Friday 19 August 2016

Time to rethink India’s rice policy

Of late, with growing income and awareness about nutritious food, there has been a noticeable decrease in the consumption of rice (a highcarb food) in Indian households. This change in consumption pattern, however, is not reflected in India’s agriculture policy which continues to revolve around rice and wheat. Moreover, current policies related to production, procurement, storage and distribution of rice are creating a number of internal and external problems.

The Centre is promoting rice production through a combination of support prices, assured procurement and subsidies on key inputs like irrigation, chemical fertilisers and electricity — the major proportion of input subsidies is consumed by rice. Thus, paddy’s MSP has risen from Rs. 580 per quintal in 200607 to Rs. 1,470 per quintal of 201617 at a CAGR of 10 percent. Then, there are Statespecific bonuses over and above the MSPs.