Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Particulars of the Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index
Mains level: Read the attached story
Rewarding high-performing States
- States may soon start receiving extra funding for the Agri Ministry’s flagship schemes on the basis of their performance in encouraging agri-business
- This is especially with regard to marketing, land and governance reforms.
- An online dashboard to track State performances will be developed by the year-end, and a national level workshop to roll out the Index will be held in January 2019, according to the concept note’s timelines.
Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index
- The Centre expects to roll out a new Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index which will rank the States on the basis of such reforms, as well as their investment in agriculture, increased productivity, reduction of input costs, and risk mitigation measures.
- The Agri Ministry will consider rewarding the higher performing States both in absolute and incremental terms by linking the performance with allocation from flexi funds made available in various flagship.
- NITI Aayog already brings out a Agricultural Marketing and Farm Friendly Reforms Index, rating States on their implementation of such reforms.
- In the initial edition of that Index in 2016, Maharashtra stood first in the rankings, followed by Gujarat.
- The proposed index has a wider ambit, but the focus is still on reforms, with marketing reforms (25%) and governance and land reforms (20%) carrying almost half of the weight of the parameters in its scoring system.
- The parameters are process-oriented, and are meant to evolve as and when new reforms or initiatives are proposed, says the concept note.
- As agriculture is a State subject, the success of policies and reform initiatives proposed at the Centre is dependent on implementation by the States.
- To ensure that reform agenda of the government is implemented at a desired pace by all State governments, there is a need to develop a competitive spirit between the States.
Other Parameters: Soil health cards
- Another major parameter which States will be rated on is their success in reducing the cost of farm inputs (20%) by distributing soil health cards and encouraging organic farming and micro-irrigation.
- Risk mitigation measures such as crop and livestock insurance carry a 15% weightage, while increased productivity and investment in agriculture carry a 10% weight each.