“Government policies are adversely impacting the cropping pattern in India”. Explain.

“Government policies are adversely impacting the cropping pattern in India”. Explain.

Approach

  • Introduce with significance of agriculture
  • Highlight government policies like MSP and subsidies and how they are impacting cropping patterns
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

India’s agricultural growth is below 3.5% and has a share of approximately 17% in GDP but it has more than 50% share in employment. Governments have extensively focused on this sector with various schemes and policies. But many of policies have not only disproportionately favoured few farmers but also adversely affected some farmers and the cropping pattern of India.

Adverse impact of government policies can be observed from the following:

  • MSP: MSPs are mostly in favour of food grains. Though well intentioned, it often incentivizes farmers to grow crops with remunerative MSP irrespective of the soil, moisture and weather conditions (agro climatic region). This adversely affects cropping pattern.
  • Procurement policy: Crops like wheat and rice are mostly (60%) acquired from few states like Punjab, Haryana and western UP. This led to excessive focus on the cultivation of wheat, rice and sugarcane in the procurement states at the expense of other crops such as pulses, oilseed and coarse grains.
  • Subsidies: The high subsidies provided to power, water and fertilizers mostly benefits the large farmer. They led to cultivation of unsuitable crops through heavy fertilizer application and groundwater usage.
  • Poor infrastructure: Poor state of infrastructure, technology adoption and logistics have made horticulture unviable even in places where agro-climatic conditions are suitable.
  • Others: Apart from the above, arbitraty stockholding limits as well as arbitrary import/export policies have also distort the cropping pattern.

Case Study: Farmers of Punjab are growing rice which requires high irrigation. Despite lack of abundant rainfall as required, they continue to grow it because of Government support on irrigation, power, fertilizers as well as MSP. This cause high stress on groundwater and soil salinization. Hence it is affection not only natural cropping pattern but also agricultural sustainability.

It is clear that various government policies have adversely affected the cropping pattern in India. To truly help in making agriculture remunerative and sustainable, the government needs to integrate agro-climatic conditions, changing consumption patterns etc. into its agriculture policies.

Subjects : Economy