IMPORTANT ESSAY TOPIC:
Is Farm loan waiver good for the country?
Indian agriculture is often compared to the act of gambling in the monsoon. With the prevailing drought conditions and falling agricultural outputs in certain areas has fuelled the farmer suicides throughout the country. However, the loan waiver scheme provides relief for many families thereby encouraging them to invest in the next crop. But these benefits don’t offer long term economic gain for farmers. Many economic experts feel that the money waived could be used for investing in infrastructure projects which help to eliminate middlemen and help them to reap maximum benefits of their products.
History of farm loan waivers
In 1990, first ever nation wide farm loan waiver was announced and it cost around Rs 10,000 crore. In 2008, Rs 52,000 crore was released by the Indian government as part of the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADWDRS) which was mainly done to remove the financial indebtedness of the farmers. But it was done before the 2009 general election. In 2014, the Andhra Pradesh government announced a farm loan waiver of Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 20,000 crore farm loan waiver was announced in Telangana region. In 2017, Uttar Pradesh announced a farm loan waiver of Rs 36,000 crore. With state government’s move, Maharashtra followed the scheme with a Rs 35,000 crore waiver
Are farm loan waivers really effective?
According to a report, the loan waiver scheme (1990) proved a costly affair for the banks and economy. It was stated after the years after the waiver witnessed a decline in the recovery rates from financial institutions, since it installed belief among farmers believed that they could default with freedom, leading to defaults of such a high scale that it took the banks several years to recover from its impact. In 2008, the CAG audit revealed lapses and errors. It included fake claims, an inclusion of ineligible beneficiaries, huge reimbursement from a lending institution without proper verification. Many occasions, the farmers entitled to receive the benefits were not included in the list of beneficiaries by the lending institutions. Many farmers tend to use the loans for non-agricultural purposes. Besides, loan application receipts or acknowledgements from farmers weren’t properly maintained. Lending institutions like banks were responsible for implementing the scheme and also monitoring of their own work – which is a clear case of conflict of interest. No nodal agencies where appointed for the monitoring the work. Debt waiver/relief certificates were not issued in many cases for eligible beneficiaries.
In 2014, when another loan waiver of a large magnitude called “Runa Mafi”, in 2014 in Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed state of Telangana. This announcement invited several warnings and criticism from the Reserve Bank of India and the several financial experts. While it cost Rs.40,000 crore in Andhra Pradesh, it is expected to cost Rs. 20,000 crore in Telangana was aimed at helping farmers, who suffered in the cyclone Phailin, that severely damaged crops, the complete details of the waiver schemes in the two states are not available. Besides, there isn’t any clarity about the eligibility conditions , extent of crop loss due to the natural calamity. However, neither loan waiver curbed the rising farmer suicides in both the states. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that while 160 farmers were reported to commit suicide in 2014 in Andhra Pradesh, the number went up to 516 in 2015. Similarly, in Telangana, farmer suicides recorded an increase of 50% in 2015 compared to 2014.
Why farm loans are waived?
In India, agriculture is primarily dependent on monsoon rains. Since most of the farmers aren’t rich, they invest heavily on crops by taking loans. A good shower brings good yields and repayment of the loan. If there isn’t any rains or insufficient market demand, farmers are unable to pay the loan amount or interest. When there is a continuous monsoon failure, farmers are trapped, with no other option, the farmer are forced to commit suicides. So, farm loans waiver is a good step towards curbing the crisis. Besides, many farmers are force to flee from agriculture to find better career elsewhere, which could lead drop in agricultural yields. So in order to avoid such situations, farm loan waiver acts as a good initiative to attract and retain the farmers. Finally, most of the farmers borrow money from moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates and get trapped in a very problematic cycle of debt trap. Farm loan schemes and waivers will divert these farmers to borrow money from banks.
Why farm loan waivers are bad for economy?
Loan waiver schemes disturb loan and credit discipline for the any financial system. Though waivers can be an attractive tool for retaining farmer’s interest in agriculture and avoid fatal incidences, it could lead willful defaults among the farmers. If farm loan waivers are done more than twice, farmers will start to wait for the next loan waiver scheme, which is bad for the economy and agriculture. Besides, taxpayers are at a loss, because loans will be waived only with hard earned money of taxpayers. Rich farmers could take advantage of the situations and push to take loans even if there is no need, in the hope of the next loan waiver scheme. This will impact the poor farmers who are genuinely in need of loans for crops.
