1. Prologue
  2. Agriculture: Introduction
  3. Agriculture Inputs
  4. Agri-Input#1: Agriculture Credit (ऋण)
    1. Agri Credit: Government | RBI Initiatives
    2. Agriculture Loan Waiver: to give or not to give?
  5. Agri-Input#2: Irrigation (सिंचाई)
  6. Why Micro Irrigation (सूक्ष्म सिंचाई)?
    1. Irrigation: Govt Initiatives
  7. Agri-Input#3: Seeds (बीज)
    1. Seeds: Government initiatives?
  8. Agri-Input#4: Fertilizers (उर्वरक)
    1. Fertilizer: Government initiatives
  9. Agri-Input#5: Pesticides (कीटनाशक)
  10. Agri-Input#6: Land
    1. Digitization of land records
    2. Soil Erosion
  11. Agri-Input#7: Farm Mechanization (मशीनीकरण)
  12. Agri-Input#8: Insurance against calamities & Disasters
    1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojna (PMFBY)
    2. Agriculture Insurance claim delay / rejection
  13. My thoughts on Scheme/Policy PHD-giri for GS Mains?


Economic Survey Summary Agriculture
As the title suggests, this article series contains summary of:

  1. Economic Survey (ES) Volume 1 (2016-17)
  2. Economic Survey (ES) Volume 2 (2016-17)
  3. NITI Ayog’s Three Years Action Agenda Document (2017-2020)
  4. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-2030)

+ some other reports / issues that I deem important for descriptive exams.

  • Utility: All the descriptive exams and government job interviews.
  • Since this is meant for descriptive exams, I’m focusing on analytical / fodder points and not on factual/MCQ worthy points.
  • To obtain maximum mileage out of this article series, you should go through my economy lecture series on youtube first. Because here, I’ll not be elaborating, simplifying or providing background details. I’ll presume that you’ve already well versed on those things.
  • Economy consists of 6 pillars. I’m not running this article series in a linear sequence, but as and when I finish the particular pillar / topic. Agriculture falls under 4th pillar i.e. “Sectors of Economy”. From here I’ll commence:

Agriculture: Introduction


  • Agriculture is a primary economic activity. It includes growing crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers and rearing of livestock.
  • Agriculture is the science and art of cultivation on the soil, raising crops and rearing livestock.
  • Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fibre and other desired products by plant-cultivation and rearing of domesticated animals.


  • At independence, 75% of Indian population was agriculture dependent. Today, 45.7% of Indian workforce employed here.
  • Besides food grains, agriculture also produces raw material for various industries.
  • Export of tea, coffee, spices etc. helps earning foreign exchange for a country.
  • Modi-Target: Doubling farmers’ income by 2022-23 compared to 2015-16. (Indian farmers’ Annual Median Income is less than 20,000 rupees)
  • SDG#2: Doubling agriculture productivity and farmer incomes by 2030. Eliminate global hunger, protect indigenous seed and crop varieties etc. Hence Sustainable agriculture gains significance.
  • (Definition) Sustainable agriculture is the usage of environmentally safe yet economically viable agricultural practices that benefit farmers, laborers, entrepreneurs and consumers in the entire food system, without exhausting soil fertility or doing irreversible damage to the ecology.
  • Sir Arthur Lewis’ dual economy model (द्वैत अर्थव्यवस्था): economic development always entails movement of labour from agriculture sector to the more productive industrial sector and the agriculture sector becomes over time a less important part of the economy in terms of its share of GDP.  This is true for India- with Agriculture now accounting for less than 1/5th of GDP. Nonetheless, for a country as large and unique as India, agriculture is important both for employment & food security.
  • “Most of the world’s poor people earn their living from agriculture, so if we knew the economics of agriculture, we would know much of the economics of being poor.” (Economist Theodore Schultz).

Agriculture Inputs

  • Post-Green Revolution, Indian agriculture has become cereal-centric, regionally biased and input-intensive of land, water, and fertilizer.
  • Since industrialization is leading to scarcity of land and water, we’ve to focus on cultivating ‘more from less’ (inputs).

