QUESTION : Discuss the role of land reforms in agricultural development and identify the factors that were responsible for the success of land reforms in India.
Topic- MAKING AGRICULTURAL MARKET REFORMS SUCCESSFUL
- Agricultural Market Reforms
WHY IN NEWS ?
- The recent reforms in agricultural marketing have brought a sea change in policy. However, there are several difficulties that need to be addressed before the full benefits of these policies are realised.
RECENT AGRARIAN REFORMS :
In order to revive the Indian economy, the Centre government has announced the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. As a part of it, the plan also focuses on bringing farm sector reforms.
It includes the announcement of Rs 1-lakh crore fund to finance agriculture infrastructure projects at the farm gate and produce aggregation points. Also, Rs 500 crore has been allocated to extended Operation Greens which comprises Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes (TOP) to ALL fruits and vegetables (TOTAL).
- Model Contract Farming, 2018: It allowed contract farming, in notified commodities; the price was determined by government rules; and each contract had to be registered with a district authority.
- Amending the Essential Commodities Act to deregulate trading practices in agricultural markets (mandis).
o The changes to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, will “deregulate” various agricultural commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from stock limits, except in case of natural calamities like famine. It will allow farmers to sell their crop to anyone.
o This will remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, provides a framework for farmers to enter into direct contracts with those who wish to buy farm produce.
o So far, a farmer cannot directly sell his produce to consumers or food processing companies; he has to go through a licenced trader as per the APMC Act.
o But from now on, any farmer may enter into a contract with any person or company to sell his produce.
Solving the APMC problems.
o Dispute resolution: Instead of using the regular judiciary for dispute resolution between parties, the ordinance delegates dispute resolution to the executive (sub-divisional magistrate), who will not be bound by rules of procedure.
- With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, E-NAM has been scaled up to cover 415 more markets, farmers have been allowed to sell and transport directly from registered warehouses and Farmer Produce Organisations (FPOs) and app-based transport services have been devised.
CONCERNS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR :
- Policy reversals: In 2016, the electronic national agricultural market (e-NAM) was intended to be a market-based mechanism for efficient price discovery by the farmers.
- PM-AASHA launched: As a result, the government reverted back to public price support by launching PM-AASHA.
- The main objective of this programme was to provide an assured price to farmers that ensured a return of at least 50% more than the cost of cultivation.
- The programme was confined to pulses and oilseeds to limit the fiscal costs.
- Public procurement, deficiency payments and private procurement were the main planks of this programme.
- Deficiency payments were only implemented on a pilot basis in Madhya Pradesh and private procurement was not initiated in any State.
- Budgetary constraints: The initial outlay further dwindled to ₹321 crore in 2019-2020 and only ₹500 crore have been earmarked in 2020-2021.
- PM KISAN launched: This uninspiring performance of PM-AASHA necessitated a more radical and direct approach. Thus evolved the PM-KISAN, a direct cash transfer programme.
- Issues with the PM-KISAN: This programme involved a fixed payment of ₹6,000 per annum to each farm household with a budgetary outlay of ₹75,000 crore. This programme has worked reasonably well.
- Issues with the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection)
Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance:
o While the ordinance is a positive move towards freedom of contracting, it leaves the potential for government interference in two areas: Executive adjudication and suo motu litigation.
- Multiple market failures and the inter-linkage of rural markets:
o Absence of credit and insurance markets may lead a farmer to depend upon the middleman to meet his/her farming needs and constrain his choice of output markets.
APMC ACT :
- In the majority of the states, under the APMC acts, farmers are required to sell a large number of commodities in a local mandi where intermediaries often manipulate the price.
- Thus, APMC markets have become monopsonistic (too many sellers and one buyer) with high intermediation costs.
WHY IS AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SO IMPORTANT :
- Advanced agricultural practices resulted in the surplus production which changed the subsistence face of Indian agriculture.
- Approximately 33% of the output of food grains, pulses and nearly all of the productions of cash crops like cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds etc. are marketed as they remain surplus after meeting the consumption needs of the farmers.
- As agriculture sector produces raw materials for many of the other industries, marketing of such commercial products assumes significance.
- Increased efficiency of the marketing mechanisms would result in the distribution of products at lower prices to consumers having a direct bearing on national income.
- An improved marketing system will stimulate the growth in the number of agro-based industries mainly in the field of processing.
FEATURES OF NAM:
- NAM is a “virtual” market but it has a physical market (mandi) at the back end.
- NAM creates a unified market through online trading platform both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity.
- The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services.
- While the material flow of agriculture produce continues to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON INDIAN AGRICULTURE :
1) Peak harvest with no procurement :
- This is the peak of Rabi season in India and crops like wheat, gram, lentil, mustard, etc. (including paddy in irrigated tracts) were at a harvestable stage or almost reaching maturity.
