Pushing for Agricultural Reforms: Farmers Stir

The Farmers from all across the country have gathered at the Parliament Street in New Delhi to put forward their demands and getting them addressed. India, remains an economy largely dependent on agriculture for deriving its income and also to feed he ever-increasing population.

Yet, in the past attributing o various reasons, the profession of agriculturists has seen all the lustre from it fading. The practices that have gnawed the revenues of the farmers has led to a demand across states to save the farmers burdens.

The farming sector has also been affected by the lowering of incomes attributed to a frequent crop failure due to abrupt climatic conditions. The Modi government has taken many measures yet the entire gamut of problems seems to have been lacking the desired results. Now, the farmers are calling out for aggressive farm loan waivers which has been afforded to the farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The focus of the article remains to highlight the dysfunction caused by the past practices and the inability of the new policies to weed out the deep-rooted maladies.

The first and foremost problem is the farm sector loans. The farmers were being dispensed by loans just to meet their targets without evaluating the performance of the assets and crops being put to soil. this led to almost majority of farmers incurring huge loans that turned bad due to factors such as low price realisation, crop failure, and delayed purchases. With the books of the banks showing deep holes, the farm sector accounts to a 1 lakh crore bad debt, which will not be realised.

The recently introduced measures such as PMFBY (prime minister crop insurance scheme), e-NAM (electronic national agro market), direct benefit transfer, farmers’ education and improved manures and high yield varieties, all of these have not been incentivized at the state level to gather the much-needed attention as agriculture remains a subject of the state. The policies of the ministry of agriculture and food don’t often work together.

These measures, for example the e-NAM project has been on the back burners in several states and the old mandi system has robed the farmers of their revenues on crops. The crop insurance scheme has also been met out with the central corpus which remains inflexible, as it is designed on ‘one size fits all’ idea.

The farmers have also not been able to take to alternative sources of growing their income like poultry farming, animal husbandry and fish farming. Thereby te incomes of the farmers remain at an all time low and there are no incentives.

The scientific farming in India has not even gained momentum so as to reduce the reliance on traditional farming techniques and a lack of climatic information. The farmers have also not been made aware of the information as to how to promote the new varieties and use new and more effective manures and pesticides to avoid pest attacks. The crop insurance lacks the needed flexibility to provide what a farmer in every region desires.

This  has produced poor results and the farm sector incomes have fallen down. The measures that may be adopted are to first address the farm loan waivers, which are burdening the activity of farming substantially. The fund starved farmer is unable to sow the next season, and the banks have pushed in strictly to realise more revenues than ever.

The more needed push has to be to promote alternative sources of incomes for farmers so as to allow the farmers a flexibility to amplify their revenues. The farm loan waivers have to be addressed a the earliest while acknowledging the malady of the bankers.

The states have to be pushed to provide more beneficial schemes and reach out to the last man, and promote scientific farming, using the ICT techniques, and promoting e-NAM, and timed procurement at fair prices.

Least, the Indian markets will be overburdened with food imports i the years to come.

 

Reading Into The Moody's Upgrade For India

As suggested by our puppet ex-Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, though Moody’s have upgraded India’s ratings, the economy seems to be caught in the woods as of now. The fact holds enough arbitrariness as, the fact that there is no possibility of a perfect analysis of the economy which yields a perfect blend of the macro and micro-economic assessments.

The recent upgrade by the Moody’s has come after a long dead years of negative listing of India Inc by Moody’s in 2007. The BJP is merry because the ratings have improved the image of the government with its reform driven agenda getting a new life. The Congress has too much to lose as it was lobbying for a rating upgrade in 2013 when the economy was possibly good.

Today, though all the micro-economic credentials of the Indian economy must be registering a slow growth, the overall performance of the economy has dipped. The macro indicators also do point to the same.

The ratings have to be read in a way that adds value to the upgrade and the overall efforts by the stagnating economy since the liberalisation.

The Modi government has pushed and implemented the risky reform measures like the Demonetisation, GST implementation, Insolvency code, recapitalising the banks, and regulating the trade in gold while pushing the insurance sector to expand and grow.

The Moody’s ratings now focus at the long-term effects these moves will have while keeping the note of the current macro-economic credentials of the economy.

The GDP-to-debt ratio has been keeping at an average of 6%, while the RBI has very carefully managed the inflation. The banks plush with liquidity have also managed to see a stable growth in the loan system. The Moody’s ratings hint at a disciplining of the economy, where the loopholes are being fixed.