Agriculture Inputs

Agri-Input#1: Agriculture Credit (ऋण)

  • Credit enables the farmer to purchase inputs before it gets paid for his paid for previous season’s produce. Therefore, credit is an important mediating input for agriculture to improve productivity.
  • But, Local / informal  moneylenders (अनौपचारिक साहूकार) account for more than 1/4th of total agricultural credit. They lend money at significantly higher interest rate, they use highhanded and illegal methods to extract their dues, leading to debt-trap, perpetual poverty and farmer suicides.
  • The formal credit’s penetration in north-eastern and eastern India is very low. This is one of the many reasons for their regional backwardness.
  • ES16 found an inverse relation between size of landholding vs. Indebtedness (ऋणग्रस्तता)  of farmers i.e. small/marginal farmers are more indebted than big farmers.

Agri Credit: Government | RBI Initiatives

  1. Setting up of Regional Rural Banks (RRB), NABARD, Small Finance Banks, Payment Banks, Microfinance & Self-help groups. They directly / indirectly help the farmers / those involved in agriculture sector.
  2. RBI requires commercial banks to setup 25% of their new branches in unbanked rural areas.
  3. Kisan Credit Card, PM Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion.
  4. Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS): crop loans up to Rs. 3 lakh at 7% interest with 3% interest subvention to those who repaid their loans promptly. Meaning actual interest rate is 4% [Alternate Suggestion: Instead of ISS, Government should give universal crop insurance subsidy. Because many farmers take loans @4% but redeposit as Fixed Deposit to earn rate arbitrage.]
  5. Priority Sector Lending (PSL): RBI has earmarked 10% for Agriculture and 8% for small and Marginal Farmers. Definitions:
    1. Marginal farmer (सीमांत किसान): upto 1 ht. landholding
    2. Small farmer (छोटे किसान): more than 1 but upto 2 ht. of landholding.
  6. Agriculture income is exempted from union income tax. [More under black money segment in pillar-2]
  7. Budget 2017:
    1. Has given public sector banks (PSBs) a target of Rs.10 lakh crores agriculture credit.
    2. Has given 60 days interest waivers to farmers on account of demonetization.
    3. Primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) to be linked with District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCB) using Core Banking Solution (CBS). This will i) reduce money laundering ii) ensure that actual beneficiaries receive the crop loans and subsidies.

This credit initiative list is not exhaustive. But these many points sufficient to fill a 200 words answer.

Agriculture Loan Waiver: to give or not to give?

Some of the state governments have initiated loan waivers to address the problems of farmer suicide and agriculture distress.
But, RBI, SBI and economists are opposed to this because:

  • Government is paying farmers’ dues to the banks. This raises fiscal deficit. High level of fiscal deficit is harmful for any economy.
  • Such loan write-offs encourage a culture of indiscipline among borrowers. It creates moral hazard. i.e. other borrowers choosing not to repay in the hope of similar loan waivers in the future, especially during election years.
  • Subsequently, NPA problem will get aggravated. Then banks will raise non-agriculture loan rates to offset the losses. This will indirectly hurt households and business firms.
  • Government’s loan waivers covers only the loans taken from formal financial intermediaries. Small and marginal farmers, who usually owe money to informal lenders,  don’t benefit from this exercise.
  • Farmer suicide is a result of
    1. Lack of marketable surplus produce (because they’ve small landholding, lack of irrigation, high yielding seeds and other inputs,  lack of coaching (=extension service) on best farming practices.);
    2. Lack of remunerative prices (because of issues in APMC, MSP and transport-storage infrastructure.)
    3. Lack of financial inclusion and financial planning. (Because even after good monsoon and good harvest, money may get wasted on social events and pilgrimage,  if not saved and invested properly.)

Hence Debt waiver is at best a short-term remedy that can’t prevent farmer suicide until above three issues are addressed.