- This is also the time when the farm harvests reach the mandis for assured procurement operations by designated government agencies.
2) Labour unavailability due to reverse migration :
- The non-availability of labour has hurt operations in many parts.
- Consequently, the shortage of migrant labour has resulted in a sharp increase in daily wages for harvesting crops.
- Some parts of agriculture that have the luxury of deploying technology for harvestings, like Paddy and Wheat, are relatively more insulated since they often do not have to depend on large numbers of manual labour.
3) Fall in prices :
- Agricultural prices have collapsed due to lack of market access including the stoppage of transportation and closure of borders.
- The rise in labour costs and lack of access means that farmers are staring at huge losses and hence allowing crops to rot in the fields, a better ‘stop-loss’ mechanism.
4) Scarcity of public goods :
- Making the food grains, fruits and vegetables and other essential items available to consumers, both in rural and urban areas, is the most critical challenge.
- Transportation of public distribution system (PDS) items to last-mile delivery agents, by both rail and road, has been severely impacted in the beginning.
5) Restrictions on Sale :
- There were self-imposed restrictions on the inter- and intra-State movements of farmers/labourers, as well as harvesting and related farm machines.
6) Disruptions in supply-chain :
- The absence of transport facilities clubbed with vigilant blocking roads has a limiting effect on the movement of migratory harvest labour and agri-machinery.
- Also, trucks and tractors are not inclusive of ‘farm machinery’ by definition.
7) Lockdown induced debt and Cash Flow Constraints :
- The most important issue that farmers have to surmount is the problem of repaying their crop loans, gold loans and other informal debts.
- Consistency in policy, collaborative approach and complementary reforms are necessary for the success of the recent agricultural market reforms .
QUESTION : Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development?
Topic- THE UNCHARTED TERRITORY OF OUTER SURFACE
- Outer Space And Its Challenges
WHY IN NEWS ?
- The article analyses opportunities and challenges the outer space technology offers to us.
- Space has always fascinated humans. Outer space has been the arena of some of the most memorable technology demonstrations starting from Russia’s Sputnik and the U.S.’s Apollo 11. ForIndia, Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan are symbols of national pride.
OUTER SPACE :
- Outer space is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and between celestial bodies.
- Outer space is not empty but contains a low density of particles (predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium) as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust, and cosmic rays.
- The Karman line at an altitude of 100 km above sea level, is conventionally used as the start of outer space in space treaties and for aerospace records keeping.
- The framework for international space law was established by the Outer Space Treaty, which entered into force on 10 October 1967.
- Despite the drafting of UN resolutions for the peaceful uses of outer space, anti-satellite weapons have been tested in Earth orbit.
DECLARATIONS OF UNITED NATIONS :
- The Outer Space Treaty (1967): Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
- The Rescue Agreement (1968): Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
- The Liability Convention (1972): Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects.
- The Registration Convention (1976): Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
- The Moon Agreement (1984): Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
OUTER SPACE TREATY 1967 :
- The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies forms the basis of international space law.
- It prevents any claims of national sovereignty and permits all states to freely explore outer space.
- It entered into force on 10 October 1967. India signed it in 1967.
- As of June 2020, 110 countries are parties to treaty including the US, Russia, China, and India.
IMPORTANT PROHIBITION :
- Prohibits placing of nuclear weapons in space.
- Limits the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only.
- Establishes that space shall be free for exploration and use by all nations, but that no nation may claim sovereignty of outer space or any celestial body.
- It does not ban military activities within space, military space forces, or the weaponization of space, except the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space.
- It is mostly a non-armament treaty and offers insufficient regulations to newer space activities such as lunar and asteroid mining.
EMERGING TRENDS IN SPACE INDUSTRY :
- The price for reaching low Earth orbit has declined by a factor of 20 in a decade.
- It enhances human space travel possibilities by leveraging new commercial capabilities.
- According to a Bank of America Report, the $350 billion space market today will touch $2.7 trillion by 2050.
- Starlink, the constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide global Internet access, plans more than 10,000 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit.
- In a decade, 80,000 such satellites could be in space compared to less than 3,000 at present.
- Companies such as Planet, Spire Global and Iceye are using orbital vantage points to collect and analyse data to deliver fresh insights in weather forecasting, global logistics, crop harvesting and disaster response.
- Space could prove attractive for high-tech manufacturing too.
1) Governance of outer space:
- Framework for governance of outer space as it becomes democratised, commercialised and crowded is becoming obsolescent.
- The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 enshrines the idea that space should be “the province of all mankind” and “not subject to national appropriation by claims of sovereignty”.
