Saturday, 31 December 2011

Girl Child – Future of India: With Special Reference to Strategies for Girl Child Education in Andhra Pradesh

   Girl Child – Future of India:
  With Special Reference to Strategies for Girl Child Education in Andhra Pradesh

(This article was presented in the National Seminar on “Care and Protection of Girl Child: Status, Emerging Issues, Challenges and Way Forward at Lucknow University, Lucknow)   

                                                                                                                -Dr. S. Vijay Kumar
Girl child is the future of every nation and India is no exception. A little amount of care, a handful of warmth and a heart full of love for a girl child can make a big difference. Close your eyes, free your thoughts and hear the voice of God, She is saying something to all of us, “Save Me”. India is a country where social disadvantage outweighs natural biological advantage of being a girl. A whole range of discriminatory practices including female foeticide, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, son idolization, early marriage and dowry have buried the future of the nation. In India, discriminatory practices have greatly influenced the health and well-being of a girl child, resulting in a higher mortality rate.It is said that God created mothers because He could not be present everywhere. Its unbelievable to realize that a God’s representative is continuously killing someone beautiful even before she can come out and see the beauty of nature.
In India, the girl child has been a topic of discussions and debates for the past several decades but, even today, the position appears to remain unchanged. The girl was always an unwanted child, and was found killed at birth. With the advancement of Science and Technology this killing has only gone still further - for now the girl child is being killed even before birth. The present scenario in which the girl child is mercilessly killed even before birth, does not speak too well about the fate of this species. The scenario is so varied that, it is really difficult to understand what we are really doing or trying to do in this regard. On the one hand we see girls entering in the fields of all kinds of professions holding senior positions in offices, becoming engineers, doctors, managers etc. We are obviously impressed and are likely to believe that, the position of the girl is now after all not too bad.
However, the complexity of the problem becomes malicious when we see that, together with girls entering professions there is a simultaneous and continuous rise in the graph of crimes against women. Why and how do these two sides of the same problem co-relate, is a mind-boggling situation. This situation is true of the urban area where education and freedom is given to girls - to a great extent, but even this growth of this class does not really bear any testimony to the equality of girls with boys.
The rural areas consisting of the major chunk of the Indian population see no - yes absolutely no change in the general attitude towards girls. In the villages, girls are not sent to schools and, if at all they are, they drop out after an year or two of schooling. Here, the myth still remains that, education is useless for girls - they have to concentrate on house work, child bearing and child bringing up all through life - and all this, it is believed needs no education. The village people are hard to convince that education of women is as important if not more important than the education of men.
In the village, the girl child has no say in anything in the home, not even things of her own concern - she is, even to-day in the 21st Century treated as an object to be used instead of an individual human being with all the ingredients of human beings - like her counterparts - the boy. She,  even today remains to have the status of an object to be used or dispensed with at the whims and fancies of her male family members. With this psyche of the average Indian adult, I personally see no light at the end of the dark tunnel.
In my view, even for the urban areas, the prospects of the girl child are not too bright as, even while women are acquiring status and positions in the office - firstly, they do not get the respect the male counterparts get in the offices. Besides no matter what status a woman may achieve outside home, inside the home she, by and large remains a chattel. When this is the ground reality of the girl at home and outside home it appears that, even education and financial independence have not helped women really enhancing their status vis-à-vis the status of men.
Let us analyze as to why this peculiar situation persists and how we should deal with it. My personal view is that the rise of women and the crime against women going hand in hand is a paradox but not difficult to understand. It is very clear that, the men who have held the fort single handedly for centuries, would obviously not like to give up their importance, or even share it with women. It is they who resent this rise of the heads of women and so, before women rise to unchallengeable heights the ogre of man wants to crush them.
This he does by using his God gifted physical strength and it is this reason that, crimes against women are now on the rise. The woman who was earlier battered because she was considered a lesser being is now being battered, because she is potential challenge to man's unquestioned supremacy through past several centuries. Thus, the position remains unchanged even after education and financial independence.
To my mind, there is no single package that could improve matters for the girl child/woman except that men change their attitude towards women. Unless men start regarding women as their equal partners, in the growth of humanity this differentiation between men and women shall continue unabated. No single item of achievement like education, profession, legal rights or even the mixture of all these will work out a solution - the only feasible solution is the change of mind, the change of attitude of the men towards women. Till this is done, no amount of teaching, preaching or bargaining will help the girl child.
At this juncture when we talk of attitude, I must add that even women have to change their attitude towards the girl child/ women. At least partly women are themselves responsible for their position. As women it is they who pamper their sons and husbands till they begin to believe that they are really superior beings. Let us all, men and women change our attitudes in this regard and, I am sure it will reap pleasant results.
It’s painful to confess that the trend still exists in various parts of the country. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are most popular for practicing female foeticide and infanticide.
Poverty, gender discrimination and son preference have also influenced the nutritional status of a girl child. There are almost 75 million malnourished children existing in the country. It is estimated that 75% of the total malnourished children are girls who show signs of chronic and acute malnutrition. Girls who manage to cross this hard phase of life, gets trapped by the evil society during adolescence and teenage. These are the stages where more nutrition is required for normal growth and development. Unfortunately, nutritional needs are neglected for girls and they are often kept locked within the four walls.
Exacerbate discrimination against female for nutrition and education has led to an increase in child marriage, reduction in fertility rates and population growth, potentially, women’s participation in nurturing the future of every nation. Improper nutrition during adolescence results in various reproductive health disorders. The effects of these disorders further exacerbates by early marriage, closely spaced pregnancies, poor access to information about family planning, traditional practices, etc.
Gender Parity can Boost India’s GDP by 27% - IMF:

