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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 June 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 June 2017


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1;


Topic: Role of women;  Social empowerment

1) It is said that women’s entrepreneurship might be the tool needed to improve the labour force’s gender balance in India. Do you agree? Substantiate. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction-

The labour force participation rate (LFPR) for working-age women (15 years and older) is abysmally low in India—at about 27%, it performs only slightly better than Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Some of the reasons for this phenomenon are-

  • Men take the lion’s share in the jobs available in organized sectors.
  • Women want jobs that are well-paying, close to their homes, and have flexible working hours, according to World Bank research, and these are hard to come by.
  • Also, there are many jobs to which women’s access is restricted by law, such as those in mines and hazardous industries.
  • Young women are studying longer; that as incomes have increased, women who worked only out of necessity have retreated to their homes.
  • Agriculture has come under stress and rural women have been squeezed out of their farm jobs on the one hand, educated urban women haven’t moved into the workforce in considerable numbers on the other.

How women’s entrepreneurship could improve the situation?

  • The World Bank’s latest development update for India draws attention to an interesting insight: Women employers tend to hire a significantly greater number of women.
  • This is partly the result of the kind of businesses that women set up in what is already a heavily gendered labour force. For example, a beauty salon or a small tailoring unit owned by a woman can be expected to mostly hire other women. However the trend also holds true for medium-sized firms.
  • Working paper by Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, Sari Kerr and William Kerr, Will Market Competition Trump Gender Discrimination In India?, finds “a clear pattern of gender segmentation in both manufacturing and services, where, for instance, about 90% of employees in female-owned business in unorganized manufacturing are females”.
  • Women entrepreneurship might indeed serve as a catalyzing opportunity to bring more women in the workforce. Women cooperatives in small industry sector have shown remarkable progress in enhancing women employment. Targeted policy measures like this have been shown to deliver great results as seen in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry.
  • Women entrepreneurship could also act as an inspiration and Ideology in the society for the girls to come out of their houses and contribute to their society and encourage girls to be self-dependent.

India currently ranks 70 out of 77 nations on the Female Entrepreneurship Index, but moving up that index might not be as difficult as it seems. Certainly, long-term, structural reforms are needed but in the short term there are a few examples from around the world that indicate how targeted policy measures can deliver specific goals even when the rest of the infrastructure (such as ease of doing business, access to credit facilities and affordable childcare) may not be in place. .

Conclusion-

Gender segmentation is a double-edged sword in the sense that just like female-owned or female-led firms tend to hire more female workers, male owners and employers have the same tendencies. A 2014 paper, Political Reservations And Women’s Entrepreneurship In India, by Ghani and others noted that “97% of working men are employed in male-owned enterprises”. In the long run, such extreme levels of gender segmentation are obviously undesirable and inefficient. But in the short term, it may help to view this trend as a catalysing opportunity that will bring more women into the workforce.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

2) In your opinion, what should be the role of the President in a secular and federal democracy like India? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

President is the pivotal figure in the political system like India. Though president has no real powers and had to act in accordance with the advice given by council of minister headed by Prime Minister, he/she can play important role in effective functioning of the vibrant democracy like India.

Role of president in a secular and federal democracy like India-

  • The President of India has an enormously important role in the leadership of the country. This is not only because of the particularly assigned duties of the President in special circumstances, as in a political crisis of governance, but also because of the elevated standing of the head of the Republic in motivating and inspiring the secular democracy of India, guided by the Constitution.
  • When dictates of the Centre run counter to the legitimate rights and the traditional spheres of the States, the President certainly has a protective role that cannot be obliterated by the commands of the Centre.
  • Constitution visualizes President as an important part of our federal structure. Elected members of state legislative assemblies are part of his electoral college and he/she is the authority to appoint inter-state council under article 263 of Indian constitution. He/she can defend this federal system by making the appointment of governor fair and by putting his own opinion during the imposition of presidential rule in the state (article 356).
  • The President has potentially a hugely important role in insisting on fair treatment of all the people in the country and the immediate stopping of “vigilante justice in India.”
  • President is considered as politically neutral figure. He does not promote ideology of any political party. In current religiously tensed situation he/she can act as symbol of fairness because of his/her unbiased attitude.
  • A President can be quite tough and ultimately effective in asking the government to reconsider its priorities, especially when rights and fair treatment of countrymen are threatened, and to take another area of serious transgressions when education, science and freedom of thought are undermined.
  • Within his or her constitutional as well as evocative roles, a strong President can make a major contribution in inspiring us to stand up for fairness for all sections of the people.
  • President has wide ranging power during the hung parliament (when no party wins majority) and during coalition government which he should use wisely and insightfully.
  • President has a constitutional duty under article 60 of the Indian constitution to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution and to administer the process in accordance to the constitution whose central philosophy is democratic in nature.

