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Why Jaitley’s budget has failed to bring cheer to our farmers

As has been the historical trend, most of the budget announcements on agriculture this year, too, are geared towards benefitting agribusiness rather than augmenting farm income, writes Devinder Sharma.

Economy Agriculture Policy Ground Reality

For the love of the seed industry
It was a Valentine’s Day vow with a difference. The bond between the private seed industry and the public agricultural sector received a fillip at the recently concluded Indian Seed Congress in Agra over the weekend, reports Shalini Bhutani.
GM Crops Economy Government

Pursuing development: The perils of the beaten track
The report of a high level committee led by Vijay Kelkar to promote balanced development in Maharashtra has several important recommendations. But will it all come to nought because of its failure to avoid a few conventional pitfalls? Shripad Dharmadhikary explores.
Water Economy Government Poverty MAHARASHTRA

What binds every family in this Kerala Panchayat
The thrust on chemical-free cultivation of vegetables that started as an experiment in the 90s has now evolved into a culture in Kerala’s Kanjikkuzhi Gram Panchayat. P N Venugopal traces the growth and success of this initiative so far.
Organic Livelihood Environment KERALA

Farming for self-reliance in Kalahandi
The struggle to feed themselves and their families round the year drives millions of farmers in remote rural areas to desperate measures. Abhijit Mohanty’s story shows how sustainable agriculture has helped farmers in Odisha’s backward Kalahandi district pull themselves out of poverty and food insecurity.
Food Security Organic Livelihood ORISSA

Rest in peace, food self-sufficiency
Ironically at a time when food shortage is being widely perceived as a potential global concern in the near future, policymakers seem to be doing everything that would take agriculture further down the path of ruin. Devinder Sharma highlights the findings of a recent NSSO report to substantiate that.
Food Security Devinder Sharma Ground Reality

Is lower inflation here to stay?
Most measures of inflation over the last couple of months point to an encouraging downward movement in price indices; Shambhu Ghatak deconstructs these measures and quotes observations of the RBI to show why it may still be premature to take low inflation for granted.
Trade Economy Government

Workers leave agriculture, but where are they headed?
The declining participation of labour force in agriculture could have been treated as a natural, inevitable phase in the country’s transition towards industrialisation, but for the employment trends visible in the industrial sector. Kannan Kasturi’s analysis captures the real cause for worry.
Livelihood Economy

Food security, courtesy Odisha's tribal women
In 25 villages across Rayagada district of Odisha, tribal village women have reclaimed the denuded commons and achieved a remarkable turnaround in food security and livelihoods through eco-friendly alternatives to shifting cultivation. Abhijit Mohanty highlights a few successes of the project.
Food Security Organic Environment

Good food from dry land
Across 20 villages of Bankura and Birbhum districts in West Bengal, 800 families are learning to farm dry land anew in a sustainable manner, resulting in increased income, better health and nutritional outcomes, and food security. Ajitha Menon reports from Bankura.
Food Security Organic Women's Health

There are more things in heaven and earth than stock markets!
The media frenzy over Narendra Modi’s first 100 days in office is complemented by the cheer in markets, but Devinder Sharma sounds a caveat against judging the performance of the government by the standards of markets alone.
Government opinions Economy Devinder Sharma OP-ED Ground Reality

All set to lose out on the gains?
News reports and statements from various quarters apparently point towards possible dilution of the new land acquisition law passed in 2013, resulting in less safeguards for affected owners and communities. Kanchi Kohli summarises the key debates around the likely changes.
Livelihood Government Land Laws

How about smart villages, Mr Modi?
For over two decades now, agriculture has suffered overall neglect as successive governments, led by World-Bank prescribed growth models, have issued disproportionate doles to industry. While the present allocations do not spell much hope, Devinder Sharma suggests what the Modi government may still do to reverse the trend.
Economy Devinder Sharma Agriculture Policy Ground Reality

