Despite overall economic growth that the country has been experiencing over the past few decades, rural India has largely been left behind. Poverty and malnutrition are becoming increasingly concentrated in rural areas, particularly in the lagging regions of Central and Eastern India. Even the more favorable states that benefited from the Green Revolution led growth have been exhibiting signs of productivity stagnation and a slow down in income growth.
Rural India has stalled in the process of structural transformation. Despite large productivity and income differentials between urban and rural areas, and despite the declining share of agriculture in GDP, labor exit out of agriculture has been slow. The lack of growth in labor-intensive manufacturing jobs in the urban sector, coupled with overly restrictive labor market regulations that lead to a dampening of growth in formal employment, have been the primary reasons for the slow withdrawal of unskilled and semi-skilled labor from rural areas. The stickiness of labor in low productive rural jobs has resulted in slow progress in poverty reduction in rural India.
EFFECTIVE governance is the key to success in any state department or sector. This ensures efficient service delivery. Yet governance in Sindh has been found wanting for a long time and water governance is no exception.
Sindh’s farmers again experienced acute water shortage this summer. The problem results from the absence of strong governance. While shortage of irrigation water during the kharif season is not a new phenomenon in Sindh, the disturbing thing is that its severity is increasing every year as no immediate solution seems in sight.
Where inter-provincial water distribution is concerned, Sindh’s reservations over releases from national reservoirs are justified, considering the water requirement in early summer and flows for Kotri downstream. Sindh needs water in April when Punjab doesn’t, for its lower region has early sowing trends where cultivation of crops begins two to three weeks before the upper parts of Sindh.
"This twentieth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, and the tenth prepared jointly with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), provides market projections to 2023 for major agricultural commodities, biofuels and fish across 41 countries and 12 regions: OECD member countries (European Union as a region), key non-OECD agricultural producers (such as India, China, Brazil, Russian Federation and Argentina) and groups of smaller non-OECD economies in a more aggregated form. This edition includes a special focus on India."
Agriculture, the lifeline of a majority of the poor people in rural areas, has seen a decline in its share in gross domestic product but still a large number of rural population depend on it for their livelihood and employment.
Any setback to the agriculture sector due to any internal and/or external factors leads to the misery of the farming community and adversely affects national food security.
The maiden Budget by the new government was presented at a time when the country is facing the challenge of high food inflation compounded by drought.
The budgetary objectives of economic growth, poverty reduction, employment generation and socio-economic foundation building are not new. The claim that the budget is orientated towards graduating Nepal from least to developing country status by 2022 is the new and most noticeable feature. Another feature as claimed by the budget is its focus on more result-oriented programs, and the maximum use of national resources and means for direct benefit to the people. But, in view of many such a priory claims turning fiasco in the past, a closer review of the inner features of the budget and probable ramifications becomes essential.
The budget has proposed many new laws and amendments of the existing ones as a part of wide-ranging policy as well as institutional reforms in various areas which were either due or needed in the changed internal and external environment. Notwithstanding their importance for improving business and entrepreneurial environment, correcting market distortions and spurring private investment, however, the time lag factor and likely parleys during the legislation have been overlooked by the budget with likely adverse effect on expected growth outcomes. Separating specific Act-related aspects, a comprehensive but coherent policy reform would have been proposed recognizing the urgency. Instead, as in the past, some isolated and token approaches have been followed.
Even in isolation, priority to energy sector is a positive step. As such, a better scheme of ending load-shedding in three years has been proposed added by commitment to implement small, medium and big projects simultaneously. Besides tax rebates and concessions, a fund has been provisioned to give additional incentive to the indigenous investors. But, why less involvement of the government in the energy sector for efficiency as well as release of funds to other essential areas has not been thought of is unknown.
The priority to the neglected agriculture sector is also a positive step to some extent. But, diluting the spirit of agricultural revolution as stated in the policy and program, the policies have been limited to some tariff concessions, interest and other subsidies to the farmers including youths. Even the problem of perennial resource drain in the ongoing programs affecting both crop diversification and productivity growth has been overlooked. So much so, deepening marketing problems of the farmers have been ignored. Without bringing out time-bound self sufficiency programs in a number of products, only some explicit support has been given.
