For Prelims: Bumper Crop.
For Mains: Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems; Storage, Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints; E-technology in the aid of farmers.
Context of News:
- By the first week of February 2020 food grain stocks in government godowns were, at over 75 million tonnes (MT), the highest in any year for this time. If that weren’t enough, the country, according to the Union Agriculture Ministry’s advance estimates, is set to harvest a record 106.21 MT of wheat in 2019-20.
What does Bumper Crop mean?
- The term bumper crop has been used for generations to refer to an ample crop yield. It is also used to denote a lack of storage space such as in a barn, silo, or grain bin.
- In agriculture, a bumper crop is a large crop of agricultural produce that has been produced under optimal, yet rare, conditions, such as abundant rainfall, a mild spring, an unseasonably long summer, an unexplainable lack of pest infections, or a mild, frost-free autumn.
- The word ‘bumper’ on its own has a lesser known meaning. Bumper is often used when referring to something that is unusually large.
Major Problems for Indian Framers:
- Small and fragmented land-holdings:
- The seemingly abundance of net sown area of 141.2 million hectares and total cropped area of 189.7 million hectares (1999-2000) pales into insignificance when we see that it is divided into economically unviable small and scattered holdings.
- The average size of holdings was 2.28 hectares in 1970-71 which was reduced to 1.82 hectares in 1980-81 and 1.50 hectares in 1995-96. The size of the holdings will further decrease with the infinite Sub-division of the land holdings.
- Seed is a critical and basic input for attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth in agricultural production. Distribution of assured quality seed is as critical as the production of such seeds. Unfortunately, good quality seeds are out of reach of the majority of farmers, especially small and marginal farmers mainly because of exorbitant prices of better seeds.
- Manures, Fertilizers and Biocides:
- Indian soils have been used for growing crops over thousands of years without caring much for replenishing. This has led to depletion and exhaustion of soils resulting in their low productivity. The average yields of almost all the crops are among the lowest in the world. This is a serious problem which can be solved by using more manures and fertilizers.
- Although India is the second largest irrigated country of the world after China, only one-third of the cropped area is under irrigation. Irrigation is the most important agricultural input in a tropical monsoon country like India where rainfall is uncertain, unreliable and erratic India cannot achieve sustained progress in agriculture unless and until more than half of the cropped area is brought under assured irrigation.
- Lack of mechanisation:
- In spite of the large scale mechanization of agriculture in some parts of the country, most of the agricultural operations in larger parts are carried on by human hand using simple and conventional tools and implements like wooden plough, sickle, etc.
- Agriculture is an important industry and like all other industries it also requires capital. The role of capital input is becoming more and more important with the advancement of farm technology. Since the agriculturists’ capital is locked up in his lands and stocks, he is obliged to borrow money for stimulating the tempo of agricultural production.
Impact of Bumper Crop Harvesting:
- Indian farmers, when they face with a problem of plenty. A bumper crop led to procurement prices plunging, pushing them deeper into the depths of despair.
- Bumper crop production limit the scope of profit margin of farmers and in many cases it is found that their coast of production of crops and selling them to mandis is far far more higher than coast of input in production of the crops.
- Bumper Crop harvesting also leads to increase in food inflation due to mismatch in crop produces reaching the all place in inclusive manner.
- Implementing Shanta Kumar panel recommendations:
- Fixing the issue price, other than the poor under the Antyodaya category, at 50 % of the procurement price.
- Limiting subsidized grain distribution under National Food Security Act to 40 % of the population rather than the current 67 %.
- Limiting the procurement of rice particularly in the north-western states of Punjab and Haryana where the groundwater table is depleting fast.
- Inviting private sector to participate in grain management.
- Storage Reform:
- End-to-End Computerization of FCI operations and Liquidating excessive stocks (beyond the
- The government should introduce storage reforms in the country such as to outsource grain storage function to Centre Warehousing Corporation ( CWC), State Warehousing Corporation (SWC) and Private Sector Players.