Loan waiver is not a permanent solution for agriculture until the fundamental problems are solved. Though it is instant temporary relief from debt preventing suicides, it largely failed on many occasions to contribute to farmers’ welfare in the long term. Besides, there is always a question that to what extent this relief measure can help bring farmers out of indebtedness and suffering always remains a question. Since waivers in India are filled with lack of accountability and lack of proper monitoring reduces the effectiveness of the loan waivers. This coupled with the fact that not all the debt is formal, reduces their effectiveness even more. Since most of the working population of India is dependent on agriculture, loan waiver cannot be avoided. But a proper system of accountability and transparency of waiver will alone ensure the effective working of waiver scheme.
:::Gross Fixed Capital Formation:::
Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) is a net investment concept within national account which measures the net increase in fixed capital. It measures private and public sector investment spent on formation of fixed capital which includes land improvement, construction of roads, railways, dwelling units, commercial buildings, new machinery etc. It must be noted that land purchases and depreciation are not part of GCF.
Significance of GFCF
An increase in gross fixed capital formation signifies increase in investment in fixed assets which further translated into higher rate of economic growth in long run. Generally developing countries devotes higher percentage of GDP to investment for fixed capital.
BIMSTECA regional economic cooperation of nations lying to adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal is known as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). It came into existence on 6th June, 1997 after Bangkok Declaration. It represents 1.5 billion population (22% of global population). It constitutes GDP of 2.7 trillion economies.
It was started as (BIST-EC) Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand economic cooperation in 1997. With inclusion of Myanmar, the group was renamed to ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). The Nepal and Bhutan has joined in 2004, then the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC)
Members of BIMSTEC
There are seven member states of BIMSTEC, out of which five are South Asian countries and two are South East Asian countries. These seven countries are:
South Asian Countries
South East Asian Countries
Objective of BIMSTEC
The objective of BIMSTEC is to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation. It started with co-operation in six sectors -including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries. Later it was expanded to take up specific cooperation projects in the sectors of trade, investment and industry, technology, human recourse development, tourism, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure and transportation ; through joint endeavours and active collaboration, provide mutual assistance in the form of training and research facilities, on matters of common interest in the economic, social, technical and scientific fields
Secretariat of BIMSTEC
The permanent secretariat is situated at Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was established in September, 2014. The present chair is Sri Lanka.
BIMSTEC Summit is the highest policy body making in the process. The Summit is held once every two years. The 4th summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in August, 2018.
::Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ::
There are 17 goals which are built on the success of Millennium Development Goals. These goals are interconnected and achievement of one goal contributes to achievement of other goals. These 17 goals are:
836 million people still live in extreme poverty.
About one in five persons in developing regions lives on less than US$1.25 per day.
Most of the concentration of these poor people lies in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The aim of the goal is to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment
Globally, one in nine people in the world today (795 million) are undernourished.
The SDGs aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.
3)Good health and well-being
More than six million children die before their fifth birthday each year.
Four out of every five deaths of children under age five occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.
The aim is to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines for all.
More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa.
An estimated 50 per cent of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.
103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women.
This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education
In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
The SDGs aim to ensure that there is an end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere.
Affording women equal rights to economic resources such as land and property are vital targets to realizing this goal. So is ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health
6)Clean water and sanitation
Around 663 million people are not having access to improved drinking water sources.
At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated.
By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.
The goals aims to ensure universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030
7)Affordable and clean energy
It aims to ensure universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 by investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal.
8)Decent work and economic growth
According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.
470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030.
The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking.
With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030
9)Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development.
With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies.
More than 4 billion people still do not have access to the Internet, and 90 percent are from the developing world. Bridging this digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, as well as foster innovation and entrepreneurship
Income inequality is a global problem that requires global solutions.
The richest 10 percent earning up to 40 percent of total global income.
The poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 percent and 7 percent of total global income.
In developing countries, inequality has increased by 11 percent if we take into account the growth of population
The Gini Coefficient of income inequality for India has risen from 33.4% in 2004 to 33.6% in 2011.
11)Sustainable cities and communities
More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of all humanity.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.
In 1990, there were ten mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. In 2014, there are 28 mega-cities, home to a total 453 million people.
Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, and upgrading slum settlements.
12)Responsible consumption and production
Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources
Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater for human use.
The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal.
Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.
Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and are now more than 50 percent higher than their 1990 level.
The annual average losses from earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and flooding amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, requiring an investment of US$6 billion annually in disaster risk management alone
The goal aims to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries and help mitigate climate-related disasters.
