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Monthly                                                                                            Vol. 8  Issue 9       January 2018     ` 50/-

          From Modi, Manmohan,                                                   Centre throws open                              incubation support, mentoring
                                                                                                                                 by  domain  experts  from
          Vajpayee to Rao, here is who                                           grand agri challenge                            agriculture  and  assistance  for
                                                                                                                                 real-time  testing  of  the  proof
          generated the lowest agri growth                                       for techies                                     of concept. winners   at   the
                                                                                                                                 enterprise  stage,  on  the  other
           The first advance estimates of GDP and Gross Value Added (GVA) at                             the  recent  TiEcon  Delhi  2017   hand,  will  get  access  to  a
                                                                                                                                 real-time  agriculture  market
           basic prices for various sectors for the year 2017-18 are out.                                                        and market intelligence. They
          By Ashok Gulati                                                                                Two sides to challenge  will  also  be  provided  with
                                                                                                            The  challenges  that  have   supervision and hand-holding
              he first advance   years of the Modi government                                            been  thrown  to  individuals,   by domain experts.
              estimates of GDP and   with those of the first four                                        entrepreneurs  and  tech  start-
          TGross Value Added     years of the UPA (2004-05                                               ups include better and simpler   Huge scope
                                                                                                                                    Ashok  Dalwai,  CEO  of
          (GVA) at basic prices for   to 2007-08) government or                                          soil testing techniques, tools for   the  National  Rainfed  Area
          various sectors for the   even ten years of UPA rule                                           assaying and grading of agri-  Authority,  said  there  was  a
          year 2017-18 are out. Most   (2004-05 to 2013-14).  We also                                    produce  and  algorithms  that   lot  of  scope  for  technology
          economists have commented   go beyond that and compare                              SK Pattanayak  can  help  forecast  crop  yield   intervention   in   Indian
          on overall GDP growth rate,   it with agri-performance in                                      and prices much in advance.  agriculture.
          slated to be 6.5%, which is the   AB Vajpayee period (1998-              n  an  attempt  to  lure  the   According  to  Pattanayak,   Tech  start-ups,  Dalwai
          lowest in the first four years of   99 to 2003-04), and under          Itech   community   into   the challenge has two parts: one   said, can help solve problems
          the Modi government. Prime   the PV Narasimha Rao                      working  on  issues  associated   for  developing  fundamental   of all stakeholders — farmers
          Minister Narendra Modi also   government (1991-92 to 1995-   Ashok Gulati  with  agriculture,  the  Centre   concepts  and  the  other  for   getting  better  market  access
          called a meeting of economists   96) when economic reforms   1.9%, exactly half of 3.8%   launched  a  dozen  challenges   testing products and processes   for  their  produce,  consumers
          to discuss proposals for the   started. This would give us   achieved in the first four years   that would require technology   in  real-life  situations.  The   getting safer and healthier food
                                                                                                         Ministry will work closely with
          upcoming Budget with a   a long-term perspective of   of the Manmohan Singh era   The  government,  which   the winners of the Agriculture   and  meeting  sustainability
          view to accelerate growth   Indian agriculture and also   (UPA-1). The overall GDP   has  been  striving  to  double   Grand  Challenge,  providing   goals, such as reducing the use
          and create more jobs. Farm   of farmers’ incomes. It is   growth (7.2%) under first   farmers’ income, has identified   them  all  the  assistance  they   of natural resources and inputs
          distress came up in the   against this back-drop we will   four years of Modi era is also   12   innovative   challenges   need.  The  plan  is  to  identify   that  affect  the  environment.
          discussions, but the official   also examine the feasibility   significantly below the first   resolving  which  can  take   one idea stage start-up and one   India  is  currently  producing
          view was that ‘we should   of often-cited goal of DFI   four years of Manmohan   farming in this country to the   enterprise  stage  start-up  for   1.2  billion  tonnes  of  different
          work towards increasing   by 2022. The accompanying   Singh’s government (8.9%),   next  level,  said  Agriculture   each of the 12 themes, he said.   agricultural  commodities  and
          farmers’ income’ and ‘the   graphic shows that agri-GDP,   and also lower than the UPA’s   Secretary SK Pattanayak, while   The  chosen  idea  stage  start-  soon this would rise to 2 billion
          government is committed to   under the Rao government,                 announcing  the  challenges  at   ups would get three months of   tonnes, Dalwai said.
          Doubling Farmers’ Income   grew at a modest annual rate     ...Continued on P7
          (DFI) by 2022’. I want to   of 2.4%, while the overall GDP
          take up the performance   growth rate was 5.2% per
          of agriculture and farmers’   annum.
          incomes under the Modi    The agri-performance
          government so far (2014-15 to   improved marginally from
          2017-18). The reason is simple:   2.4% to 2.9% under the
          With almost 47% of the   Vajapyee government and
          workforce in India engaged   so did the overall GDP
          in agriculture, unless this   growth, from 5.2% to 6%
          sector performs well ‘sabka   per annum. This process
          saath, sabka vikas’ is not   of gradual improvement
          possible; and, as the World   continued during the first
          Development Report (2008)   four years of the Manmohan
          found, growth in agriculture   Singh government, and even
          is at least two-three times   for the entire 10-year UPA
          more effective in reducing   period (2004-05 to 2013-14),
          poverty than the same growth   when agri-GDP registered
          coming from non-agri sectors.  a growth rate of 3.7% and
            So, for poverty      overall GDP saw a growth of
          elimination, it is important   7.9%.  The challenge before
          to see how agriculture is   the Modi government is to
          performing. The advance   do better than this. Although
          estimates for 2017-18 put   there is still one more year
          agri-GDP growth at 2.1%,   for the Modi government
          down from 4.9% in the   before the elections, the
          preceding year. But it will   flavour of first four years is
          be worth comparing agri-  now available. The agri-GDP
          performance in first four   growth has plunged to just

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