Conclusion-

President is the head of union of India and occupies the first position in the table of precedence. He/she has a role beyond just being a rubber stamp which he can perform by becoming the voice of serenity and fairness as suggested by Noble laurate Amartya Sen.

 


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) Do you think India’s image as soft power is over? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express 

Soft power-

  • Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than by coercion (hard power), using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction.
  • It can be contrasted with ‘hard power’, which is the use of coercion and payment. Soft power can be wielded not just by states but also by all actors in international politics, such as NGOs or international institutions. It is also considered the “second face of power” that indirectly allows you to obtain the outcomes you want.
  • A country’s soft power, according to Nye, rests on three resources: “its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when others see them as legitimate and having moral authority).
  • Though slower to yield results, soft power is a less expensive means than military force or economic inducements to get others to do what we want.

Why India’s image as soft power is being considered to be reduced?

The present government led by Bhartiya Janata Party is said to be more firm and decisive in dealing with the matters of national security. It is also being projected to take recourse to the hard power whenever required.

  • India conducted counter-insurgency operations in Myanmar to destroy the training camps of Naga militants.
  • In a daring move, Indian Army conducted surgical strikes along the LOC to remove and destroy the hideouts of terrorist who infiltrate into India through the Line of Control.
  • After the Uri attack, India cancelled its participation in the SAARC meet and also persuaded other SAARC members to boycott the same.
  • In a tit for tat move, India highlighted atrocities committed by Pakistan in Balochistan region which is demanding separation from Pakistan.
  • The government allowed Dalai Lama to visit Tawang region despite the persistent protest by China.

Despite all these factors, it cannot be said that India has moved completely away from soft power and has become a hard power. Even with such events there are many factors that shows, India still possesses features of soft power. Some of them are-

  • Indian government continues to pursue the policies of soft power by making financial grants, donations and cheaper loans to the other developing countries. For eg. India launched the South Asia Satellite for the benefit of the whole south Asia region, building of Parliament and Dam in Afghanistan.
  • India offers educational and employment opportunities to the students of the many African and other Asian nations. India also continues to train the officers of the Bhutan, Nepal etc through Indian Army.
  • On June 21 every year, the world observes International Day of Yoga. A United Nations resolution to this effect that India moved in the General Assembly in 2016 was co-sponsored by an unprecedented 170 countries. It reflected yoga’s immense popularity worldwide and underscoring India’s richness as a soft power resource.
  • Indian diaspora is one of the largest in the world that has created and continues to create the good-will for India through the spread of Indian values and culture in different nations.
  • Indian cinema (Bollywood) has emerged as a strong bonding factor for people around the world with the India.

Conclusion

India boasts an amazing variety and wealth of soft power resources. Its spiritualism, yoga, movies and television soaps, classical and popular dance and music, its principles of non-violence, democratic institutions, plural society, and cuisine have all attracted people across the world. Indian foreign policy analyst C Raja Mohan observed that India holds “strong cards in the arena of soft power” to further its foreign policy goals. Thus despite having some of the elements of the hard power in India’s foreign policy, India continues to be harbinger of soft power.

 


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

4) Recently many Arab nations boycotted Qatar. What challenges does this issue pose to India? How should India handle these challenges? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Qatar’s diplomatic crisis-

  • The 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis began when several countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017. These countries included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The severing of relations included withdrawing ambassadors, and imposing trade and travel bans.
  • Saudi Arabia and other countries have criticized Al Jazeera and Qatar’s relations with Iran, and accused Qatar of funding terrorist organizations.