IMF’s Chief Cristina Lagarde speaking in her key note address at the launch of World’s 20 largest economies said today  (6 - 09 – 2015) at Ankara( Capital of Turkey) that “we have esimates that,if the number of female wokers were to increase to the same level as the number of men, GDP in the US would expand by 5%, by 9% in Japan, and by 27% in India.

International agreements
Three key international agreements that provide added standards for governments in realizing reproductive health and rights are the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development; the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women; and the 2001 and 2006 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS. These landmark agreements promote human rights, gender equality and empowerment as critical to the overall development and well-being of women, girls and young women. In the context of the HIV epidemic, governments pledged at their meeting in 2001 to progress by 2005 on a number of actions. They pledged to “ensure development and accelerated implementation of national strategies for women’s empowerment, the promotion and protection of women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and reduction of their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS through the elimination of all forms of discrimination, as well as forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful traditional and customary practices ...”The failure of many HIV programmes to integrate reproductive health concerns in areas of high prevalence amounts to discrimination against child brides, who are more likely to require frequent use of reproductive health services.
The right to education
Several studies recognize that child marriage limits girls’ rights to education. The essence of the rights to education and to health is that they facilitate and ensure the effective enjoyment of other human rights. Their denial results in the denial of other rights such as the right to work, the right to life and so on. Many child brides are withdrawn from school before they have the opportunity to acquire the relevant skills, abilities and self-confidence that will enable them to enjoy or exercise these other key human rights
entitlements.
“International human rights law lays down a three-way set of criteria, whereby girls should have an equal right to education and equal rights in education, and their equal rights should be promoted through education.” The denial of formal education means that child brides are often deprived of opportunities to access in-school programmes on HIV prevention and reproductive health information. The Convention on the Rights of the Child addresses other essential rights in relation to education. They include the right to educational and vocational information and guidance as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. In addition, schools are better suited to deliver the ICPD Programme of Action, including the call for programmes to meet the reproductive health needs of young people.
Current status of the Girl child (11th FYP):
A perusal of the various indicators reflects the dismal situation of the girl child. The sharp
decline in female sex ratios over the years suggests that female foeticide and infanticide
might be primarily responsible for this phenomenon followed by general neglect of the girl child The sex ratio has been dwindling even in States like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat which are supposed to be economically prosperous. Female infanticide has been reported from parts of Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The magnitude of girl child mortality is reflected from the fact that every year, about 12 million girls are born in India; a third of these girls die in the first year of their life; three million, or 25 per cent, do not survive to see their fifteenth birthday. The child mortality rate between 0- 4 years for girl child is 20.6%, two percent more than that of boys (18.6%). The root cause of malnutrition amongst girls is not just poverty and lack of nutritious food, but also like lack of value attached to girls. Discriminatory feeding practices reveal:
ü      Girl’s nutritional intake is inferior in quality and quantity;
ü      Boys have access to more nutritious food;
ü      Boys are given first priority with the available food within the family;
ü      Female infants are breastfed less frequently, for shorter duration and over a shorter period than boys. Gender discrimination results in malnutrition of girls on a large scale; 56 percent of girls (15- 19 years) continue to suffer from anemia; 45 per cent of the girls suffer from stunted growth as opposed to 20per cent of boys. Due to dietary deficiencies, adolescent girls do not achieve their potential weight and height. Also, 35 per cent of rural adolescent girls have a weight below 38 kg and a height below 145 cm. Anemia is often responsible for miscarriages, still mortality
Strategies for Girl Child Education in Andhra Pradesh
Major Policies and Schemes paving way for Girl Child Education
NPE also stressed that the recruitment of at least 50 per cent of the teachers should be
women to create conducive atmosphere for girl children in schools. This program also had laid down the concept of Minimum levels of learning according to which irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex, all children must be given access to education of a comparable standard. This strategy for improving the quality of elementary education is an attempt to combine quality with equity. It lays down learning outcomes in the form of competencies or levels of learning for each stage of elementary education. The strategy also prescribes the adoption of measures that will ensure achievement of these levels by children both in the formal schools as well as NFE centers. The NPE also introduced the scheme Operation Black Board in 1987 to provide minimum essential facilities to all primary schools in the country.
Elementary Education
NPE proposed to set up new primary schools according to the norms in unserved
habitations5. These schools were supposed to be opened by the State Governments
following the norms specified under Operation Blackboard. The norms of OBB specified that there should be atleast two teachers in a primary school and one of them should be a
woman teacher and each primary school should have at least two pucca classrooms. NPE
also recommended the expansion of infrastructure at the upper primary level to increase
enrolment at this stage. The norm of providing an upper primary school within 3 km walking distance has been relaxed to benefit the girl child.
Secondary Education