- The Rescue Agreement, Space Liability Convention, and the Space Registration Convention expanded provisions of the Outer Space Treaty.
- The Moon Treaty of 1979 was not ratified by major space-faring nations.
- Space law does not have a dispute settlement mechanism, is silent on collisions and debris, and offers insufficient guidance on interference with others’ space assets.
- These gaps heighten the potential for conflict in an era of congested orbits and breakneck technological change.
2) Acknowledging role of non-state entities:
- The legal framework related to outre space is state-centric, placing responsibility on states alone.
- However, non-state entities are now in the fray for commercial space exploration and utilisation.
- Some states are providing frameworks for resource recovery through private enterprises.
- Some scholars and governments view this as against the principle of national non-appropriation, violating the spirit if not the letter of the existing space law.
- The lack of alignment of domestic and international normative frameworks risks a damaging free-for-all competition for celestial resources involving actors outside the space framework.
3) The arms race in outer space :
- The space arms race is difficult to curb, especially since almost all space technologies have military applications.
- For example, satellite constellations are commercial but governments could acquire their data to monitor military movements.
- Investment in technologies that can disrupt or destroy space-based capabilities is under way.
- Despite concerns about military activity in outer space for long, not much progress has been made in addressing them.
- The UN General Assembly passes a resolution on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space since 1982.
ISSUE OF SPACE DEBRIS :
- A satellite that is destroyed by a missile disintegrates into small pieces, and adds to the space debris. The free floating space debris is a potential hazard for operational satellites and colliding with them can leave the satellites dysfunctional.
- With countries launching more and more satellites, each one of them being a strategic or commercial asset, avoiding collisions could become a challenge in the future
INDIA’S ACHIEVEMENTS IN SPACE S&T :
- Mars Orbiter Mission: India’s first inter planetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was successfully launched onboard PSLV-C25. It made India to become one of the four nations in the world to send space mission to Planet Mars.
- PSLV – A Workhorse Launch Vehicle: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), with a proven track record of 24 successful flights, has provided the country the crucial autonomy in ‘access to space’. During the last decade, PSLV had 15 successively successful flights and has placed 23 Indian satellites and 31 foreign satellites into orbit.
- India’s Mission to Moon: India’s maiden moon exploration mission ‘Chandrayaan-1’ was launched in October 2008 for mapping the lunar surface with high resolution remote sensing and study the chemical and mineralogical composition. This mission has enabled to detect the presence water molecules on the lunar surface, which has set new directions of lunar explorations in the global community. Recently Chandrayaan 2 successfully put orbiter in moon’s orbit but failed to do soft landing on moon.
- Indian Cryogenic Engine & Stage: The successful flight testing of indigenous cryogenic stage onboard GSLV-D5 Flight. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is capable of placing 2 Tonne class communication satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and India is one among six countries in the world to demonstrate such launch capability to GTO with the use of complex cryogenic technology.
- Remote Sensing and National Natural Resource Management System: The Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) System, with currently 11 satellites in orbit, is one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation in the world today. It provides inputs for management of natural resources and various developmental projects across the country using space based imagery.
- Space Capsule Recovery: A leap-frog in Indian Launch Vehicle Technology was achieved in 2007 through the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment Mission SRE-1 which established India’s technological capability to recover an orbiting satellite with precise re-entry trajectories.
ABOUT ISRO :
- ISRO is the space agency under the Department of Space of Government of India, headquartered in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka.
- Its vision is to harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.
- Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) and NSIL are Marketing arms of ISRO for promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, technical consultancy services and transfer of technologies developed by ISRO
NEED FOR SPACE LEGISLATION IN INDIA:
- India has invested enormous resources in its space programme through the Indian Space Research Organisation.
- More importantly, our space assets are crucial for India’s development.
- The proposed involvement of private players and the creation of an autonomous body IN-SPACe for permitting and regulating activities of the private sector are welcome efforts.
- However, the space environment that India faces requires us to go beyond meeting technical milestones.
- We need a space legislation enabling coherence across technical, legal, commercial, diplomatic and defence goals.
- Our space vision also needs to address global governance, regulatory and arms control issues. As space opens up our space vision needs broadening too.
WAY FORWARD :
- India needs to structurally separate the regulatory, commercial and scientific research elements of the space programme.
- Funding on Space Research and development must be enlarged and ISRO & private research institutions should work be encouraged to work in tandem.
- India needs a new space policy—one that aims to harness space as a growth sector for the economy, attracts private investment and creates jobs, even as it promotes scientific breakthroughs and helps leapfrog developmental challenges.
- There is need to establish an independent regulator that governs both ISRO and new space operators on a level playing field.