More points can be written but encyclopedic knowledge is a curse in UPSC Mains Exam.
It’s true that alcoholism/gambling, family /marital issues, casteism, incurable disease etc. too play a role in driving a villager towards indebteness and suicide; and sometimes naturally died villager’s family would induce poison after death to claim insurance money etc. but in 200 words question you should avoid all that peripheral bolbachchan. Else, you’ll run out of space without touching the core issues. When writing answer, keep in mind you’re not appearing for recruitment of Panelists in NDTV and TimesNOW.

Agri-Input#2: Irrigation (सिंचाई)

  • Definition: The supply of water to crops at different intervals is called irrigation.
  • Water is the most critical input and main reason for agriculture distress in India,  because >50% of Indian agriculture is rainfall dependent, droughts and floods are twin menace in Indian agriculture.
  • Due El Nino and other climate change events, India received less than normal rainfall in 2014 and 2015  leading to food inflation and agriculture distress.
  • To earn 2x (double) income, a farmer must __:
    • cultivate multiple crops annually. But in India, a second crop is grown on <40% of cultivated area. Main constrain? Water access in Rabi season.
    • cultivate high yield crop varieties. But they require constant (and higher) moisture in the soil. So, again water / irrigation is crucial.

Why Micro Irrigation (सूक्ष्म सिंचाई)?

  • Irrigation is needed because of spatio-temporal variability in rainfall India. but, India’s irrigation infrastructure mostly consists of i) public (canal irrigation) and ii) private (tube wells). In both cases, water deployed via “flood” irrigation, which is an extremely inefficient use of water.
  • Hence, India uses 2 to 4 times more water to produce a unit of major food crop than does China and Brazil. This leads to soil salinity,  fluoride contamination, declining water table and drought conditions.
  • Therefore, we must invest more into Micro-irrigation technologies such as sprinkler, raingun and drip irrigation.

Benefits of micro-irrigation

  • Water soluble fertilizers can be delivered directly to root system via fertigation. This reduces fertilizer usage, associated cost & soil contamination problems.
  • Less water evaporation, less electricity / diesel consumption, and higher yields than traditional flood irrigation.

Challenges in Micro-irrigation

  • small / marginal farmers feel discourage because of initial high cost of purchase and the skill required for repair and maintenance
  • Trampling by wild animals damages the equipment. Repairman not available locally and repair costs not covered in crop insurance. Hence mostly big farmers near urban areas adopt microirrigation system.

For more about (GSM3) Irrigation types and water management, Watch Rajtanil’s Geography Lectures.

Irrigation: Govt Initiatives

  • Drought prone area program, Haryali watershed development program, construction of large dams and canals, Crop Diversification programme to encourage Punjab, Haryana and in western UP farmers away from rice and other water intensive crops etc.etc.etc. I’ll ignore these because such “pre-Modi” schemes are less important for the competitive exams now.
  • 2015: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) launched to increase irrigation area and effective use of water in irrigation. It has four components:
    1. Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP),
    2. Har Khet Ko Pani,
    3. Per Drop More Crop
    4. Watershed Development. Desilting of water bodies/canals using MNREGA Labour.
  • Budget-2017: NABARD given funds for long term irrigation infra (20kcr) and Micro Irrigation (5kcr)

NITI/ES16 suggestions on irrigation:

  1. Increase funds for PMKSY. In Assam and other states, even shallow tube wells should be allowed in this scheme.
  2. River inter Linking project.
  3. Water intensive crops like sugarcane/cereal/grain need to be shifted to less water-stressed regions. And encourage pulses cultivation in the drought prone areas.
  4. Cost based water pricing. Stop canal water theft. [Although unlikely because of vote bank politics]
  5. Encourage Micro Irrigation, drip / sprinkler irrigation (फव्वारेदार सिंचाई!) since they give better efficiency than conventional irrigation.
  6. Rain water harvesting i.e. capture and store rain water. It helps in: i) agriculture ii) recharging groundwater aquifers iii)household/ industrial purpose.
  7. Watershed management i.e. building percolation tanks, recharge wells, etc. with community participation. It helps in conservation of rain, surface and groundwater resources.
  8. and finally, a National level dedicated agency to push above things.