The BAA rating is not a very sound figure for one of the world’s fastest growing economies as explained by the BJP, yet there is still more to the rating. The government has announced farm loan waivers, which will have a positive impact in boosting the morale of the farmers across states to take up to farming. The lustre of the farming business in India has gone as the green revolution withered away, thus the overall farm productivity might take a beating leading to food crisis, which has been managed well by providing farm loan waivers and crop insurance. It is to be noted that the crop insurance is a new feature in India.

Moreover, it is not just these measures, the recap exercise which will plug the holes in the bank balance sheets will also be a life saver. If the Congress believes that the economy was fie and the moves implemented by Modi are not good, then they need to revise their performance and the maniacal policy paralysis.

The ratings also assume significance in the backdrop of inclusion of new taxpayers, giving a push to electronic modes of banking, de-registering shell companies, and approving a GST Anti-Profiteering Authority. This will have assured long-term results thus there is a sense of confidence in the Indian markets.

There is very different perspective to the Moody’s upgrade for the Indian economy, which assumes significance in the long running macroeconomic health of the country.

 

Moving Towards A Self Sustaining Indian Railways

With the new Minister for Railways declaring openly that he would not need to raise funds from the budget bill of the upcoming budget year, the magic wand of Piyush Goyal, is now set to reform the railways.

The Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest Railway network is set to fiance its upgradation and management from its internal resources. The 65,000 KM public carrier, also the backbone of India has seen massive reforms since the Modi government at the Centre assumed its reformation agenda.

Yet the railways have seen an overall decline of performance, with multiple issues gnawing its futuristic lustre. The Railways have also been unable to monitor and manage tracks properly which has also led to several derailing incidents in the recent past.

Mr Goyal, a former Chartered Accountant, has been credited with revamping the Indian energy sector, and has given the world jitters when it comes to a variety of new pricing regime whereby rural electrification and renewable energy needs seem to be reaching closer to realisation.

Taking a cue from the famous revamping model put in place by Lalu Prasad Yadav, a former Railway Minister in the UPA-1, was accredited with making railways a profitable enterprise after decades of registering losses.

The Railways are today catering to not only the downtrodden of the Indian citizenry but also has a devoted customer base in the upper middle class and middle class commuters. The railways have innovated new pricing models aiming at bridging revenue deficits for non-freight and freight customers.

The upgrade of the Railway networks is the top most priority of the modern-day regime. The Railways look to provide more clean and hygienic platforms and trains, which adhere to time and reach out to the remotest of areas. Along with this the urban transit systems in big cities like Mumbai and New Delhi also call for structural changes to meet the needs of the ever-growing population.

This is not just one sector which needs attention, while providing high-speed trains and the bullet trains to meet the need of faster mode of transportation and developing dry ports with dedicated freight corridors spanning the country are also the need of the times.

Also o the list features a dedicated tourism railway network which facilitates all India tourism by providing state of the art trains like the ‘pink city’ express on several routes. The railways are also focusing on providing better catering services and investing in home-grown technology to boost upgrading the railway.

All the above targets need capital. The Railway Minister’s new revenue generation model is aimed at making the railways a self-sustaining evolving business. The options of PPP module have been put in place and 100% FDI in Railways has also been approved which has seen Japanese aiming to bag the bullet train contract on a b-o-m basis.

Yet there are many hurdles before the sustainability of the railways assumes a reality.The cash strapped railways need support from the budget, yet the Rail Minister is keenly mulling options like pricing, and service delivery to make the railways self-reliant.

The effective road ahead though has not been made clear, yet a good start would be to make the railway employees more accountable and professional. The move may hitch the system in the beginning, but the railways then will generate sources to make revenue and register profits, which will serve the greater good in the long run.

Demolition of a State: SC Verdict on Delhi's Political Status

The Supreme Court of India in its judgement yesterday declared that the Parliament has full authority to make laws regarding any matters concerning the State/ NCT of Delhi. This verdict has the effect of demolishing the powers of the Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi Government, which had approached the SC for adjudication on frequent interference in the matters of administration by the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.

This marks a new chapter in the powers concerning the NCT of Delhi. The SC verdict out-rightly disrespected the mandate of the people by giving a perverse interpretation to the provisions of the Constitution whereby the Parliament has been given the blunt powers to overpower the State Legislature.

This judgment has very wide implications when the citizenry comes to face with the issues that have not been resolved so far. The blame will be shifted upon the BJP led central government for the failures of the Delhi Government.