Access to secondary education was proposed to be widened with emphasis on enrolment of girls, SCs and STs, particularly in science, commerce and vocational streams. Boards of Secondary Education were also proposed to be reorganised and vested with autonomy so that their ability to improve the quality of secondary education is enhanced6. A program of computer literacy (CLASS) was implemented in secondary level institutions to ensure that the children are equipped with necessary computer skills to be effective in the emerging technological world. Children with special talent or aptitude were provided opportunities to proceed at a faster pace, by making good quality education available to them, irrespective of their capacity to pay for it through the Pace-setting residential schools, Navodaya Vidyalayas. Their broad aim was to serve the objective of excellence coupled with equity and social justice (with reservation for the rural areas, SCs and STs), to promote national integration by providing opportunities to talented children from different parts of the country, to live and learn together, to develop their full potential, and, most importantly, to become catalysts of a nation-wide programme of school improvement.
Policy Parameters
The policy parameters and the strategies of the NPE to promote girls’ education were aimed:
  • To get the entire education system to play positive interventionist role in the
       empowerment of women.
  • To encourage educational institutions to take up active programs to enhance women status and further women development in all sectors.
  • To widen women access to vocational technical and professional education at all levels breaking gender stereotypes; and
  • To create dynamic management structure that will be able to respond to the challenge posed by the mandate.
Schemes
  • Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP)
  • Operation Blackboard (OBB)
  • District Institutes of Educational Training (DIET)
  • District Primary Education Programme(DPEP)
  • National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (School Meal
Programme)(NPNSPE)
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
  • The National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary (NPEGEL)
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV)
Strategies for Girl Child Education
  • Capacity building for the officers of the education department who are designated as enforcement officers
  • All incentives provided for girls by different departments like education social welfare, tribal welfare, women and child welfare, projects like SSA, Velugu, NCLP etc to be disbursed to the beneficiaries in the gram sabhas.
  • Every Primary school to have a pre- primary section in villages where Anganwadi
      Centers are not available, which will relieve the girl child of the sibling burden.
  • Sensitizing functionaries on girl child education.
  • To ensure atleast one female teacher in every Primary, Upper Primary and
       Secondary School.
  • Sensitizing teachers on gender issues and steps to be taken by the teachers
            encouraging girls’ student participation in the classroom activities, co-curricular
      activities to ensure equity in participation and attainment.
  • Infrastructural facilities to be enhanced for schools with high Girls enrolment.
  • Provision of adequate classrooms and sanitation facilities in all secondary schools to facilitate retention of girls.
Towards better learning leading to empowerment of girls
    • Teachers to be made responsible to pay special attention for better learning of children particularly girls.
    • Tutorial classes for slow learners including girls of Classes VII and X in Mathematics and Science.
    • School level physical education activities are to be organised and separate events are to be organise for girls.
    • Launching of confidence developing measures through various monetary and material incentives for the continuation of girls education atleast till secondary level.
    • Cash incentives to SC/ST girls with more than 80% aggregate in SSC
    • Panchayats and Self Help Groups (SHGs). Mechanisms of grading of schools based on the enrolment and retention of children, performance of students, conducive school environment for girl child etc.
To conclude, even to-day in the 21st Century the position remains unchanged even after education and financial independence. Hence, people and Governments must be committed to protect the girl child – future hope of all nations. Other-wise, it leads to imbalance in sex – ratio and this in turn will lead to many evils in the society.   
References:
“From Girl Child to Person”, UNESCO, 1995
 Jandhyala Kameswari; “ Bringing Child Labor into Schools”
“Review of Child Labour, Education and Poverty Agenda, India Country Report,
2006”
Programme of Action, 1990
Sub-group Report Girl Child in the 11th FYP (2007-2012)
India Education Report, A Profile of Basic Education, NIEPA,2002
Report of the Sixth All India Education Survey in Andhra Pradesh, (VI AIES), 1993
Selected Educational Statistics, Director of School Education , AP, Hyderabad
Statistical Abstract of Andhra Pradesh
National Policy on Education, 1986
NFHS – 2, Andhra Pradesh 1998 – 99
http://www.education.nic.in/
The Economic Times: 07-09-2015

PRIORITY SECTOR LENDING – A REVIEW

                PRIORITY SECTOR LENDING – A REVIEW
(This article was presented in the National Seminar at SR&BGNR College Khammam, AP - India)

                                 
                                                                                    -Dr. S. Vijay Kumar

                 The origin of priority sector prescriptions for banks in India can be traced to the Credit Policy for the year 1967-68, wherein it was emphasized that commercial banks should increase their involvement in the financing of priority sectors, viz., agriculture, exports and small-scale industries, as a matter of urgency. However, the description of the priority sector was formalized in 1972 on the basis of the report submitted by the Informal Study Group on Statistics relating to advances to the Priority Sectors constituted by Reserve Bank in May 1971. On the basis of this report, Reserve Bank prescribed modified priority sector advances and certain guidelines in February 1972, indicating the scope of the items to be included under various categories of priority sector. In most of these cases, the guidelines indicated only the general description of the advances to be included and no ceilings were fixed, except in the case of small-scale industry and road and water transport operators where ceilings on the value of original investments were indicated.
Nationalization of banks and after:

