Rural economy in a poor state
- A recent survey by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey) shows that the average monthly income of rural households is ₹8,059, with agricultural households deriving only 43% of their income from agriculture
- This is also reflected in the decoupling of urban Indian incomes from rural India with per capita income in rural India lagging a fair bit
- The government has sought to double farmer income by raising minimum support prices, but such initiatives would apply directly only to 48% of rural India, with non-agricultural households being left behind
Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu model :-
What is Rythu Bandhu Scheme ?
The Telangana government’s recent announcement of the Rythu Bandhu scheme has spotlighted the policy of utilising cash transfer to assist land-owning farmers with a non-agricultural income — instead of the traditional policy measures of price interventions, trade restrictions and farm loan waivers
Why it is not feasible ?
While the scheme is nominally intended as investment support for inputs such as seeds and pesticides, it implies a transfer of ₹8,000 per acre for every landowning farmer over two crop seasons. As Credit Suisse notes, the scheme has an inbuilt bias for large farmers, allowing 9% of farmers with more than five acres to earn 34% of the total payout
Now question is how to raise farmer incomes ?
Diversification :- The conversation on raising farmer income needs to embrace non-farm diversification, an important pathway for empowering landless labourers and marginal farmers.
- Diversification, away from marginal farming, is typically the answer — helping to overcome land constraint to income growth while allowing farmers to cope with exogenous shocks through additional income
- In some cases, it even allows them to reinvest in productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies
Livestock sector: Interventions required :- The livestock sector can offer significant opportunities for bolstering non-farm income
- The current breeding policy (based on exotic blood and artificial insemination) needs to be revamped. A national breeding policy is also needed to upgrade the best performing indigenous breeds
- Buffalo breeding ought to be given more attention, while poultry breeding should be focussed on conservation
- State governments should be encouraged to participate in national breeding policy implementation, creating an environment for competition among alternative suppliers of artificial insemination
- Consensus must be built among breeders to develop indigenous breeds
- The feed supply (currently inadequate) needs to be mitigated through greater imports, with feed technology packages developed for extension dissemination
- Geographical information system-based analysis must be utilised to map production systems
- Private investment must also be encouraged
- Animal health care should become a priority, with greater investment in preventive health care
Improving the condition of Migrant workers
- We have to enable migrant workers to get deserved access to various government (Central and State) schemes, despite the lack of identity proof
- Access to Anganwadi facilities should be provided regardless of their identity documents
- The penalties for non-compliance have to be increased to a significant fraction of the construction cost, payable by the builder
- Registration of workers with the Welfare Board should be made mandatory and be the responsibility of the contractor and the builder
- If the contractor is found to engage or employ any worker without a registration card/ID, penalties (monetary and non-monetary) should be imposed, which would then be used for improving awareness and penetration of registration cards and their benefits
- The registration cards should be linked to their Jan-Dhan accounts, and transfer of payments on a periodic basis be made directly to their accounts
- In order to improve the condition of women, strict anti-harassment laws should be implemented
- Creche facilities at construction sites should be provided to also ensure that children are not neglected; they often play with gravel and dust, which can threaten their health
- Workers should also be provided with training and skilling in their areas of interest, as it could lead to higher earnings and credit-worthiness
Way forward :-
Our policies should help create sustainable, long-term, rural, non-farm employment options which can aid the rural poor in overcoming barriers to economic prosperity. India’s rural development policies should increasingly focus on developing markets, infrastructure and institutions that can help sectors such as livestock and construction growth.
The United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is hosting the 24th Conference of Parties (CoP-24) meeting from December 2-14 in Katowice, Poland.
Focus of CoP-24 :-
- Drafting a well-balanced operation rulebook
- Bringing clarity on domestic processes for preparing an updated nationally determined contributions (NDC) as well as mid-century strategies by 2020
- Assessing progress on climate finance
- Engaging private sector investors to stimulate climate actions using relevant market mechanisms.
Report on Climate Change :-
The most recent political developments and the report on 1.5C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have a mixed impact on the CoP 24 negotiations. The 1.5C report has raised expectations for climate actions, despite the muted responses from the governments across the world.
Key issues :-
- Nature-based solutions and e-mobility
- Climate finance is among the biggest sticking points in climate talks.
What needs to be done to make Paris Agreement Successful in CoP-24 ?
The success of CoP 24 depends on the international political will to act upon the findings of the 1.5C report.
- It would require reaching a clear consensus on the “rule book” that helps to deliver on the commitments to decarbonise economies.
- It also calls for building resilience and enhancing financial flows in the next five years.
In case of India :- Just transition, nature-based solutions (NBS) and e-mobility have a resonance with the steps that India has taken to fulfil its climate obligations. Just transition refers to the importance of proactively managing socio-economic challenges arising out of the transitions from business-as-usual pathways to a decarbonised economy.
- Achieve NDC & SDGs :-
The opportunities for mainstreaming NBS into climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Indian context is sizeable. The actions here would help India achieve both its NDC (nationally determined contributions spelt out in the Paris pact) goals and SDG goals.
- Opportunities covered by NBS :-
India’s NDC proposal to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO 2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. It could help improve the use of open space, particularly in the urban context, and deliver a wide range of non-market, community-level resilience dividends.
- Promoting E-Mobility :-
On its commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP, India is promoting e-mobility. The government is focusing on manufacturing, shared infrastructure, including better urban design, accelerated adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and other pathways.
- Sub-National Level Actions :-
However, the urgent need is to expedite and strengthen sub-national level actions, providing the capacities and resources to execute the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC).
Way Forward :-
The challenge ahead of is huge, given the political context, inadequacies in resources to meet the targets, and fragmented approaches. It is imperative that the world community should take some bold steps to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable people impacted by climate change.