Agri-Input#3: Seeds (बीज)

  • Since we can’t drastically increase the area under cultivation or area under irrigation, therefore, agriculture yield improvement depends greatly on seed quality and other inputs.
  • Hybrid seeds in cross-pollinated crops give higher yields, esp. rice, wheat, pulses and oilseeds.
  • Disease resistant and pest resistant seeds don’t require so much pesticide. This protects both the environment and farmer’s wallet.
  • For best yield, hybrid seeds must be replaced every year, and non-hybrid must be replaced every three years. But in India, seeds are replaced at rates below the optimum because of 1) affordability issues and 2) availability issues.

Seeds: Government initiatives?

  1. Under Green Revolution, High Yielding Varity (HVY) seeds esp. wheat and rice were promoted.
  2. 100% automatic FDI in Seed development.
  3. Simplified rules for inclusion of new varieties from OECD.
  4. NITI/ES16 suggested Reforms? increase seed-research, third party quality certification system, private participation and competition; reduce price control order of seed and other restrictions discouraging private investment.
  5. GM crops etc. under next part of the article i.e. “Agriculture Research, Development & Extension Services.”

Agri-Input#4: Fertilizers (उर्वरक)

  • Definition: Fertilizers are commercially produced substances, which are applied to soil to promote healthy growth of plants. [be careful in the choice of English words. ‘commercially produced’, else we’d have called them ‘manure’. And fertilizer is ‘applied’ to soil. Cement is ‘poured’,  water is ‘sprinkled’ .]
  • Fertilizers restore the lost plant nutrients in the soil by supplying three critical elements: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K).
  • Problem? Ideal N:P:K mix= 4:2:1. but in Indian soil contains excess “N” due to overuse of subsidized urea. This hurts crop-yield, increases soil and water contamination.
  • India is largely import dependent for its potassic (K) and phosphatic (P) fertilizer requirements, because our mines alone are not sufficient for their domestic production.

ES15 and ES16 Observations / Suggestions:

  • Chakravyuh Challenge: Government gives production subsidies to sick / less efficient fertilizer companies. So, instead of shutting down these companies continue to run on public money.
  • Free market principle: Fertilizer and other input subsidies should be DBT’ed to farmers’ bank account. Then purchase choice will be in the hands of consumer (Farmer). This will encourage seed, fertilizer, farm machine companies to design more efficient and customized products as per agro-climatic requirements of the country, while the non-performer companies will collapse, just like Gurmeet RamRaheem’s empire.
  • Biofertilizers: They’re the living or biologically active products, made up of bacteria, algae and fungi. When applied to soil, they fix atmospheric nitrogen, solubilize phosphorus, decompose organic material thereby enhancing growth and yield of crops, improving soil fertility and reducing pollution.

Fertilizer: Government initiatives

  • 2010: Government shifted from a product-based subsidy (PBS) to nutrient-based subsidy (NBS). [What was that scheme, why it didnt deliver result etc. I’m ignoring because it’s a “Pre-Modi” thing. Some overenthusiastic candidates…if they see some random outdated policy mentioned in Hindu/EPW etc. with a columnist suggesting that it should be revived, then these candidates start researching and dissecting things in PHD level details. That approach has a very poor cost:benefit].
  • 2015: Core Scheme “Soil Health Card”: Farmer can know which nutrients are missing in his land, so he can decide the appropriate mix of fertilizer, instead of blindly using urea. Agriculture extension workers can also provide him customized suggestions on further productivity, because soil health card also contains data on soil PH and other physical parameters.
  • 2015: Neem coating of urea to 1) reduce diversion of subsidized urea to chemical industry. 2) reduce Nitrogen loss from the soil.
  • 2016: Pilot Projects for Fertilizer DBT in selected districts.
  • Joint Ventures with other countries for natural gas exploration. [Natural gas is required in the chemical process during urea production.]
  • 2016: Target for 10 lakh compost pits for organic manure. Benefits? Manure is prepared by the decomposition of animal excreta and plant waste. Hence environment friendly. It improves soil with nutrients, soil texture, soil aeration and water holding capacity.