                  The nationalization of the 14 major commercial banks in July 1969 led to a considerable reorientation of bank lending, especially to the priority sectors of the economy, which had not previously received sufficient attention from the commercial banks. It gave an impetus to the process of reallocation of banking resources to suit the socio-economic needs of the country. There was a greater involvement of banks in these and other socially desirable sectors. Moreover, institutional credit facilities at reasonable rates of interest were extended to a large number of borrowers of small means such as small farmers, small-scale manufacturers, retail traders, road transport operators, small businessmen, professionals and self-employed persons, and also for education. One of the objectives of nationalization of 14 major commercial banks was to ensure that no viable productive endeavor should falter for lack of credit support, irrespective of the fact whether the borrower was big or small. Thus, the concept of priority sector lending was evolved further to ensure that assistance from the banking system flowed in an increasing measure to the vital sectors of the economy and according to national priorities.There have been several changes in the composition of priority sector over the years. At present, the priority sector broadly comprises agriculture, SSI and other segments such as small business, retail trade, small road and water transport operators, professional and self-employed persons, housing, education loans, micro credit, software, etc.The definition of weaker sections in priority sector has also been revised and accordingly, the weaker sections in priority sector are now defined as:
a) Small and marginal farmers with land holdings of 5 acres and less, landless labourers, tenant farmers, and share croppers;
b) Artisans, village and cottage industries with individual credit requirements not exceeding Rs.50,000/-;
c) Beneficiaries of the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY);
d) Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes;
Categories of priority sector advances:
The broad categories of priority sector for all scheduled commercial banks are as under:
Agriculture (Direct and Indirect Finance):
Direct finance to agriculture includes short medium and long term loans given for agriculture and allied activities directly to individual farmer, self-help groups (SHGs) or joint liability groups (JLGs) of individual farmers without limit and to others (such as corporate partnership firms and institutions) up to Rs. 20 lakh for taking up agriculture allied activities. Indirect finance to agriculture includesloans given for agriculture and allied activities.
Small scale industries (Direct and Indirect Finance):
Direct finance to small scale industries (SSIs) includes all loans given to SSI units which are engaged in manufacture, processing or preservation of goods and whose investment are in plant and machinery (original cost) excluding land and building.
Small business/service enterprises:It includes small business, retail trade, professional and self employed persons, small road and water transport operators and other enterprises.
Micro credit:Provision of credit and other financial services and products of very small amounts not exceeding Rs. 50,000 per borrower to the poor in rural, semi-urban and urban areas, either directly or through a group mechanism, for enabling them to improve their living standards,constitutes micro credit.
Education loans:Education loans include loans and advances granted to individuals for educational purpose, up to Rs. 10 lakh for studies in India and Rs. 20 lakh for studies abroad and do not include those granted scholarship by the institutions.
Housing loans:Loans upto Rs. 15 lakh for construction of houses by individuals, (excluding loans granted by banks to their own employees) and loans given for repairs to the damaged houses of individuals up to Rs. 1 lakh in rural and semi-urban areas and up to Rs. 2 lakh in urban areas.
Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in Priority Sector:The aggregate NPAs of public sector banks under priority sector was maximum at Rs.25,150 crore in 2002, accounting for 46.2 per cent of total NPAs. However, in 2004, it declined to Rs.23, 841 crore, though as a percentage to total NPAs, it increased to 47.5 per cent. The share of NPAs under priority sector remained in the range between 44.2 per cent (2001) and 52.5 per cent (1995) of the total NPAs for State Bank of India and its Associates.
NPAs were more in public sector bank group while the least was in foreign bank group, because advances by public sector bank group to the priority sector were also high. NPAs in the public and private sector bank group were high mainly due to increase in NPAs in the agricultural sector. Lending to priority sectors is higher by the public and private sector banks than the foreign banks. Public and private sector banks have achieved the overall target and sub-target but not as much as foreign banks. Non-achievement of agriculture lending target by many public and private sector banks is due to low capital formation in agriculture resulting in poor credit absorption and write-off of nonperforming loans leading to reduction in the outstanding advances in the case of some banks.
MAJOR ISSUES:
Preferences of RBI to priority sector advances have created various issues for the Indian banking industry which need quick attention. These issues are:
Low profitability:
Profitability has been affected by a wide range of factors such as increasing proportion of deposit resources under statutory liquidity pre-emption at lower interest, the shift of savers’ preferences to long-term deposits and the incidence of non-performing assets. Though, banking is not a high profit area in most countries, profitability has been particularly low in India. One of the important reasons for declining profitability of banks has been their increasing involvement in providing mandatory credit entailing rigid target setting and the concessionality.
High NPAs: Persons who borrow from the bank do not repay the loan. This increases non-performing assets of the banks. Thus, priority sector credit has created fear among banks and, discourages them to go slow in disbursement of credit.
Quantitative targets:The concerns for achieving quantitative targets within stipulated time frame irrespective of assessed demand or potential have caused an erosion of the qualitative aspects of lending which have an effect on the viability of the lending institutions.
Government interference:
One of the major problems of bank is that the government interferes in the working of the banks especially in public sector banks. Therefore, loans are delivered in the hands of the rich rather than weaker section of the society.
Transaction cost:Sanctioning and monitoring of large number of small advances is time consuming and manpower intensive, thus adding to the transaction cost. The problem is further compounded by the deficiencies in pre-sanction and bunching of applications at the last moment by the sponsoring agencies in the case of lending under poverty alleviation programmes. These deficiencies have resulted in the lowering of the overall quality of credit and the effectiveness of its delivery.
STRATEGIES:
Recovery of NPAs:
For the recovery of NPAs, banks should follow the following measures:
1) Debt Recovery Tribunal should implement to recover the NPAs;
2) Banks should be very careful in considering settlement compromise proposals;
3) Banks should try to introduce a system of internal audit of sanction of loans before disbursements for large averages.
Rate of interest:Bank should follow the following guidelines of RBI for the rate of interest;
 1) In respect of direct agricultural advances, banks should not compound the interest in the case of current dues, that is crop loans and installments should not fall due in respect of term loans, as the agriculturalist do not have any regular source of income other than sale proceeds of their crops;
 2) When crop loans or installments under term loans become overdue, banks can add interest to the principal;
 3) Where the default is due to genuine reasons, banks should extend the period of loan or reschedule the installments under term loan. Once such a relief has been extended, the over dues become current dues and banks should not compound interest.
Discretionary powers:
All Branch Managers of banks should be vested with discretionary powers to sanction proposals from weaker section without interference of the government.
Qualitative targets:
Bank should fix quantitative as well as qualitative targets so that viability of the banks can increase.
IMPLICATIONS:
The main implication is that although RBI has fixed some targets regarding priority sector advances but many banks are not in position to achieve it. The implicit of the paper is that RBI should carry out strict measures against these banks that are not properly providing priority sector advances. In the era of global recession, our country RBI should redefine priority sector advances.
AREAS OF COMPREHENSIVE FUTURE RESEARCH:
The following topics should be given top priority for future research:
1) Extent of NPAs from different components of priority sector advances;
2) Rural-Urban gap in NPAs from priority sector advances;
3) Priority sector advances and efficiency of banks.
Conclusion:The priority sector advances of all the banking groups are increasing. In spite of increasing advances, Indian banks have not achieved some targets fixed by RBI lending to priority sector.
REFERENCES:

