Public Policy: Major Public Policies

The BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is initiating the task of the examining the pre-2014 government policies with a view to shape, reshape and innovate the policies.

The first-Presidential address to the Parliament indicates the 12-key points which reflect the substance and direction of the policies in the future:-

(i) to encourage foreign direct investment in India, boosting job creation and assets generation in the country;

(ii) to introduce the Goods and Service Tax (GST) to help create favourable atmosphere for investment, easing the process of doing business;

(iii) to contain food inflation, helping to end the rural-urban divide and reform the public distribution system;

(iv) to build a peaceful, stable and economically interlined neighborhood, and also a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India so to regain the country's rightful place in the comity of nations, building strategic partnerships with powers such as China, Japan, USA, Russia;

(v) to augment electricity generation capacity, and develop nuclear power projects for civilian purposes;

(vi) to achieve a holistic healthcare system;

(vii) to carry out reforms in defence procurement and address defence problems effectively;

(viii) to take measure to strengthen women safety and empowerment: zero-tolerance policy relating to violence against women; 'beti-bachao-beti-padhao' campaign, 33ft women reservation in Parliament and state legislatures;

(ix) to resolve to reach out to the minorities making them equal partners in India's progress. 'Sabka saath, Sabka Vikas' (collective efforts, inclusive growth).

(x) to strive for ending povery; committing to not alleviating poverty, but to eliminating it;

(xi) to modernize infrastructure (railways, education etc. etc.) and (xii) to make efforts to uplift and modernize rural-urban life.

National Policy on Agriculture

Agriculture is more than a profession; it is a tradition in India. It is central to all our strategies for planned socio-economic development. The constant and continuous rapid growth of agriculture is a guarantee to self-reliance. The millions of our farmers and farm-workers are the backbone of our economy ensuring us food. Agriculture provides raw-material to our expanding industry as well. The National Policy on Agriculture seeks to materialize the vast untapped potential of our agriculture sector.

Strengthening rural infrastructure to support faster agricultural growth, promotion of value addition, accelerating the development of agro-business, creating employment in rural areas, securing a reasonable standard of living for the farmers, agricultural workers and their families, discouraging the migration of the rural folk to urban areas and preparing ourselves to face the challenges arising out of economic liberalization and globalization are some of our objectives. Some of the major salient features of our agricultural policy (2000) are:

1. The policy aims at growth-oriented agriculture:

  • A consistent growth rate in the agriculture sector;
  • Growth based on efficient use of resources while conserving our soil, water and bio-diversity; Growth with equity, i.e., growth which is widespread across regions and farmers;
  • Growth that caters to our domestic markets and maximizes benefits from exports of agricultural products;
  • Growth that is sustainable technologically, environmentally and economically

2. The policy seeks to promote technically sound economically viable, environmentally non-degrading, and socially acceptable use of country's natural resources'land, water and genetic endowment to promote sustainable development of agriculture;

3. The policy promotes bio-technologies to help drought resistant, pest resistant, nutritional yields which is environmentally safe;

4. Balanced use of bio-mass, organic and inorganic fertilizers and controlled use of agrochemicals through integrated nutrients and pest management (IBM PM);

5. A regionally differentiated strategy, taking into account the agronomic, climatic and environmental conditions so to realize the full growth potential of every region;

6. Development of rain fed and irrigated horticulture, floriculture, roots and tubers, plantation crops, aromatic and medicinal plants, bee-keeping and sericulture, augmenting food supply and promoting exports and generating employment in the rural areas;

7. Development of animal husbandry, poultry, dairying and aqua-culture will for diversifying agriculture, increasing animal protein availability in the food basket and for generating exportable surpluses;

8. An integrated approach to marine and inland fisheries, designed to promote sustainable aquaculture practices will be adopted;

9. Adequate and timely supply of quality inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, plants protection chemicals, bio-pesticides, agricultural machinery and credit at reasonable rates to farmers;

10. Creation of a favourable economic environment for increasing capital formation and farmer's own investments by removing distortions in the incentive regime for agriculture, improving the terms of trade with manufacturing sectors.

  • Development of marketing infrastructure and techniques of preservation, storage and transportation with a view to reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring a better return to the grower;
  • Institutional reforms to be pursued so as to channelize their energies for achieving greater productivity and production;
  • Active support for the promotion of cooperative form of enterprise, ensuring greater autonomy and operational freedom to them so to improve their functioning;
  • Rural Infrastructure Development Fund corpus to be increased annually;
  • Promotion of Food Processing Industries and value addition in agriculture through excise exemptions and other interventions.

Food Security Ordinance : 2013

The National Food Security Act, 2013 (also Right to Food Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of India's 1.2 billion people. Under the provisions of the bill, beneficiaries are able to purchase 5 kilograms per eligible person per month of cereals at the prices such as: rice at ` 3 per Kg., wheat at ` 2 per Kg., coarse grains (millet) at ` 1 per Kg. Pregnant women, lactating mothers and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free meals. Its chief features were:

1) 75ft rural and 50ft of the urban population are entitled for three years from enactment of 5 Kg food grains per month at ` 3, ` 2, ` 1 per Kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains (millet) respectively;

2). The states are responsible for determining eligibility;

3) Pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to a nutritious 'take home ration' of 600 calories and a maternity benefit of at least ` 6,000 for six months;

4) Children 6 months to 14 years of age are to receive free hot meals or 'take home rations';

5) The central government will provide funds to states in case of short supplies of food grains;

6) The current food grain allocation of the states will be protected by the central government for at least six months;

7) The state governments will provide a food security allowance to the beneficiaries in case of non-supply of food grains;

8) Thepublic distribution system is to be reformed;

9) The eldest woman in the household, 18 years or above, is the head of the household for the issuance of the ration card;

10) There will be state end district-level redress mechanisms;

11) State Food Commissions will be formed for implementation and monitoring of the provisions of the Act; and

12) The poorest who are covered under the Antodaya Yojna will remain entitled to the 35 Kg of grains allotted to them under the mentioned scheme.

The BJP-led NDA government has proposed a 40ft increase in the supply of heavily subsidized grains and expand coverage.

  • Numerous reforms of the Ministry of Agriculture are: various programmes which include
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (having an outlay of ` 25,000 croes for XI Plan,
  • National Food Security Mission (augmenting productivity in districts in which schemes can be put into operation;
  • National Bamboo Mission;
  • agricultural credit on lower interest,
  • Kisan credit card (for short and medium term loan). Cooperatives farming to be encouraged.

The BJP-led NDA government proposes the following in the fields of: Agriculture v Government will increase investment in agriculture, both public and private especially in Agri-infrastructure.

The government will take steps to convert farming into a profitable venture through scientific practices and Agro-technology.

Thegovernment will address issues pertaining to pricing and procurement of agricultural produce, crop insurance and post-harvest management.

The government will incentivize the setting up of food processing industries.

Government will adopt a National Land Use Policy which will facilitate scientific identification of non cultivable land and its strategic development.

Irrigation

Completion of long pending irrigation projects on priority and launch the 'Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana' (Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Scheme) with the motto of 'Har Khet Ko Paani' (water for every field).

  • Consider all options including linking of rivers, where feasible, for ensuring optimal use of water resources to prevent recurrence of floods and drought.
  • Harnessing rain water through 'Jal Sanchay' and 'Jal Sinchan', to nurture water conservation and ground water recharge
  • Micro irrigation will be popularised to ensure 'Per dropMore crop'.
  • The country will have a network of freight corridors with specialized Agri-Rail networks for perishable agricultural products.

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