Introduction India is a developing economy with a large portion of the workforce engaged in the agrarian sector catering to the demanding needs of the nation's nutrition. While becoming the producing nation from an importing one, the Indian agricultural system has seen various changes and implementations to support producers and the consumers. In the process to streamline the operational efficiency of the agricultural sector, the Shanta Kumar Committee was formed to form the road-map to cater to the increasing needs of the people.
Highlights of the committee
Discussions from an exam view From the IAS examination point of view, the various facets of this topic should be observed, such as the history and the role of Food Corporation of India. The buffer stocks are mentioned, so the readers are advised to find out the current norm of the buffer stock. The operational insight of the Public Distribution System is also to be noted, that is, how the Center and States jointly work for this endeavor. Further, the Levy rice is the term used in the article and is advised to be noted. Finally, the minimum support price or MSP is a highly important subject to be discussed and is deemed to be conveyed through other resources, its benefits, and its significance.
Note The readers are advised to critically examine the Shanta Kumar Committee and understand the implications of the recommendations if applied; like the effects when fertilizer subsidy is repealed or the cash transfer switch from the physical commodities transfer implications. The historical implication can also be referred to. For example, the pilot project was started as a Direct Cash Transfer scheme so the results are to be noted to examine the case. Furthermore, if there are any related international practices then they should be referred to, as well. It is from the subjective point of these things that the various aspects have to be uncovered by the readers with their creativity at disposal.
The author has brought in the highlights of the Shanta Kumar Committee and there is every reason to deliberate the same. Unfortunately, FCI being the national food procurement agency, has not done enough and therefore it has now been delegated the responsibility of procurement from the distressed states. The committee recommending a uniform levy across the states is the welcome step and this would remove the disparities between the states. The recommendation of maintaining strict quantity procurement and maintaining the strict quality of the same would go a long way to maintain a balance between the two. The rice mills should not be given more retaining capacity to own selling because this would lead to cutthroat competition among the rice millers and the price would not be stable. The new MSP guidelines are surely a farmer-friendly move and that would mitigate their expenses immediately because the farmer need not wait for his amount. The new committee recommendation has taken further steps in favor of farmers that henceforth all the produce in the farm should be given equal weight-age and MSP be given to the farmers which are his hard-earned right. That the poor would get more quota of ration every month is very good because none should go hunger.
Farmers are the backbones of the country. They should be given due priority and see that they will be benefitted in proportion to their hard work. Many poor farmers are not able to invest in cultivation and this weakness is encashed by the rice millers. They procure the crop from the farmers at a lower rate. The suggestion made by this committee in decreasing the importance of rice millers is welcome. The farmers should be provided with some storage facilities so that they will store and sell when the rate is good.
Another important point the committee made is the subsidy on fertilizers. The present subsidy system is not helping the farmers but some people involved in trading these fertilizers are getting benefitted. So directly transferring money to the farmer towards the subsidy for the fertilizers is a very good idea and the farmers will get benefit much from this.