1. Chhimpa J (2002). “Incremental NPA: Stem that Inflow”, Vinimaya, 23 (3): 18-21.
2. Gujral N (2003). “NPA Blues and the Securitization Act”, Vinimaya, 24(1): 13-23.
3. Gupta S, Kumar S (2004). “Dimensions and Prospects of Nonperforming
Assets: Challenges Before the Banking Sector Reforms in the New Millennium”, Edited Book Banking in the New Millennium pp. 279-291.
4. Kumar R (2000). “NPA Management for Better Banking”, Proceedings of the Bank Economist Conference 2000 pp. 68-73. Uppal 089
5. Prasad M, Sinha KK, Prasad KM (2004). “Post-reform Performance of Public Sector Banks with Special Reference to Non-performance Assets”, Edited Book Banking in the New Millennium pp. 259-267.
6. Passah PM (2002). “Banking and Financial Sector Reforms in India –Rationale, Progress, Efficacy and Future Agenda” Edited book, Banking and Financial Sector Reforms in India New Delhi : Deep and Deep Publ. pp. 18-37.
7. Mujumdar NA (2001). “The New Architecture of the Rural Credit System”, Prof. M.L. Dantwala Monograph Series, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, of Indian Society of Agricultural Marketing at Vizag (A.P.)”
8. Samal B (2002). “The NPA Overhung: Magnitude, Solution and Legal Reforms”, Vinimaya 23(3): 12-17.
9. Vashisht AK (2004). ‘Commercial Banking in the Globalized Environment’, Political Economy J. India 13(1& 2): 1-10.


DRY LAND FARMING WITH SPECIAL RFERENCE TO TELANGANA

DRY LAND FARMING WITH SPECIAL RFERENCE TO TELANGANA
(This article was presented in the National Seminar on " Emerging Dimensions of  Dry Land Farming" on 20th & 21st March, 2011 at Kakatiya University, Warangal, AP - India) 

                                                                                                                 -Dr. S. Vijay Kumar          

           Dry land farming is an agricultural technique for non-irrigated cultivation of land. It may be defined as: “a practice of growing profitable crops without irrigation in areas which receive an annual rainfall of 500 mm or even less”. India has about 108 million hectares of rain fed area which constitutes nearly 75% of the total 143 million hectares of arable land. In India, dry land agriculture accounts for nearly two-thirds of total cropped area and generates nearly half of the total value of agricultural output. Rain fed agriculture encounters several constraints on account of climatic, edaphic, and social factors. Out of the 97 million farm holdings in India, about 76% come under marginal and small categories. The productivity levels of these areas have remained lower across years because of frequent droughts occurring due to high variability in the quantum and distribution of rainfall, poor soil, low fertilizer use, imbalanced fertilization, small farm size and poor mechanization, poor socio-economic conditions and low risk-bearing capacity, low credit availability and infrastructure constraints. Consequently, farmers are distracted from agriculture and tend to migrate to cities to look for alternative jobs. Hence, there is a great need to increase the productivity of rain fed crops and overall net returns to keep the farmers in agriculture. A paradigm shift in rain fed agriculture can be expected through technological thrusts and policy changes.