Agri-Input#5: Pesticides (कीटनाशक)

  • (Definition) Pesticides and weedicides are chemicals which are used for killing / controlling pests and weeds respectively.
  • None of the documents (survey, NITI, SDG) give any specific points for pesticide. Just bolbachchan:
    • 25% crop loss on account of pests, weed, diseases but India’s per ht. pesticide consumption is far less than first world.
    • Encourage organic pesticides and biocontrol agents. Adopt integrated pest management (IPM) approach i.e. rather than eradicating pest population to 100%, just try to keep crop damage to economically tolerable level. Because even pests are important for biodiversity protection and food chain balance.
    • Spread awareness about proper use of chemical pesticides (esp. Endosulphan) so it doesn’t contaminate food / land / water / human bodies excessively.

Agri-Input#6: Land

Once you’ve gathered above five inputs, you need land to plant them for cultivation…. That’s for understanding, but if asked any land related question in exam, how will you ‘begin’ the answer? You can start with its origin / significance to agriculture i.e.

  • Agriculture is a purely land based activity unlike secondary and tertiary economic  activities. Hence size and quality of land has direct bearing on agriculture productivity and farmers’ income. Land ownership serves as social value, security against credit, contingencies and natural hazards.
  • Only the state legislatures can enact laws related to land ownership and tenancy. But their archaic nature and redtapism has led to litigation, fragmentation of farms, low productivity of land and poor targeting of agriculture subsidies and relief measures during disasters.
  • Solution: NITI prepared model land leasing law- all states should adopt it.

Digitization of land records

  • 2008: National Land Records Modernization Programme launched. But funding conditions were such that most states avoid it. Hence, NITI suggested technical reforms in revamping that scheme. Once that is done, and land records are digitized using high-resolution satellite imagery and ground truth data collection then it’ll help in following ways:
    • Reduce land related litigation during sale and inheritance.
    • Reduce money-laundering through agriculture Income tax exemption, reduce land encroachment
    • Better targeting of farm subsidies and calamity relief
    • Easier land acquisition for infrastructure projects. [because government will know who is the original owner,-he’ll get the money. His cousins and uncles can’t file frivolous litigations at that time to delay the acquisition process.]

Associated Topic for Mains GS3: “Land Reforms”. You can read my whole article series from mrunal.org/polity#land-reforms

Soil Erosion


  • Destruction of the soil cover is described as soil erosion.
  • Soil degradation is the decline in soil fertility, due to soil erosion and land misuse.

Origin / why soil erosion happens?

  • Soil is the mixture of rock debris and organic materials which develop on the earth’s surface. Soil is a living system. It takes millions of years to form soil upto a few cm in depth. But human factors such as grazing & deforestation; and natural factors such as wind, water, ice lead to soil erosion, and thereby hurting farm-productivity.

Farm soil Erosion how to reduce?

  • Contour ploughing: To decelerate the flow of water down the slopes.
  • Terrace cultivation: In Himalayan region to restrict erosion by running water.
  • Strip Cropping: Divided large fields into strips, and allow grass to grow between the crops. This breaks up the force of the wind, and reduces soil erosion
  • Shelter Belts: Planting lines of trees to create shelter against wind.

Agri-Input#7: Farm Mechanization (मशीनीकरण)


  • water pump, ploughs, combine harvesters, land levelers, cultivators, power operated tractor sprays, reapers, threshers, trolleys and mechanical pickers etc.