Challenges for India-

  • The Gulf-Qatar rift will send a caution message to corporate sector in India. The corporates have increased their businesses in Qatar and are looking forward to the vast potential in that country. Already India’s engineering exports to Doha have been hit following sanctions imposed on Qatar by gulf nations including Saudi Arabia. If these companies are to have smooth business opportunities, the recent crisis needs to be resolved.
  • Saudi Arabia and other gulf members have banned air travel from Qatar. Difficulties will be experienced by Indians resident in Qatar and wishing to travel to other Gulf countries or those resident in other Gulf nations wanting to visit Qatar.
  • India is the third largest export destination for gas from Qatar (behind Japan and South Korea). Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for over 65 per cent of India’s global import and 15 per cent of Qatar’s export of LNG…And in case the crisis gets prolonged, prices of food items and essential commodities in Qatar could increase and affect the lives of 650-to-700,000 Indians.
  • There are around seven million people of Indian origin working in the Middle East. Security and stability in the region is hence of paramount importance for India. Further, the Indian diaspora in the region remits around $40 billion a year. These funds are immensely valuable as they help India manage its current account deficit.
  • This could also affect remittances. A prolonged crisis could result in increased insecurity, reduced economic activity and stress on the 50 per cent or so of the total inward remittances that India receives from the Gulf. Any confrontation or uncertainty in Qatar or the wider Gulf region can have serious adverse implications for India.
  • Beyond a point, India cannot stay aloof. Given the range, expanse and depth of India’s interests and its rapidly expanding political, economic and strategic profile, sooner or later India will have to get more vigorously engaged in dealing with developments in this crucial region.

How should India handle these challenges?

  • India needs to strike out a defter diplomatic policy to keep ties untouched.
  • India has good relations with almost all the gulf countries. Though India has called it internal matter of GCC, India should encourage both countries to come to negotiating table and find out amicable solution.
  • India should caution the corporate companies pursuing active business in gulf region to take view of all the factors that could threaten their business even for short time.
  • India can provide guidelines in advance to the Indian people there and make a blueprint for the actions that can be taken in future, if rift escalates further.

Conclusion

Though India is relatively safe from the adverse effects of the recent crisis, it cannot remain complacent of new developments. India should watch all the future moves carefully and should keep open its all cards to secure safety of huge diaspora living there.

  


General Studies – 3


Topic:    Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

5) Britain effectively prevented terrorist attacks on its soil between 2013 and 2017. However, it has witnessed three terrorist attacks in 2017. Examine why it was successful earlier and has lately failed to prevent terrorist attacks. Also examine what lessons should India learn from Britain’s experience. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction-

Britain recently witnessed three terror attacks in short period of time. This has raised the serious concerns over the intelligence agencies of the Britain over the intelligence gathering. Even in some cases, despite having clear intelligence inputs, the attacks could not be prevented.

Why Britain was successful in preventing the terror attacks between 2013 to 2017?

  • The major reason for Britain being able to prevent attacks between 2013 and 2017 was the success of its controversial “Channel” programme under the counter-terrorist policy known as “CONTEST”, which was originally unveiled in 2003 and amended later. This strategy has four strands called “Four Ps”: Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare. “Channel” is under “Prevent”. “Counter-narratives” to respond to insidious jihadi propaganda is attempted through this.
  • In 2009, the scope of this programme was enlarged to include local councils, community groups, businesses, hospitals and emergency services. The Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 is the seventh such law in the UK since 9/11, widening the responsibility to sectors other than the police.

Why terror attacks were witnessed in 2017?

  • The main counter-terrorist agency of Britain MI5 is under the immense workload that has resulted into the inefficient working of the agency. In 2015, MI-5 chief Andrew Parker publicly revealed the “growing gap between the increasingly challenging threats and the availability of capabilities to address it”.
  • The intelligence agencies repeatedly warn that they do not have the resources to mount 24-hour physical surveillance of more than a small number of the 500 suspects regarded as being of concern.
  • The return of some British fighters from Syria has added to a complex picture, which means the UK’s counter-terrorism agencies are feeling heat from all sides.
  • Both the Islamic State and Al-Qaida have encouraged its followers from the European countries to strike at home mainly through the ‘lone-wolf attacks’ which are more difficult to prevent.

