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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Debate: The Aadhaar Bill
Posted on: 02 May 2016
In a debate on the Aadhaar Bill, commentators from academia and civil society will ... read on »

Tag: food security

Are grain procurement shocks inflationary?
Chetan Ghate , Sargam Gupta , Debdulal Mallick
Posted on: 17 Oct 2016

Central banks in emerging markets grapple with understanding the inflationary impact of grain procurement shocks because the precise link between the agriculture sector and the rest of the economy may not be well understood. This column presents a framework to understand how the government’s grain procurement policy in India can be inflationary, and what the appropriate monetary policy response should be.
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Indian agriculture: How to feed more people with fewer resources
Gareth Price , Ira Sharma , Ashwini Kumar Swain
Posted on: 05 Jul 2016

While agriculture in India has achieved grain self-sufficiency, it has become cereal-centric, regionally-biased and resource-intensive. In this article, Swain, Price and Sharma discuss the rising resource intensity in Indian agriculture and its implications for agricultural sustainability, productivity and future food production. They explore government initiatives to address the situation and suggest a strategy to increase production with fewer resources.
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Can microcredit improve food security among the rural poor?
Asad Islam , Chandana Maitra , Debayan Pakrashi , Russell Smyth
Posted on: 28 Sep 2015

A core objective of microcredit in Bangladesh is to make the rural poor more food secure. To what extent has this been achieved? Analysing household data from Bangladesh, this column finds that participants of microcredit programmes are more food secure, with improved calorie availability, reduced child stunting and better maternal nutritional status. However, programme participation in itself does not improve dietary diversity.
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Using science to improve Indian agriculture
Robert S. Zeigler
Posted on: 26 Jun 2015

Five years ago, the Indian government imposed a ‘temporary’ moratorium on the commercial release of Bt brinjal – a genetically modified crop - even after it had passed through the due regulatory processes. In this article, Robert S Zeigler, a plant pathology expert, outlines the benefits of transgenic crops and emphasises the need to expedite their adoption in India.
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Saving people’s livelihoods
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 28 Oct 2014
Topics:   Jobs , Agriculture


The new government is seeking to alter the essence of MNREGA based on the premise that it is not useful in its current form. In this article, Sudha Narayanan criticises the move and argues that despite its shortcomings, MNREGA is the best available institutional mechanism to preserve the resource base for food production and build resilience of Indian agriculture.
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Protectionism under the guise of food security
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 10 Aug 2014
Topics:   Trade , Agriculture


India has backed out of the commitment it made at the WTO negotiations in Bali in November 2013. The implicit explanation is that the government needs to accumulate food grain stocks to provide subsidised grain to the poor and ensure food security. In this article, Kotwal, Murugkar and Ramaswami critique this reasoning and India’s position on the issue.
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India’s WTO problem: A proposal
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 31 Jul 2014
Topics:   Trade , Agriculture


India is threatening to block the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement unless its agricultural policies are exempted from multilateral scrutiny. This article contends that while India’s objectives on agriculture are valid, its tactics in withholding support for TFA are perhaps less so. India should withdraw its opposition, reformulate its position on agriculture to persuade others of its merits, and revisit the WTO issue in the near future.
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Two views on the Budget
Eswar Prasad , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 12 Jul 2014

The Modi government’s first Budget has received a mixed response. Eswar Prasad and Bharat Ramaswami present two distinct views on the Budget. While Prasad is of the opinion that the Budget hits the right notes and emphasises some key policy priorities, Ramaswami believes that a coherent policy and worldview is yet to emerge.
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The Jaitley Budget: Planning for crisis
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 23 Jun 2014

El Nino can potentially derail the best-laid plans of the new government in India. The article contends that the finance minister would do well to plan his first Budget by attaching a reasonable probability to a food crisis this year. The Budget will need to be as much about creating a basis for successful crisis action later in the year as about launching epochal reforms now.
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Reconstructing facts in Bt cotton: Why scepticism fails
Ronald Herring
Posted on: 02 Jun 2014

In disputes around Bt cotton, a “triumph narrative” is alleged to have emerged from researchers - mainly economists - catering to vested interests of the biotech industry, its funding and allied journals promoting biotechnology. This column explains why the ‘conspiracy theory’ fails, and then illustrates why the main claims of the peer-reviewed literature demonstrating agro-economic success of Bt cotton are consistent with the near universal adoption of the technology by farmers in India.
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The nutrition puzzles: Need for more holistic solutions
Uma Lele
Posted on: 28 Apr 2014
Topics:   Health , Agriculture


In this column, the author critiques the approach of only focusing on nutrition and health sector-related solutions for achieving food security. She calls for more holistic approaches that take into account the various contextual factors that influence food and nutrition outcomes for the majority of the undernourished, such as food production and systems, agricultural policies, food and beverage industry, sanitation, and the extent of social inclusion in government programmes and in the society at large.
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Running out of water, walking away from farming
Ram Fishman
Posted on: 18 Dec 2013

Groundwater tables are falling in India. What will happen when water actually runs out? This column analyses the impact of water scarcity on farmers in Gujarat. It finds that farmers are failing to or choosing not to adapt to the availability of less water. They are forced to shrink cultivation, leave farming or migrate to cities - thereby, reducing food production.
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The role of Bt cotton in improving food security
Shahzad Kouser , Matin Qaim
Posted on: 24 Jun 2013
Topics:   Agriculture


The role of genetically modified crops in the fight against hunger remains disputed. The debate primarily focuses on whether or not these crops can contribute to sustainable increases in food production. However, food security is not only a question of production, but also of economic and social access to food. This column summarises research showing that the adoption of genetically modified cotton has improved food security among Indian smallholder farmers.
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