The SC clearly gave riding powers to the Centre in terms of the lists contained in the Constitution whereby the State government are being reduced to mere puppets in the hands of the Central government.

The SC verdict is flawed in as much as it fails to reach out to the intention of the Constitution makers whereby they created a separate legislative machinery to manage the NCT of Delhi.

The NCT of Delhi has one of the most complex habitats in India which is faced with many problems faced by the developing modern world. The Parliament on the other hand has assumed wider roles, which are ever-expanding; in the light of this how does one expect the Centre to be ruling the NCT?

The SC verdict has also not been able to explain to us, that if the State Government has not teeth, then what will it bite on, which means why there is a state government at all!

The SC verdict has also pushed the blame of all failures of the Arvind Kejriwal led AAP government on the Centre, and the L-G, whereby Kejriwal’s calls that the Centre meddles with his functioning also stand affirmed.

The judgement needs to debated in the intellectual circles and the people need to be given with an explanation as to why do they elect representatives if the Central government is the ultimate legislative and executive authority for the NCT of Delhi.

The future of Delhi with this verdict assuming significance will bloom to one of chaos and anarchy only amounting to discomforting the general citizenry. The prospects of the future being brim, the masses will have to demand more administrative and legislative rights from the State to address issues like underdevelopment, crime, and general administration among environmental and congestion issues.

#Demand_Delhi

Modi Govt. Demonetisation drive resulted in the decline of 358 ATMs

Slogan of the Modi “acche din ayenge,” and “making India Digital” is somehow we can say is very correct, Demonetisation was a major step taken by the government, People at the time of demonetisation faced many difficulties, even the economic growth of the country also got deceased due to it, But at the same time the result is revealing the actual benefit of it,  as Modi-government’s took the decision of demonetisation and this push people towards a cashless economy, which resulted in decline of ATMs and between June and August 2017.

In past four year ATMs increased at a compounded rate of 16.4% But, now the growth rate has slowed to 3.6% after demonetisation last year (2016), this is for the first time the number of ATMs has declined.

After the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8, 2016, the result is that the country has seen a decline in the number of ATMs, nearly 358 ATMs has been shut. The number is not that big but still, it shows that there is a change, as because in the last few years the number of ATMs increased in a huge number.

After demonetisation, the use of ATMs has been decreased too much in comparison to the previous use, so for this, the banks believe that they could do with a lesser number of kiosks and it is also believed by them that the rent for these kiosks are quite high especially in metros, and lesser number of customers, in turn, increases the operational cost of these ATMs.

But at the same time, the workload of banks have also increased, As per the Banks record, rentals for a 7×5-sqft kiosk at airports and prime locations in Mumbai can go up to Rs 40,000 a month. Metros like Chennai and Bengaluru, ATM site rentals range from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 and now the bank has to take care of costs such as:

  • Salaries of security personnel
  • Electricity bill
  • Other maintenance expenses

The State Bank of India after merging with associate banks has now shuttered numerous ATMs:

  • Previously in June SBI had 59,291 ATMs, which declined to 59,200 in August.
  • Similarly, Punjab National Bank reduced the number to 10,083 from 10,502.
  • Even the number of HDFC Bank ATMs reduced to 12,225 from 12,230.

In an earlier interview, Paresh Sukthankar, deputy MD of the bank, “There has been a shift in customer behaviour from cash to electronic payments, Customers who were earlier using their debit cards only for ATM withdrawals are now using them for transactions at shops. Teller transactions at branches as well as ATMs have seen a reduction or are flattening out.”

An SBI official told that “Our customers will not be greatly inconvenienced because of the shutdown, We had to decide whether the footfall at an ATM justified its running costs. Most of the ATMs we shut down were at places where another SBI parent or associate bank ATM was within a 500-meter radius,” There are only a few banks who had intended to shut down the ATM, not all, but many have said that they may not be expanding their ATM networks anytime soon. “For further expansion, we would need to have sufficient volumes to justify the cost,” said Parthasarathi Mukherjee, CEO of Lakshmi Vilas Bank.

This year in May due to the WannaCry Ransomware, ATMs have faced quite some issues, which affected many systems across the world. The RBI had then asked banks to operate their ATMs only after updating the software of these machines.
Digital payments have increased after demonetisation eight out of every 10 ATMs are located in cities where digital payment is easy.
Sanjeev Patel, CEO, Tata Communication Payment Solutions “said More than 83% of ATMs are in urban locations, servicing 33% of the nation’s population that has access to net banking, wider point-of-sale network, e-wallets, mobile banking apps, etc, for the transactions.”
He further added that “The people who desperately need cash are in rural locations where only 15% of the more than 2 lakh ATMs serve nearly 67% of our population.” ATM operators say they need to focus on rural areas now. “Urban India has already got onto the digital bandwagon, rural India has not.”
So, in the very end we can say that “acche din aa rahe hai.”