        India has about 47 million hectares of dry lands out of 108 million hectares of total rain fed area. Dry lands contribute 42% of the total food grain production of the country. These areas produce 75% of pulses and more than 90% of sorghum, millet, groundnut and pulses from arid and semi-arid regions. Thus, dry lands and rainfed farming will continue to play a dominant role in agricultural production.

       Dry lands, besides being water deficient, are characterized by high evaporation rates, exceptionally high day temperature during summer, low humidity and high run off and soil erosion. The soils of such areas are often found to be saline and low in fertility. As water is the most important factor of crop production, inadequacy and uncertainty of rainfall often cause partial or complete failure of the crops which leads to period of scarcities and famines. Thus the life of both human being and cattle in such areas becomes difficult and insecure.

         Despite all improvements in agriculture, we have not yet been able to evolve  appropriate practices for our dry land areas. The income of farmers of dry land regions is low. We continue to stress on intensive agriculture on irrigated land but we cannot afford to be complacent with our dry lands. We cannot achieve stability in food production with unstabilized dry land agriculture. Therefore, we are required to adopt improved technology especially developed for dry land agriculture.

The strategies that need to be emphasized:
(1) Land care and soil-quality improvement through conservation agricultural practices, balanced fertilization, harnessing the potential of bio-fertilizers and microorganisms, and carbon sequestration;
(ii) Efficient crops, cropping systems, and best plant types;
(iii) Management of land and water on watershed basis;
(iv) Adoption of a farming-systems approach by diversifying enterprises with high-income modules;
(v) Mechanization for timely agricultural operations and precision agricultural approach;
(vi)  Post-harvest, cold-storage, value-addition modules;
(vii) Assured employment and wage system;
(viii) Organic farming;
(ix) Rehabilitation of rain fed wastelands;
(x) Policy changes and other support system; and
(xi) Human-resource development, training and consultancy.

Characteristics of Dry-land Agriculture:

Dry land areas may be characterized by the following features:

1. Uncertain, ill-.distributed and limited annual rainfall;
2. Occurrence of extensive climatic hazards like drought, flood etc;
3. Undulating soil surface;
4. Occurrence of extensive and large holdings;
5.Practice of extensive agriculture i.e. prevalence of mono-cropping etc;
6. Relatively large size of fields;
7. Similarity in types of crops raised by almost all the farmers of a particular region;
8. Very low crop yield;
9. Poor market facility for the produce;
10.Poor economy of the farmers; and
11.Poor health of cattle as well as farmers.
Problems of Dry Land Farming in India
The major problem which the farmers have to face very often is to keep the crop plants alive and to get some economic returns from the crop production. But this single problem is influenced by several factors, they are:

1. Moisture stress and uncertain rainfall

The rains are very erratic, uncertain and unevenly distributed. Therefore, the agriculture in these areas has become a sort of gamble with the nature and very often the crops have to face climatic hazards. The farmers also take up farming halfheartedly as they are not sure of being able to harvest the crops. Thus, water scarcity becomes a serious bottleneck in dry land agriculture.

2.Effective storage of rain water

According to characteristics of dry farming, either there will be no rain at all or there will be torrential rain with very high intensity. Thus, in the former case the crops will have to suffer a severe drought and in the latter case they suffer either flood or water logging and they will be spoilt In case of very heavy downpour, the excess water gets lost as run-off which goes to the ponds and ditches etc. This water could be stored for providing life saving or protective irrigation to the crops grown in dry land areas. The loss of water takes place in several ways namely run-off, evaporation, uptake through weeds etc.

3. Marketing Problem
In dry farming all the farmers grow similar crops which are drought resistant. These crops mature at the same time and the growers like to dispose off their products soon after the harvest. This results in a glut of products in the market and the situation is badly exploited by the grain traders and middlemen. Therefore, marketing becomes a serious problem in dry farming areas.

4. Unbalance their economic position
Only drought resistant crops namely oilseeds, pulses and coarse grains like jowar, bajra, millets etc. can be grown in dry land areas. Thus, the farmers have to purchase other food grains and household commodities that unbalance their economic position.

5. Careful and judicious manorial scheduling
In case of irrigated farming the farmers are at a liberty to apply manures and fertilizers according to their availability and facility but in case of dry farming they have to be very careful in fertilizer application. Due to lack of available moisture, broadcasting or top dressing becomes wasteful and meaningless. These can be applied  by only deep placement and foliar spray for an improved crop production.