A silent revolution brewing on our farms
Can farmers look ahead to “acche din” as well?
Ash everywhere; in your food and water, too?
NaMo-RaGa brand war drowns out Assam’s cries
Big hopes from small tea
A new fast-yielding jackfruit
Farmers take the long-term view, with long stalk rice
The wonder climber for areca nut trees
Humble jackfruit eyes haute cuisine status
Living off jackfruit
Caveat from farm debt waiver scheme
Drought in Maharashtra: The real story
Cauvery: Preferring politics to solutions
Why not fruits and vegetables?
Small farms, big worries
Adding millets to the basket
Some states fight the trend, but still ...
Popularising SRI
Lacunae and contradictions
Scars of the Green Revolution
A failed harvest
In north Karnataka, dried banana bits are a hit
Vidarbha farmers get market-savvy with hi-tech solution
How an ex-lecturer turned around the land
Yet another pro-farmer budget!
Farm suicides: A 12-year saga
Nearly 2 lakh farm suicides since 1997
Watching prices rise, helplessly
Where is the science?
Farmers sour on sugar cane
ASEAN FTA - a hasty, unbalanced deal
Too risky to tolerate
Nagas revere this bureaucrat from the mainland
Kokkarni, saviour of paddy
The dull days of White Gold
"Only the idiots are committing suicide"
Good food, Indian-style
New language, old crisis
A stimulus package for farmers?
Over 16,600 farmer suicides in 2007
Vidarbha meltdown: bumper crop losses
He did not wait for the government’s new sop
Patterns from the past
Edible oil policy on the boil
Jhum cultivation under conflict in the Northeast
From market yard to police yard
Too much fruit, too little bounty
From prosperity to a struggle for dignity
Of loan waivers and tax waivers
One-man-army greens barren land
'We cultivate pearls, but our children go hungry'
Between a rock and a hard place
Farm policy fails to address key issues
Oh! What a lovely waiver
SRI: Small state, big results
Soya cultivation rising in crisis-hit Vidarbha
SC to look into deregulation of GM food imports
Genetically engineered spin
Natural farmers of Punjab
Our food, our farmers
When the one who dies is a woman
Life on credit, death in installments
Empty fields stare at farm widows
GEAC's poor record of regulation
Fresh water scarcity demands fresh ideas
From APMCs to electronic markets
ASEAN trade agreement will hurt Kerala farmers
"I need my land, not money."
Bt-ing the farmers!
Burning down standing surgarcane crops
Wheat imports: Subverting procurement
Sugar co-ops face a downturn
Fungus threat to Indian wheat advancing
Cooking numbers as agri-volcano builds up
Burdman's farmers are faring better
Is Bt-based resistance collapsing?
The tale of three widows
New terms of harvest
A green foundation for prosperity
Replying with bullets
Timbaktu Organic is scaling up
Jhum cultivation under sharper scrutiny
He grew a forest only to harvest water
Engineering crops, distorting trade
When death comes faster than the package
Nothing unscientific about it
Bt: Flaky results, pre-determined consensus
Persisting on two left feet
Bt cotton farmers are alert this year
Corporate agriculture: transplanting failure
Biotech Policy: secretive and hasty
Vehicle loan currents in turbulent Vidarbha
The flavour of greed
Poison reaches them, government does not
Suicide in a distant land
350, and counting
End of a wedding-dream
Loan after loan
Another farmer ends life, villagers distraught
Make trade fair, say sugarcane farmers
Vidarbha distress and the end of innocence
Food sovereignty, not just security
Farmers persist with organic, see results
UN MDGs, hunger, and biodiversity
Drought-proofed by traditional wisdom
This Seeds Bill must go
Poison in their veins
Cheques and balances, farmers have none
Was the Bhakra dam worth it?
Centre's no to Bt cotton in AP
An organic cup of tea, please
Organic farming takes hold in Rajasthan
Poll freebies not relieving Vidarbha farmers
Cotton marketing fails Vidarbha farmers
Vidarbha 2004: a suicides diary
Rajasthan's water sharing woes escalate
Case for a moratorium on GM crops
Less seed, more harvest
Biotech policy : task force report
A revolution long turned brown
Against the grain
Unapproved seeds on the market
Standing apart on common ground
Transitioning to organic
Once again, fooling the world
A ray of hope in Nasik
Organic: an easier choice
GM crops and foods: SC notice on PIL
Organic : to combat pesticide residues
Diverting a river, west to east
Rice is now Oryza syngenta
The slow poisoning of Punjab
35 acres, organic and profitable
This journalism is about growing
GM, agriculture, and food security
Organic : Market-driven and sustainable?
Rooted in paddy
Charity in the name of science
Flogging a dead horse
No children on the farm
The great trade robbery
WTO: End of the road?
Electronic land
Agenda for the South : Cancun
Potato farming and innovation
Abandoning agriculture
Eliminating hunger or the hungry?
From Pomato to Protato
Challenging broad spectrum patents
Protecting farmers, freeing the breeders
Childhood, cropped
Pests, Pesticides and Modern Science
SC rules on preventing starvation deaths
The road to starvation
Legislate, then contradict
No ordinary farm
Invoice enclosed - please pay immediately
Making agriculture attractive
A scientific fairytale
Suppressing criticism
Zero tolerance for farm subsidies
Of cows and men, and grazing lands
Seeding hopes for food security
Feeding the farmers
The GM potato hoax

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From Aug 2013, published with support from Oorvani Foundation, a champion of public-funded media for the new India.

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