The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 19-10-2020

MSP Myths

  • The authors in this article tries to bust some myths vis-à-vis MSP and the reforms in the agriculture sector. The authors explain the difference between facts and factoids; facts are those that are the truth and are relevant but factoids are those unreliable and irrelevant pieces of information that is reported and repeated so many times that it eventually becomes a fact.
  • The factoids about MSP are as follows:
    • It is only applicable to the crops of wheat and rice
    • Only 6% farmers in the country are making use of the same
    • Only large farmers benefit from the same
    • Only farmers from Punjab and Haryana benefit from the same
  • The reality is as follows and this is in accordance to the data provided by FCI or the Food Corporation of India and the NSS or the National Sample Survey/
  • Though procurement for paddy and wheat is considerably high, it is wrong to quote that it is only done for paddy and wheat.
  • MSP benefits not only Punjab and Haryana but also several other states as Chhattisgarh and Odisha have been star performers in the production of Paddy also the state of Madhya Pradesh among others has been a great performer in terms of production of Paddy. Hence, it makes sense.
  • Small and marginal farmers benefit well in this regard and its not just large farmers. Talking about Paddy, the sellers include only 1% of large farmers, 70% of them are small and marginal farmers and rest are all medium farmers. About wheat, only 3% are large farmers, 56% are small and marginal and rest are medium. So it can be easily said that its not the large farmers who only get the benefit of MSP but almost all segments.
  • In the states apart from Punjab and Haryana, more than half the farmers are small and marginal farmers.
  • Hence, MSP as a regime benefits not just once segment of the population but almost all segments are gaining the benefit of the same.
  • The consequence of MSP on diversification has to be examines and talking about the Punjabi farmers 21-37% did not cultivate Paddy and wheat and this points out the procurement has not prevented diversification.
  • The APMCs or the Mandis are vital for the MSP and public procurement as it is not true that most farmers only sell to the private traders and not in APMCs. They need mandi to sell their produce when market prices fall very low.
  • Hence these are various things that have to be taken into consideration when various policy reforms are to be discussed in this regard.

Indo Bangla Relations

  • The latest virtual summit between the PMs of India and Bangladesh is quite vital and it aimed at refurbishing the ties between the two nations. The two PMs spoke about border cooperation, COVID 19 cooperation also economic cooperation.
  • We need our relationship to be revitalized as we have gone through several issues in this regard. The issues are as follows:
    • The border incidents where since the start of 2020 over 25 Bangladeshis have died at the border at the hands of the Indian armed forces.
    • The Teesta water dispute is still a pending issue
    • The calling of CAA and NRC as ‘unnecessary’ by the Bangladeshi PM
    • Most importantly, the role of China in wooing Bangladesh with regards to infrastructure, investment and Economic cooperation
  • Bangladesh is important for us, as it is a key pillar of our neighborhood first policy and is our largest trading partner in South Asian region.
  • The invitation to PM Modi in the celebration 50th anniversary of independence marks a key change and this was needed to revitalize the relations.
  • Hasina is strong willed woman and has bought in several changes with regards to administration and suffers severe backlash from the opposition and the local elements; what India can do is support her in the same and appreciate these reforms with a broad mind and without any ideological inclination.  
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