What lessons should learn from Britain’s experience?

  • India’s police and security forces are already reeling under the high workload. This could affect their efficiency and effectiveness to fight terror attacks. Thus, India urgently needs to increase it human resource capability of law-enforcement agencies.
  • India national security is manned by plethora of central and state based security forces. There have been problems of coordination and intelligence sharing among them. As a result, India has already witnessed high numbers of terror attacks. Hence, India needs to evolve a strategy where all security forces work in tandem to prevent any terror attack in future.
  • India should increase its surveillance capacity so that suspected individual those could carry potential terror attacks are apprehended before the actual commitment of crime.
  • India needs to carry out de-radicalization methods among the youths who have susceptibility to get attracted towards the terror organizations. Such efforts can prove very effective in preventing lone-wolf attacks.
  • India should closely track the movement of people travelling to west Asia and particularly to the region occupied by ISIS. This could help in identifying the individual who could carry out terror attacks after returning.
  • Adopting advanced technology, monitoring the social media, keeping vigil on the online material/content could help intelligence and security forces to reduce possible terror attacks.
  • India needs to build international consensus and cooperation to fight terrorism at the global level. This could help in intelligence sharing, exchange of information on terrorists, quick actions and for extradition of terrorists.

Conclusion

India owning to its inherent weakness could emerge as fertile ground for breeding radical thinking among youths and minorities that could have disastrous effects on its peace and stability. The early actions and preventive measures are the most important steps to be followed by government of India in eliminating terror attacks.

 


Topic:  Agriculture

6) In Maharashtra, farmers have been on an indefinite strike since June 1, 2017. Why are they on strike? What should Maharashtra government do to address agrarian crisis in the state? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Beginning 1 June, farmers from at least seven districts in Maharashtra took to the streets, shut down wholesale markets and vandalised trucks carrying vegetables. They spilt gallons of milk on the road, and sent vegetable prices soaring in major cities. Farmers are protesting in a year when the state witnessed a record food harvest, and agriculture growth for the entire country shot up to a five-year high of 4.9%.

Why the farmers are on strike?

  • Indebtness-

Data from the Nation Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that Maharashtra accounted for over a third (4,291) of the total suicides by farmers and agricultural labourers in India (12,602) in 2015, the highest among all Indian states. A staggering 43% of the suicides by farmers in Maharashtra were due to bankruptcy and indebtedness, while 18% suicides were due to crop failures.

  • Prices below MSP-

The price slump, significantly, has come against the backdrop of a good monsoon that led to a bumper crop. The production of tur dal, for instance, increased five-fold from last year to over 20 lakh tonnes in 2016-17. Irrespective of price fluctuations, MSPs are supposed to enable farmers to sell their produce at remunerative prices. But procurement of crops at MSP by the government has traditionally been low for most crops, except a few staples such as rice and wheat. This has forced distressed farmers to sell their produce at much lower prices, adding to their debt burden.

  • Agricultural distress-

Farmers are losing dignity and self-respect because of persistence failures in getting good returns on their produce. Vagaries of nature and inherent hardship of the agriculture are making the profession unprofitable. And when production is good, flip-flop policies of the government ruins the hopes of better returns; that is what happening in the current case.

  • Demonetization-

After a satisfactory monsoon in 2016 and a good crop, demonetisation and the resultant currency crunch meant that the Rabi produce failed to earn profitable prices. Demonetisation also hit district central cooperative banks, the backbone of the State’s crop loan system; DCCBs are now sitting on over ₹2,700 crore in demonetised currency, which the Centre is refusing to exchange for new notes. This has raised questions about their lending capacity, and they face the danger of being wiped out.

  • Role of middlemen-

Coincidence of high bumper production of crops and demonetization resulted in a glut in the market. Traders made a killing because they were able to buy at lower rates, and when the Minimum Support Price (MSP) kicked in, they sold at the MSP, leading to more farmer fury.