6. Utilization of preserved moisture
Judicious and purposeful utilization of preserved moisture water depends upon soil type, plant type and other factors. The amount of available water to the plants depends upon the depth of plant roots, their proliferation and density. In case of limited moisture condition, the yield directly depends upon the rooting depth. The rooting depth can be desirably increased by mechanical manipulation of the soil. If the planting is very dense and all the plants have same kind of rooting then there will be a tough competition among roots for moisture and scarce moisture condition will result in the wilting of plants. Therefore, utilization of preserved moisture is an art in dry farming. The water collected in ponds or brooks may be used to give protective or life saving irrigation. The widely spaced crops can be intercropped with oilseeds or pulses for increasing the productivity of the land per unit area and per unit time. Therefore, the water collected during the rainy season need special technique and skill for its efficient utilization.

7. Quality or the produce

The quality of the produce from dry farming areas is often found to be inferior as the grains are not fully developed or they are not filled properly; often mixed with other crop seeds owing to mixed .cropping system prevalent in these areas and the fodder become more fibrous. All these factors reduce the market value of produce and the farmers do not get the profit of their labour and investment.

Special Reference to Telangana
Telangana, the semi-arid land of India, is experiencing drought often pushing large numbers of people to the margins of living. Drought visits south Telangana "once in two and half years". The rainfall of about 70 cm and less in southern Telangana hardly justifies the fact that the region should languish under semi-arid conditions. In fact, the region forms part of the catchment of the perennial rivers Krishna and Godavari. The irrigation policy initiative over the years continuously favored the Delta region leaving a large number of people at the mercy of degraded nature and sub-human living. Thus "Telangana backwardness has essentially political roots: with better administration the considerable water resources could have been more fully tapped for irrigation. Telangana is still mainly a dry farming area, the reason for this in Telangana is long term failure to harness the potentialities of the area."

Analysis:
As major irrigation facilities are not sufficiently available and short fall of normal rain, when compared to Costal Andhra region, Telangana is mostly dependent on dry land farming. In Telangana, in view of the non-availability of water in wells and tubewells due to depletion of water table and drought farmers are now forced to keep major part of their dry lands as current follow lands. As a result, the area under follow land is increasing year after year. There is a shift in cropping pattern and at the same time, the total area under jowar, bazra, caster and cereals decreased significantly, while the cultivable area under rice, maize, groundnut, oilseeds, cotton, pulses increased proportionately. The yield and production of these crops also increased. It is a definite change in favour of commercial crops.

Due to recurring drought conditions, most of the borrowers in rural areas of Telangana could not repay the loans borrowed earlier. In view of this, financial institutions kept those villages as de-faulted borrowers, included in the black list closing their chance of borrowing again. This has become a stumbling block to majority of the rural households in all the regions in the state, particularly in Telangana. Consequently, the dependency on money lenders and private financiers is again on the increase lending to increase in the cost of production, unremunerative cultivation and increasing indebtedness.

The State needs to give priority for agriculture particularly, in the field of irrigation sector and cheap and assured credit facility. The focus should be on dry land farming, extension services and provision of quality seeds and fertilisers and timely assistance. In recent years the plan allocations to the priority sectors such as agriculture, irrigation have been declining from plan to plan. Irrigation sector is neglected.


Many of the proposed projects in Telangana region could not be undertaken. While total canal irrigation through canals remained stagnant, tank irrigation declined during the last two decades. Similarly, cultivation under dugwells and borewells has increased significantly leading to power problems, and depleting water table below 600 feet in certain areas, and gradual withdrawal of subsidies to agricultural sector also increased cost of cultivation unremunerative cultivation. This has led to unrest among the farmers resulting suicide deaths especially in Telangana region.

Telangana projects have been allocated 266.83 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet. One TMC ft is equivalent to about 28.317 million cubic meters or 22 956.8 acre feet) of water against a due share of  552 TMC. Mahboob Nagar known for its very high levels of distress migration and perennial drought, should have got 187 TMC of water but have received nothing till now. Costal Andhra receives several times more than its due allocation of 99 TMC. Farming has become risky in Telangana, as indicated in the large number of suicides by farmers. Telangana accounts for as many as two- thirds (66%) of the total number of suicides reported in the state between 1998 and 2006. Though recent data shows that Telangana has been allocated a higher share in expenditure on irrigation (55%) than its share of population (41%) however, compared to costal Andhra, the unit cost of irrigation is much higher in Telangana (as it is situated in Deccan plateau) as lifting of water requires huge investments in pumping machinery and power. 

As a matter of fact, majority of the households in villages are considered to be labourers. Real development of villages can only be achieved if the labour households' employment, wages and incomes are improved. It is observed that employment, wages and other living conditions of labour households are further deteriorated in recent times. Non-agricultural employment is found to be significant in those areas where canal irrigation is provided. With the development of agriculture, non-agricultural employment was also generated in the command areas. Due to backward agriculture and frequent droughts in most of the mandals of  Telangana, labour households find it difficult to get employment during lean seasons and prefer to migrate to far and near places. The process of migration has accelerated in recent years. Due to lopsided developmental strategies pursued from time to time, balanced development of the state has become a casualty and regional imbalances went on widening. These imbalances have become stumbling blocks for the emotional integration of the people of all the three regions of the state. Further, the process of implementation of economic reforms including privatisation is taking place at an accelerated pace in the state.