  • Agricultural mechanization increases productivity of land and labour by meeting timeliness of farm operations and increases work output per unit time.
  • mechanization also enables efficient utilization of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation water.
  • Employment opportunities to rural youth and artisans for the production, operation, and maintenance of machines.
  • In developing countries agriculture, machines fill up for the scarcity of agri-labourers. In India, rich states also facing similar issue because of MNREGA. Plus, doubling the income of farmer, requires that some of the small / marginal farmers should leave agriculture for industrial / service sector jobs, and resultant land consolidation and mechanization will boost income for the rest of the farmers to double.


  • Customized machinery required because of India’s soil and climatic diversity. Related Schemes: 1) Make in India. 2) Unnat Bharat Abhiyan by HRD to encourage IIT/NIT etc to innovate rural-Indian friendly technologies.
  • Small size of landholdings where machinery usage difficult.
  • Farmers lack financial resources. Not even 3% of total agri. credit flows towards farm mechanization.
  • Suggested reform: App based renting of farm machinery and tractors similar to ola and uber.

Agri-Input#8: Insurance against calamities & Disasters

  • Though agriculture sector is a minor contributor to India’s GDP, but large proportion of our population depends on it for their livelihood.  Agriculture itself depends on monsoon, and other vagaries of nature.
  • This makes India one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. India losses ~$10 billion annually because of extreme weather events like drought, hailstorm, cold wave, landslides etc.
  • But compared to other economies of similar sizes, the insurance penetration is low in India. Indians buy life insurances but are usually passive about general insurance of agriculture, cattle, property and business.
  • Hence whether its floods in Kashmir or Cyclone Hudhud in Southern India, it takes heavy toll on the rural households’ financial wellbeing, especially those dependent on agriculture.
  • 2002: Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd. (AIC) was setup, to improve the penetration of agriculture insurance. It had even launched tailor made products for mango and rubber plantation, potato contract farming etc. still not even 1/5th of the farmers could be covered. Hence Modi govt came up with a new scheme that is….

Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojna (PMFBY)

  • Launched in 2016, Kharif season. [when was it launched exactly? that is not important for descriptive exams, but I’ve mentioned so you’ve atleast a chronological sequence in mind, when attempting an agriculture essay.]
  • Farmer has to pay only a part of the crop-insurance premium: 1.5% for Rabi, 2% for Khari and 5% for commercial and horticultural crops. Government bears the remaining insurance as subsidy.
  • Scheme provides for satellite / smartphone based assessments, compensation DBT to farmers’ bank account, it covers both pre-harvest and post-harvest losses as well.

NITI suggested reforms in PMFBY:

  • Farmers has to contribution hardly 1.5 to 5% of premium. The government pays the remainder of the premium as subsidy. This model results in larger absolute subsidy amounts for bigger farmers who are actually less vulnerable during disasters than small/marginal farmers. So there should be a ‘cap / ceiling on premium subsidy’ system per farm.
  • Policy should provide 3-5 years coverage, else 1) some remote area farmers may not renew it; 2) companies will go slow in selling policies during years that droughts / El-Nino are predicted.
  • Subsidy premium should be DBT’ed to farmers’ account so he can buy policy from a company which is giving best value for the money.
  • At any given location, minimally two companies should offering insurance to ensure competition, efficiency and lower premiums for farmers.
  • Effective use of weather-climate forecasts and crop models. And communicate such advisories to each and every farmer.

Agriculture Insurance claim delay / rejection

News reports point out that insurance companies are rejecting / delaying claim settlement. Thus Government insurance scheme is not benefiting the farmers. Again the PHD-Enthusiast aspirants jump the gun to find the reasons and suggest the reforms. But, in the UPSC exam, you should have the mental aptitude to connect the dots without needing to google for it. (as some might called ‘guessmastergiri’).

Let’s try,

What could be the “possible” reasons / reforms (Without googling):

Delay in general insurance claim settlement could arise from:

  • Insurance agent did not submit premium or documents to company.
  • Field inspection related problems. May be weather is so bad or area is so remote/hostile that assessment officer’s personal visit is difficult.
  • Accounting and disbarment related problems/ technical rules and redtapism at headquarter.