  • Swaminathan committee recommendations-

The Farmers are also demanding the implementation of the National Commission on Famers (NCF) under the chairmanship of Dr. M S Swaminathan that had recommended holistic approach to deal with agrarian crisis. (The detailing about the report is given at the end of the answer)

How should Maharashtra government address the agrarian crisis?

  • Though government may have to make hard choice of offering loan waiver at least to the small and marginal farmers, it needs to address the structural issues resulting into agrarian crisis.
  • Maharashtra faced drought conditions in 2014 and 2015. Though there was good monsoon in 2016, one year cannot make difference in the fortunes of the farmers. Further it also does not ensure that coming years would have same situation.
  • Government needs to invest heavily in agrarian infrastructure such as providing cheap drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, cold storages, good quality seeds at low prices, removing supply chain impediments etc.
  • Further government needs to ensure consistent and guaranteed MSP policy. MSPs should be offered to crops beyond wheat and rice and particularly to the pulses. Similarly farmers should get fair prices for the milk production as it offers cushion during the distressed years.
  • Gradually government should align crop production with genuine price signals, while moving ahead with reforms to de-risk agriculture by increasing crop insurance cover.
  • Government should encourage agro-forestry, farm-gardening, mixed farming and allied activities like Dairying, poultry etc so that farmers have diversify income.
  • APMC reforms are urgently required so that farmers get good price for their produce while consumers buy at cheap prices.
  • Government should bring clear law on the contract farming to make farming a commercially viable business for corporates and food processing industries. This would also benefit farmers who do not have resources to market their goods efficiently.
  • Maharashtra government is mulling over a plan to make buying of agricultural produce below MSP a criminal offense. This could ensure the strict implementation of the MSP policy to safeguard farmers from exploitation of middlemen.

Conclusion-

Though loan waiver could help farmers in short term, it could not become a long term solution for agrarian crisis through which Maharashtra is suffering. Thus government must focus on long term structural changes to revive the glory of agriculture.

Swaminathan report- National commission on Farmers (NCF)

The National Commission on Farmers (NCF) was constituted on November 18, 2004 under the chairmanship of Professor M.S. Swaminathan.  The Terms of Reference reflected the priorities listed in the Common Minimum Programme.  The NCF submitted four reports in December 2004, August 2005, December 2005 and April 2006 respectively.  The fifth and final report was submitted on October 4, 2006.  

Key Findings and Recommendations

Causes for farmers’ distress

Agrarian distress has led farmers to commit suicide in recent years.  The major causes of the agrarian crisis are: unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing.  Adverse meteorological factors add to these problems.

Farmers need to have assured access and control over basic resources, which include land, water, bioresources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.  The NCF recommends that “Agriculture” be inserted in the Concurrent List of the Constitution.

  1. Land Reforms

Land reforms are necessary to address the basic issue of access to land for both crops and livestock.  Land holdings inequality is reflected in land ownership.  In 1991-92, the share of the bottom half of the rural households in the total land ownership was only 3% and the top 10% was as high as 54%.

Some of the main recommendations include:

  • Distribute ceiling-surplus and waste lands;
  • Prevent diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes.
  • Ensure grazing rights and seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists, and access to common property resources.
  • Establish a National Land Use Advisory Service, which would have the capacity to link land use decisions with ecological meteorological and marketing factors on a location and season specific basis.
  • Set up a mechanism to regulate the sale of agricultural land, based on quantum of land, nature of proposed use and category of buyer.
  1. Irrigation

Out of the gross sown area of 192 million ha, rainfed agriculture contributes to 60 per cent of the gross cropped area and 45 per cent of the total agricultural output.  The report recommends:

  • A comprehensive set of reforms to enable farmers to have sustained and equitable access to water.
  • Increase water supply through rainwater harvesting and recharge of the aquifer should become mandatory. “Million Wells Recharge” programme, specifically targeted at private wells should be launched.
  • Substantial increase in investment in irrigation sector under the 11thFive Year Plan apportioned between large surface water systems; minor irrigation and new schemes for groundwater recharge.
  1. Productivity of Agriculture

Apart from the size of holding, the productivity levels primarily determine the income of the farmers.  However, the per unit area productivity of Indian agriculture is much lower than other major crop producing countries.