Impact of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization

The policies of liberaliation, privatisation and globalization have been displacing the masses from their opportunities. The benefits and subsidies meant for weaker sections are reduced year after year even these meant for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This is not followed by a corresponding support in alternative occupations or opportunities. With introduction of labour saving technology in the field of construction of roads and buildings, wage labourers have been badly effected in the state. In view of the lopsided pattern of development, the state has been witnessing agitations, movements, rural unrest, farmer suicides and hunger deaths in recent years. The village economy is facing economic and social crisis. Agriculture is unable to absorb the over increasing working population. Further, the cost of production per unit of agricultural output in Andhra Pradesh now is higher compared to major agricultural States in India. The area under canal irrigation system declined due to deceleration in public investment in Telangana. In nutshell, the agricultural sector is neglected by the government. There is a need to review this policy.

Small and marginal farmers have been worst effected. Majority of the small and marginal farmers still depend in informal or non-institutional sources of credit, particularly, money lenders, private financiers at higher rates of interest, consequently, high cost of production and indebtedness.

Liberalisation and Privatisaion process was initiated in the state with firm determination during 1996-'97. But it's impact is not well received by all section of the people. Agricultural growth rates have gone down drastically. Employment situation in rural areas were not improved rather deteriorated. Whatever the employment opportunities have been created so far, they are largely low paid and casual in nature and insecure. Nonagricultural employment could not be generated to the levels of expectations. Villages have become markets for products of multinational, and big industries. Whatever the industries, or small scale industrial units were available earlier, they are unable to compete with global products either in quality or prices. Backward area like Telangana (except Hyderabad) could not attract either domestic or foreign direct investment.

There is an exodus of young persons from villages of backward and drought effected districts to towns and cities in search of livelihood. People from Mahaboobnagar, Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Warangal and Medak are migrating to gulf countries and Hyderabad to get some livelihood or other. Only old age people keep staying in rural areas. The Information and Technology could provide jobs to a few thousands of educated young people.

The Self-help Groups for women could not provide work as expected. This programme could enlighten rural women groups in political and social aspects. These groups could mobilise savings out of their hard earned income besides State/ Central assistance. As far as employment and income generation activity of this programme is concerned, very little is achieved. Whatever the products are produced by these groups, they are decorative and artistic, unable to compete with global multinational products. Mostly they are neither mass consumption oriented nor essentials. Hence, they suffer from lack of demand. The scheme has become political wing of ruling party for vote bank.

Suggestions:
(1) Agriculture may be given top priority along with infrastructure development in backward regions. Constructions of Ichampally irrigation project across river Godavari will benefit north Telangana. Similarly, through proper allocation and utilisation of Krishna river water will also benefit Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar districts in South Telangana.
(2) Distribution of cultivable public lands surplus lands and cultivable waste lands among the rural poor provides some solution to the agricultural labourers.
(3) There is an urgent need to change the cropping pattern in drought prone areas of the regions to prevent further downslide of under ground water table.
(4) It is also necessary to identify backward districts  and specific area programmes may be initiated through state and central grants.
(5) Rural and agricultural credit facilities have to be adequately provided to all the needy households keeping in view the growing dependency of farmers and rural artisans on money lenders and private financiers.
(6) Both central financial transfers and use of policy instruments will be useful to attract private investment to the backward regions; and
(7) Enhanced allocations for social development such as education, health, nutrition, empowerment of poor. Further democratization of rural institutions etc., will improve education, skills and entrepreneurial abilities of people in backward areas.

Conclusion:
Even after utilizing all the available water resources, about 50% of our cultivable area will still depend on rains. Therefore, our agricultural scientists, policy formulators and farmers should appropriately realize the magnitude of role that. rainfed agriculture or dryland farming can play. They should thoroughly examine the problems of dry land agriculture from different viewpoints and evolve appropriate technologies, crop varieties, etc. for these areas to better the economic position of the farmers. Dry farming areas, therefore, need a much closer attention for achieving food security in India.


                         REFERENCES

1. Jodha NS. 1996. Ride the crest or resist the change? response to emerging trends in rainfed farming research in India. Economic and Political Weekly, 13 July 1996.

2. Gadgil M & Guha R. 1993. This fissured land: an ecological history of India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

3. Development of Irrigation', New Delhi 'Development of Drought-prone Areas'(DDPA), p.47.
4. Forrester, D.B. 1970: 'Sub-regionalism in India: The Case of Telangana', Pacific Affairs, Vol. XI, No.111,p.8.

5. 'Perspectives on Telangana -I' 1997: Telangana Information Trust, Hyderabad.

6. ‘The Movement for Telangana’, EPW, pp 9&10,   

 Jan.9-15,2010.

 7. Pattern of Development in India - A Study of Andhra Pradesh SER Division Planning Commission Government of India.

 8. Gadgil M & Guha R. 1993. This fissured land: an  ecological    history of India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.








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