Possible reforms can be:

  • IRDAI and Government should take cognizance of the problems and issue appropriate guidelines. (After all, insurance is a financial product, so there ought to be a regulator.)
  • Farmers should be made aware of insurance ombudsman and / or there should be separate insurance ombudsmen for agriculture insurance policies to protect farmers from malpractices of agents and companies. (from my prelim series financial inclusion lecture, you should know that both insurance and banking sectors have ombudsman for customer grievances)
  • Lack of digital and conclusive land ownership records could have impeded the claim settlement. So states should adopt model NITI law on land leasing, and digitize the land records.

Now what are the “actual” reasons (after googling):

  • State / union government has not paid their share of premium. Hence companies delay settlement.
  • Under this scheme, state Government officials have to prepare crop-loss assessment reports, send to company and company compensates the farmer. But some state Government  officials don’t even bother to visit the field and write reports sitting in their AC chambers (probably through ‘guessmastergiri’).
  • State governments decide the agriculture yield thresholds, which are very low; and sometimes not done scientifically for horticulture crops. Hence farmer doesn’t get large amount of money in compensation, even in genuine loss.

My thoughts on Scheme/Policy PHD-giri for GS Mains?

After UPSC changed mains syllabus in 2013, for the initial two years (2013 and 2014), they asked very minute and technical things from schemes and policies. But in the two subsequent years (2015 and 2016), they’ve moved towards grander, broader, macro level topics and questions. Observe:

  • 2013: why Mulibrand retail FDI via Joint venture model has not picked up? And 2014: 100% FDI in news media: pros and cons? VERSUS 2016: what should be done to encourage actual FDI (in general terms without mentioning any specific sector).
  • 2014: Selection criteria for IIT/IIM students?  VERSUS 2015: should we allow foreign universities in India?
  • 2013: how non-implementation of the provisions of fifth schedule led to growth of Left Wing Extremism? VERSUS 2016: Major provisions for scheduled tribes’ upliftment. (here you did not have to analyse or connect anything, simply write provisions.)

Ofcoruse, still UPSC continues to ask random things and vaguely worded questions in mains. But proportionately they’ve decreased it compared to 2013 and 2014. We can go in the reasons / conspiracy theories behind such change….My take is that UPSC wants to give equal chance to candidates from faraway areas who can’t keep 24/7 watch on 50 current affairs websites, TV channels and Radioshows or dig last 5 years’ low-profile schemes and policies for problems and reforms. Because evaluators might have complained about the poor quality of answers in those trivial/minute detailed questions versus haphazardly written answers in short time limit vs. the difficulty in its objective evaluation.

So, “agriculture insurance  claim settlement kyo nhi hua?” It is a minute topic, not a grand topic worth dissecting. Because:

  • To become a topper, you don’t have to write best answer but less bad answer than others.
  • In the final rank, the score / scaling of optional subject plays grander role than GS Score. Because all sincere candidates are given nearby average marks in the GS papers. The margin/difference between excellent “actual” answer vs a good “guessed” answer doesn’t seem very large. Now, again refer to aforementioned insurance claim settlement delay’s answerpoints: without googling and without googling.

Therefore, don’t spend excessive time  and money on gathering latest and minutest things for GS Mains. Otherwise rest of your time will be spent in dissecting scheme / policies / IT-gadgets principles, problems and reforms only. Then when will you finish other parts of the mains syllabus?

Anyways, I’m done with “Agriculture Input” related points. You can add even more points/schemes in it for your own reference by copy pasting this in MS-word, but from my side, Economy’s 4th  pillar sectors -> “A” for Agriculture’s first part “Input” is over. In the next article, we shall see:

  • Part-II: Agriculture research, development, extension services.
  • Part-III: “Output” i.e. issues related to PDS, MSP, APFC, NSFA and what does NITI 3 Year action plan and Economic Survey have to say about them.