  • In order to achieve higher growth in productivity in agriculture, the NCF recommends:
  • Substantial increase in public investment in agriculture related infrastructure particularly in irrigation, drainage, land development, water conservation, research development and road connectivity etc.
  • A national network of advanced soil testing laboratories with facilities for detection of micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Promotion of conservation farming, which will help farm families to conserve and improve soil health, water quantity and quality and biodiversity.
  1. Prevention of Farmers’ Suicides

In the last few years, a large number of farmers have committed suicide.  Cases of suicides have been reported from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.  The NCF has underlined the need to address the farmer suicide problem on a priority basis.  Some of measures suggested include:

  • Provide affordable health insurance and revitalize primary healthcare centres. The National Rural Health Mission should be extended to suicide hotspot locations on priority basis.
  • Set up State level Farmers’ Commission with representation of farmers for ensuring dynamic government response to farmers’ problems.
  • Restructure microfinance policies to serve as Livelihood Finance, i.e. credit coupled with support services in the areas of technology, management and markets.
  • Cover all crops by crop insurance with the village and not block as the unit for assessment.
  • Provide for a Social Security net with provision for old age support and health insurance.
  • Promote aquifer recharge and rain water conservation. Decentralise water use planning and every village should aim at Jal Swaraj with Gram Sabhas serving as Pani Panchayats.
  • Ensure availability of quality seed and other inputs at affordable costs and at the right time and place.
  • Recommend low risk and low cost technologies which can help to provide maximum income to farmers because they cannot cope with the shock of crop failure, particularly those associated with high cost technologies like Bt cotton.
  • Need for focused Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) in the case of life-saving crops such as cumin in arid areas. Have a Price Stabilisation Fund in place to protect the farmers from price fluctuations.
  1. Competitiveness of Farmers

It is imperative to raise the agricultural competitiveness of farmers with small land holdings.  Productivity improvement to increase the marketable surplus must be linked to assured and remunerative marketing opportunities. The measures suggested by NCF include:

  • Promotion of commodity-based farmers’ organisations such as Small Cotton Farmers’ Estates to combine decentralised production with centralised services such as post-harvest management, value addition and marketing, for leveraging institutional support and facilitating direct farmer-consumer linkage.
  • Improvement in implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP). Arrangements for MSP need to be put in place for crops other than paddy and wheat. Also, millets and other nutritious cereals should be permanently included in the PDS.
  • MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.
  • Availability of data about spot and future prices of commodities through the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD) and the NCDEX and the APMC electronic networks covering 93 commodities through 6000 terminals and 430 towns and cities.
  • State Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Acts [APMC Acts] relating to marketing, storage and processing of agriculture produce need to shift to one that promotes grading, branding, packaging and development of domestic and international markets for local produce, and move towards a Single Indian Market.
  1. Credit and Insurance

Timely and adequate supply of credit is a basic requirement of small farm families. The NCF suggests:

  • Expand the outreach of the formal credit system to reach the really poor and needy.
  • Reduce rate of interest for crop loans to 4 per cent simple, with government support.
  • Moratorium on debt recovery, including loans from non-institutional sources, and waiver of interest on loans in distress hotspots and during calamities, till capability is restored.
  • Establish an Agriculture Risk Fund to provide relief to farmers in the aftermath of successive natural calamities.
  • Promote sustainable livelihoods for the poor by improving (i) Financial services (ii) Infrastructure (iii) Investments in human development, agriculture and business development services (including productivity enhancement, local value addition, and alternate market linkages) and (iv) Institutional development services (forming and strengthening producers’ organisations such as self-help groups and water user associations).
  1. Bioresources

Rural people in India depend on a wide range of bioresources for their nutrition and livelihood security.  The report recommends:

  • Preserving traditional rights of access to biodiversity, which include access to non-timber forest products including medicinal plants, gums and resins, oil yielding plants and beneficial micro-organisms;
  • Conserving, enhancing and improving crops and farm animals as well as fish stocks through breeding;
  • Encouraging community-based breed conservation (i.e. conservation through use);
  • Allowing export of indigenous breeds and import of suitable breeds to increase productivity of nondescript animals.