Except for some supportive funds, no broad revival strategy for industries is found in the budget. Likewise, no required incentives to the exporters eying both Indian and third country markets are there. Indeed, the alarming trade deficit has been almost ignored.
The most questionable part of the entire allocation system is that it is grounded on status quo principles. It assumes that some increments of the funds to ongoing projects and programs added by a few new ones will lead to better outcome. As an offshoot, except for some references to monitoring, no effective implementation system has been proposed through a built-in transparent and accountable system.
As such, out of the total budget, more than 85 per cent has been allocated to the P1 projects for this year also reinforcing that no intra- and inter-sectoral restructuring of projects and programs has been attempted. Even in broad-based and sustainable growth area, only 6 per cent of the total budget has been allocated as opposed to 53.5 per cent to the administrative expenses. This is also under the unrealistic assumption that the capital expenditure will increase by 83 per cent this fiscal year to reach Rs 116.68 billion as opposed to just 6.2 per cent actual growth in the fiscal year 2012/13.
Except for some extension in various social security and backward area-related programs, neither any direct relief programs nor any schemes compensating the poor that have suffered from the two digit inflation since more than five years have found place in the budget. Surprisingly, the unemployment problem in the country has been neglected. The education sector has been de-prioritized ignoring human asset as a graduation component.
It is ironical that a need for correction in the ongoing crisis-prone economic paradigm inducing jobless, low quality, exclusive and unsustainable growth has not been realized by the budget at a time when even International Monetary Fund has come to the conclusion that equity and higher growth are mutually inclusive.
Above all, despite low growth target as opposed to 6.5 per cent required, the likely government and private investment added by potential adverse monsoon indicates that even 6 per cent growth is unlikely. Unless some additional steps are taken to boost exports linking with production sectors, the external vulnerability will rise further. Similarly, with more pressures likely on food prices amidst no price controlling measures in the budget, containing prices to 8 per cent will be hardly possible. In short, the entire budget lacks the required breakthrough for Nepal’s graduation by 2022.
The economic growth has increased to 5.2 percent this year against last year’s 3.5 percent, government’s economic survey report unveiled on Thursday informed. According to the report, favorable monsoon, improvement in investment environment induced by the better political stability, timely budget are the reasons behind the whopping growth rate. The growth achievement is the highest in the past six years. The achievement is closer to projected growth of 5.5 percent by the government. The agriculture sector has posted 4.7 percent growth against its status of 1.1 percent the last year.
‘Hidden hunger’, or micronutrient deficiencies, is widespread throughout Bangladesh, where more than 20 million people, particularly women and children, suffer from chronic deficiencies of vitamin A, iron, and zinc. Micronutrient deficiencies cause irreversible damage in children, stunting their growth and inhibiting their brain development and cognition, making it difficult for them to learn at school and perform at work later in life. While rice is an affordable staple food for the country’s poor, it lacks the vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy and balanced diet. Through introducing micronutrient-rich vegetables and small indigenous fish species into the homesteads and diets of rural Bangladeshis, the Cereal Systems Initiative of South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) is helping families to increase their income, food security and micronutrient intake. “We had three meals a day but since we had to buy everything we were only having very simple food... We couldn't afford to give good food to our children because it was difficult to maintain the basic things in life,” recalls Tasbina. Through the project, Tasbina and her husband learnt how to culture mola, an indigenous small fish species, alongside the existing major carps like rui and catla, in their household pond, allowing them to consume fish more often and sell produce at the market... Orange sweet potato is a nutritious vegetable high in vitamin A that can be grown with other vegetables around the banks of the pond, making it easy to maintain and an efficient use of space... In addition to training sessions on polyculture and farming technologies, the project also focuses on sharing information about the importance of micronutrients for pregnant and lactating women, and introducing complementary foods for infants... Traditionally, infants are fed a thin porridge made from rice powder, which lacks the energy and micronutrients needed for healthy growth and development... Tasbina and her husband have earned BDT21,045 ($USD271) in profit from the sales of their fish and vegetables over the last year, which has helped them to build a new brick house... http://www.worldfishcenter.org/featured/nutritious-small-fish-and-vegetables-fight-hidden-hunger-bangladesh ;