14)Life below water
Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
30 percent of the world’s fish stocks overexploited, reaching below the level at which they can produce sustainable yields
Oceans also absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, and we are seeing a 26 percent rise in ocean acidification since the beginning of the industrial revolution
The SDGs aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
15)Life on land
Plant life provides 80 percent of our human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource and means of development
Forests account for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, providing vital habitats for millions of species and important sources for clean air and water; as well as being crucial for combating climate change
Unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.
Drought and desertification is also on the rise each year, amounting to the loss of 12 million hectares and affects poor communities globally.
Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.
The SDGs aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020
16)Peace, justice and strong institutions
Without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law – we cannot hope for sustainable development
The SDGs aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity
By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion cost some US $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year; this amount of money could be used to lift those who are living on less than $1.25 a day above $1.25 for at least six years
17)Partnership for the goals
The SDGs can only be realized with a strong commitment to global partnership and cooperation
The goals aim to enhance North-South and South-South cooperation by supporting national plans to achieve all the targets
Promoting international trade, and helping developing countries increase their exports, is all part of achieving a universal rules-based and equitable trading system that is fair and open, and benefits all.
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
It states that the exchange rate of a currency with another (currency) is in equilibrium when their domestic purchasing power are equivalent at that exchange rate.
It means that a good should cost same in India and USA after considering the exchange rate of Indian Rupee (INR) and US Dollar (USD).
Suppose, the current exchange rate of Indian rupee to US Dollar is Rs. 60 perUSD (i.e., 1 USD = Rs. 60). Now suppose a laptop costs Rs. 60,000 in India.
According to the PPP theory, the laptop should cost USD (60,000 / 60) = USD 1,000 (considering the current exchange rate of these two currencies) to maintain parity in purchasing power of these two currencies.
But, it may happen that the actual market price of the laptop in USA is USD 800 (say) (equivalent to Rs. 48,000 in India). Therefore, there is an advantage of buying the laptop in USA at much less price than India (Rs. 12,000 less) (it means that the purchasing power is not in parity between these two currencies)
Indian consumers will go to the exchange office and sell their INR and buy USD, and then buy the laptop from USA. It will cause the Indian currency less valuablethan the US dollar.
The demand of laptop sold in India will decrease (since high price), and the priceof laptop will go down. In contrast, the demand of laptop in USA will increase, and the price will rise accordingly.
These factors will cause the exchange rate (of the currencies) and the prices (of laptops) to change such that there is purchasing power parity in both the currencies.
PPP theory tells us that the price differences between countries are not sustainable in the long run, as market forces will equalize prices between the countries and change the exchange rates accordingly.
(Relate the above example with companies that can buy goods in much less price from foreign countries and sell in much less price in India than its counterparts. For this reason, there are several laws or restrictions on imports and a provision of levying customs duty, etc.)
VERY IMPORTANT FINANCE TOPIC FOR RBI GR B 2019 EXAM
Corporate Governance as Risk Mitigation:
Corporate governance is of vital importance to a company and is almost as important as its primary business plan. When executed successfully, it can prevent corporate scandals, fraud and the civil and criminal liability of the company. It also improves a company’s status in the public opinion as a self-policing company that is responsible and worthy of shareholder and debt holder capital. It commands the shared philosophy, practices and culture of an organization and its employees. Firm without a system of corporate governance is often regarded as a body without a soul or conscience. Corporate governance enables a company honest and free from trouble. If this shared attitude breaks down, then corners will be cut, products will be defective and management will grow complacent and corrupt. The end result is a fall that will occur when gravity in the form of audited financial reports, criminal investigations and federal probes finally catches up, destroying the company instantaneously. Deceitful and unethical dealings can cause shareholders to escape out of fear, distrust and disgust.
Plethora of research has revealed that good corporate governance can result in improved share price performance. It is well established in management reports that there is a great potential for good performance by companies, which have got good corporate governance mechanism and the greatest benefit is in developing companies. Studies have showed that investors are enthusiastic to invest in a better-governed company. Corporate Governance can be strong mechanism for development especially in country like India.
The following issues are important for good Corporate Governance.
1.The rights and obligation of shareholders.
2.Impartial treatment of all stakeholders.
3.The role of all stakeholders clearly defined and the linkage for corporate governance established.
4.Transparency, disclosure of information and audit.
5.The role of board of directors clearly defined.
6.The role of non-executive members of the board clearly defined.
7.Executive management and compensation and performance clearly defined.
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