- The government should introduce a Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) scheme to construct godowns, cold storage and other infrastructure based on Public-Private Partnership (PPP). It increases efficiency and infrastructure.
- For the storage purpose government should adopt ‘Silos’ rather than gunny bags. Because they are more efficient are safe for storage.
How Andhra Pradesh government is overhauling school education ecosystem?
For Prelims: NISHTHA Programme.
For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Context of News:
- The state of Andhra Pradesh has been adopting free and compulsory education to all children upto the age of 14 years is a constitutional committee. Off late, the parliament has also passed the right of children to free and compulsory education act, 2009 this National Act came into existence from 1st April, 2010 for which a number of programmes have been implemented not only at national level but also at state in the year 2011.
- The Andhra Pradesh government, under present government is undertaking sweeping school-level education reforms in the state that are set to be unveiled in coming recent time.
- The Union Human Resource Development Minister has launched ‘National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA)’, a national mission to improve learning outcomes at the elementary level.
- Aim: To build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants:
- Covering all teachers and heads of schools at the elementary level in all Government schools,
- Faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs),
- Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators in all States and UTs.
About New Strategy of State Government:
There are several pillars to the new strategy adopted by the state government.
- Changing the medium of instruction from Telugu to English (and training teachers, not just students, for this purpose), significantly changing the academic curricula in consultation with several leading international universities,
- Reducing the monetary burden of schooling by providing free school supplies (such as books and uniforms) to students, Improvement in curricula to best equips students for the emerging realities. Then there is a massive revamp of school infrastructure. Lastly, better facilities like more nutritious mid-day meals and free school supplies.
- Upgrading the mid-day meal menu to make it more nutritious, revamping the school-level infrastructure such as proper classroom furniture, clean running water, toilets etc. India’s poor record of child health, pertains to the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme. In particular, the menu is being made more nutritious. Apart from sambhar and rice, the new menu will include egg (five days a week), and a leafy vegetable curry, dal, and various other local delicacies such as pulihora (tamarind rice), khichdi, pongali (rice mixed with milk and sugar) and chutney etc.
- Establishment of skill development centres across the states.
- The breathtakingly wide scope of reforms — changes will affect over 62,000 schools across the state, impacting over 80 lakh students — is matched by the ambition that is driving the change.
- The reforms programme aims at transforming government schools into vibrant and competitive institutions. The goal is to meet the requirement of what the fast-changing technology in the world expects from youth ten years from now.
How Andhra Pradesh is working to reduce learning gap among government school students?
- Dealing with Poor Outcomes of Learning:
- Andhra Pradesh is focusing on learning outcome of students, and not on finishing the curriculum or just conducting examinations. Andhra Pradesh has move towards ‘child-centric’ school education, with a goal to create an all-enabling ecosystem that can ensure ‘happy, fulfilled, resilient, and responsible students who are future-ready.
- Dealing with dropout problems:
- Most students in government schools come from backward communities. Malnutrition combined with them coming from Telugu medium schools has resulted in their poor performance. Their parents are daily-wage labourers who cannot provide extra educational support to them after school. These children are unable to understand what is happening in the class as they don’t even have their basics cleared in primary school.
- To address such challenges, a state-wide summer remedial programme was initiated few years back.The objective of this programme was to strengthen foundational skills among students and reduce the dropout rate in these two classes. It was conducted in partnership with other departments and ministries such as tribal welfare, health, and social welfare.
- Seven out of 10 teachers in government schools are old or middle aged, and they lack the drive to adopt technology. Also, teachers don’t get enough time to prepare for their classes as they are busy implementing other programmes in rural areas like election duty, conducting government surveys, and mid-day meals.
- Emphasizing on socio-emotional learning and providing the students with latest skills where career guidance, life skills, and vocational education are given importance, which should be the core idea of developing human resource development for Growth of India.