to growers, but argue that in the absence of any dependable or assured market mechanism of procurement-purchase for crops on the MSP in most parts of the country, the purpose of encouraging “crop diversification” gets defeated.
- Ensuring a legal status for MSP would compel private players to procure crops at MSP, benefiting both farmers and the environment.
- It is noteworthy that the country’s food grain stocks are at a comfortable level. According to third advance estimates for 2022–2023 the country’s total food grain production is expected to reach a record 330.5 million tonnes, up 14.9 million tonnes from 2021–2022; however, a delay in the monsoon season may have an impact on non-irrigated regions.
By giving farmers fair rewards while maintaining affordable prices for consumers, the MSP increase seeks to create a compromise between the interests of farmers and consumers. However, the current state of discontent among farmers necessitates more thorough reforms. The income of farmers might be increased and their financial suffering alleviated by ensuring an efficient system for assured purchase and returns at MSP for important commodities like wheat and rice or by increasing subsidies on input costs.
Improved Nutrition for Adolescent Girls: A Future Investment for India
- The right diet for adolescent girls is essential to maximising India’s potential. Adolescence is a critical era in the development of cognitive abilities, and ensuring appropriate nutrition during this “second window of opportunity for growth” makes up for any dietary shortages that may have occurred earlier in the developmental process.
- Additionally, as improved nutrition increases young girls’ chances of participating in productive activities, their health is a key predictor of women’s long-term labour force participation in India.
- Thus, there is a huge opportunity to support India’s demographic dividend by funding nutrition programmes for adolescent females.
GS Paper 2: Health and Nutrition
Analyse critically the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) and other awareness and nutrition education initiatives now being offered to adolescent girls. Make recommendations for ways to make these programmes stronger and guarantee ongoing beneficiary compliance. (250 Words)
Increasing Nutritional Issues
- Because of the advent of menstruation, teenage girls are particularly susceptible to undernutrition and anaemia.
- According to alarming data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019–21), 59.1% of adolescent females in India are anaemic.
- The NFHS-4 statistics also revealed a concerning trend, with over 41.9% of enrolled girls being underweight.
- Adolescent girls’ consumption of nutrition is poor for a number of reasons, including environmental circumstances and cultural norms that don’t promote gender equality in households.
Consequences of Undernutrition in Adolescent Girls
- It might have serious repercussions to ignore adolescent girls’ dietary needs. Diets that are inadequately balanced and balanced can cause cognitive problems that have an impact on academic performance.
- Lower educational attainment consequently reduces opportunities for employment and financial independence later in life. Additionally, undernourished adolescent girls have higher risks of developing chronic illnesses and experiencing complications during pregnancy, placing a greater financial burden on families and communities in terms of healthcare. These elements may result in increasing poverty and financial instability.
- Girls’ capacity to fully participate in society—through work, politics, or community involvement—is reduced when they are less healthy and less educated.
Interventions are redefined
- Redefining programmes that emphasise not only nutrition but also a life-cycle perspective and ensuring inclusion is crucial.
- This strategy guarantees that no adolescent girl is left behind, improving health outcomes and ending the poverty cycle between generations.
- The state’s investment in adolescent girls’ nutrition becomes both a moral and a practical need. Future generations will be healthier because girls who receive proper nutrition are more likely to have healthy offspring and care for their families better.
Strategic Changes for Enhanced Results
- Governmental initiatives that are convergent The effectiveness of current therapies can be considerably improved by strategic changes.
- A positive development is the consolidation of government programmes under the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) 2.0, including the Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG).
- To have the greatest influence on the nutrition of adolescent girls, these efforts must be implemented effectively.
7 Pillars of POSHAN 2.0
1. Common Application Software, or ICDS
2. Education and capacity development
3. Grievance Resolution
6. Behavioural Modification
- Strengthening Awareness and Nutrition Education Programmes: Adolescent-focused programmes that are specifically targeted, such as Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), may include robust awareness and nutrition education programmes. These programmes will support beneficiary compliance and encourage healthy eating habits among adolescent girls.
- Targeted SBCC activities for Demand Generation; Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) activities with a regional context might increase the demand for and uptake of healthy eating habits among adolescent females. These focused initiatives can address social norms and environmental issues that prevent people from consuming enough nourishment, leading to a shift in behaviour.
- Effective Convergence and Collaborations Among Departments: In order to obtain better results, it is crucial that relevant departments work together effectively. A joint effort by the departments of health, education, and social welfare can maximise resources, streamline processes, and improve the effectiveness of treatments.
- Regular Training of Health Workers for Implementation: Health workers must receive regular training to guarantee the successful implementation and oversight of various programmes. It allows them to adjust to a changing environment and provide effective nutrition interventions to adolescent girls all around the nation.
- Using Data and Evidence: Disaggregated data access is essential for successful interpretation and comprehension of the unique difficulties faced by various regions and demographic groups. It makes it possible for stakeholders and policymakers to better allocate resources and customise actions.
One of the most important tasks for developing a stronger India is giving adolescent girls’ nutritional requirements top priority. We can significantly improve adolescent girl nutrition by reframing interventions, making strategic changes, using research and data, and carrying out our roles as elected representatives. We can build a healthier, stronger, and more successful country where every girl may realise her full potential through concerted efforts and persistent focus.