Saubhagya Scheme by Narendra Modi: Things You Need to Know About it

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs 16,320 crore Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana scheme (Saubhagya) to deliver electricity connections to more than 4 crore families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. This scheme will be executed just before the next general elections, which will help in improving the conditions of public health, environment, and education.

While announcing the scheme, PM Modi said, “New India will not only have power in all villages but in every home. We have decided the burden for this will not be borne by the poor. The poor used to have to go around in circles trying to get power… the government will now go to their homes to give them electricity.” The PM added that four crore houses are still living without electricity connections, which means 25 crore homes in India. “25 percent people are without power, living in the 18th century,” said PM Modi. While describing the meaning of Saubhagya scheme, which means good fortune, PM Modi said that this scheme will change the fortunes of such families.

“It is extremely sad that electricity has not reached 4 crore households in our country. At those households, people are still lighting candles and lantern. In these crores of households, children find it very difficult to study. Even if they study, it is under the lantern’s light,” Modi said. The beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana scheme (Saubhagya) would be established by using the socio-economic caste census (SECC) 2011. The government said in a statement that “However, un-electrified households not covered under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs (distribution companies) in 10 installments through electricity bill”.

Important things you should know about this scheme:

What is Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme is all about?

This scheme will provide the cost of funds for last mile electricity connectivity to all the rural and urban households by 31 December 2018.

What are the benefits of this scheme?

It was learned that many electricity distribution companies (discoms) are not interested in supplying to the villages even if the electrification has taken place. The demand will only be created when electricity access would be provided to each and every household with prepaid and smart meters and as a result, it will put pressure on the discoms to supply to these villages.

World’s third largest energy consumer after the US and China, India, could get the chance to meet its global climate change commitments as electricity will substitute for lighting purposes.

The mobile applications will be used to make sure on the spot registration. Free connections will be provided to below poverty line (BPL) households, but those who haven’t registered under this category can also enjoy the scheme by paying Rs 500 in 10 installments of Rs 50 each included with their monthly bill.

As per the government, this scheme will take more than 16,000 crores in the economy to produce assets, which in benefit will give more investment in the economy and create jobs.

PM Modi Visited Assam to Review Flood Situation

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached in Assam for a day-long visit to flood situation in the state on Tuesday, which has witnessed more than 76 deaths. Arrived at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, PM Modi was received by the governor Banwarilal Purohit and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowa headed directly to Khanapara in an Indian Air Force Chopper. He has also planned to hold converse with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal where PM Modi will take up issues related to flood management and protection alongside damage control.

PM Modi, on the other hand, also expected to meet the Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. On Monday, PM also declared an exgratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 each for the wounded in Assam floods. As per the official data, the floods have influenced more than 25 lakh people in the state’s 29 districts. The PM Modi, however, also visited the nearby Assam Administrative Staff College, where he held a number of review meetings. According to the official sources, the PM Modi in his very first meeting with the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues, and senior state government officials, reviewed the flood condition and infrastructural damage.

It is expected that PM Modi would also have a meeting of ruling BJP and its alliance partners – the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodo Peoples’ Front. On Monday, the State Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the Prime Minister Modi’s visit was predominantly focused on finding an everlasting solution to the flood problem in the state. On the other hand, the former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi criticized PM Modi and said that he was forced to visit the flood-affected state after receiving criticism. “The PM preferred to visit Gujarat before Assam, but it is good that he is coming due to public pressure,” Gogoi said.

The president of the Assam unit of BJP, Ranjit K Das, contradicted the criticism and said that “The prime minister visited Assam thrice in the last 14 months, and he announced today’s visit while leaving for Gujarat. The Congress should know (former PM) Manmohan Singh did not visit Assam during the floods despite being elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state”. The Lok Sabha member and chief of All India United Democratic Front, Badruddin Ajmal, wished that PM Modi would announce the floods in Assam as a “natural calamity” and provide a financial assistance of at least 20,000 crores. “Scores of lives have been lost in the floods that left several thousand hectares of agricultural land covered with sand. We want the victims to be suitably compensated,” Ajmal said.