Zia Haq

Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

Articles by Zia Haq

Union Budget: Disappointed by no increase in PM-Kisan payouts, say farmers

The agriculture sector, the country’s largest employer, has grown at an average annual growth rate of 4.6% in the last six years, according to data from the annual Economic Survey 2022-23.

The government has allocated a mere <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1 lakh for MIS-PSS for 2023-24, down from <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,500 crore in 2022-23 (both Budget and revised estimates being equal).
The government has allocated a mere 1 lakh for MIS-PSS for 2023-24, down from 1,500 crore in 2022-23 (both Budget and revised estimates being equal).
Updated on Feb 03, 2023 12:32 AM IST

A budget of striking catchphrases

Short and popular names and titles of government initiatives, aimed at the public, have been a trademark of the Narendra Modi government

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP Photo)
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP Photo)
Published on Feb 01, 2023 04:59 PM IST

Union Budget 2023-24: Digital push, supply-side incentives for agriculture

Budget 2023: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will set up agriculture accelerator fund to nurture start-ups in rural areas and build an open-source, digital public agriculture infrastructure

Agriculture accounts for 15% of the country’s gross value added and is the largest source of employment (PTI File)
Agriculture accounts for 15% of the country’s gross value added and is the largest source of employment (PTI File)
Updated on Feb 01, 2023 04:47 PM IST

Budget unveils revamped credit lifeline for MSMEs

Overall, the finance minister allocated a record ₹22,138 crore for the MSMEs ministry in the Union Budget 2023-24

The new credit guarantee scheme will lower the cost of credit for MSMEs by 1%. (Representative file image)
The new credit guarantee scheme will lower the cost of credit for MSMEs by 1%. (Representative file image)
Published on Feb 01, 2023 04:46 PM IST

Record wheat crop likely as acreage up

Robust wheat output, sown in November and harvested in March-April, will ease the current shortage and help put a lid on record cereal inflation

Officials expect a bumper wheat crop because cultivators have sown expensive, high-yielding varieties in nearly all of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. (AP)
Officials expect a bumper wheat crop because cultivators have sown expensive, high-yielding varieties in nearly all of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. (AP)
Published on Jan 28, 2023 11:06 PM IST
By, New Delhi

Govt to present digital budget, with features

On the updated app, made by the National Informatics Centre under the supervision of the department of economic affairs, users will be able to download the budget in PDF format and access specific data through dropdown fields.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman distributes halwa to the members of Budget Press during the halwa ceremony ahead of the lock in process of the Budget preparation, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI)
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman distributes halwa to the members of Budget Press during the halwa ceremony ahead of the lock in process of the Budget preparation, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI)
Published on Jan 26, 2023 11:52 PM IST
By, New Delhi

Farmers’ share in agri credit rises in positive sign for sector

In 2003-04, the share of investment credit in total agriculture credit was 37% , which went up to 42 % in 2005-06 during the previous UPA regime. However, it fell to 25% in 2013-14.

According to latest official data from a background note prepared by the ministry of agriculture on “the functioning of the agricultural credit system in the country”, the share of investment credit in total agriculture credit stood at 41% during 2021-22, one percentage point below its peak of 42% achieved in 2006-06. (AFP)
According to latest official data from a background note prepared by the ministry of agriculture on “the functioning of the agricultural credit system in the country”, the share of investment credit in total agriculture credit stood at 41% during 2021-22, one percentage point below its peak of 42% achieved in 2006-06. (AFP)
Updated on Jan 19, 2023 04:51 AM IST
ByZia Haq and Saubhadra Chatterji

Cold weather likely to help India reap bumper harvest of wheat and mustard

Robust winter crops, which account for half of the country’s annual food output, will help to cool food inflation and replenish stocks after a year of tight supply of rice and wheat

million tonnes from 109.59 million tonnes a year earlier, according to the government data. (PTI)
million tonnes from 109.59 million tonnes a year earlier, according to the government data. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 11, 2023 05:10 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Govt hopes to trim fertilizer and food subsidies

The upcoming Union Budget 2023-24 is likely to set aside approximately ₹3.

The central government last month announced a move to end an expensive free food scheme – the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana -- introduced during the pandemic, while making the country’s regular subsidized food grains programme free till December 2023. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
The central government last month announced a move to end an expensive free food scheme – the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana -- introduced during the pandemic, while making the country’s regular subsidized food grains programme free till December 2023. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 10, 2023 03:37 AM IST

Govt likely sell 2.1 million tonnes of wheat in open market

The Union government is likely sell 2.1 million tonnes of wheat from its stocks in the open market at a federally determined price in a move aimed at easing supplies of the staple and controlling high cereal inflation, two government officials said, requesting anonymity.

HT Image
HT Image
Published on Jan 06, 2023 11:40 AM IST

Budget to pitch coarse grains as means of sustainable cultivation

Union Budget 2023-24 may focus on coarse grains or millets as means of sustainable cultivation that can raise income of small farmers in arid regions besides providing food and nutritional security globally, people familiar with the development said.

HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Jan 03, 2023 11:52 PM IST
ByRajeev Jayaswal & Zia Haq, New Delhi

India set to sign deals to secure fertiliser imports

Indian fertiliser and chemical companies have also accelerated investments in several mineral rich North African nations so as to hedge against price spirals and volatility.

India relies on imports to meet a third of its annual domestic demand of crop nutrients, which it gives at a discount to farmers. (HT Photo)
India relies on imports to meet a third of its annual domestic demand of crop nutrients, which it gives at a discount to farmers. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 04, 2023 02:33 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Free PDS scheme is likely to yield political dividend but may bloat subsidy bill: Experts

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme will be stopped, the cabinet decided last week. Instead, nearly 813 million beneficiaries will receive free food through the public distribution system under the National Food Security Act 2013.

The PMGKAY provided 5kg of food grains per month per head for free, in addition to the usual quota of rice and wheat provided under the NFSA at a subsidised price of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2-3 per kg, which will now be offered at no cost. (HT file)
The PMGKAY provided 5kg of food grains per month per head for free, in addition to the usual quota of rice and wheat provided under the NFSA at a subsidised price of 2-3 per kg, which will now be offered at no cost. (HT file)
Published on Dec 31, 2022 10:38 PM IST

Zia Haq picks his favourite read of 2022

India saw its hottest summer ever on record this year, which scientists at Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have, based on evidence, attributed to global warming

Stopping climate change (HT Team)
Stopping climate change (HT Team)
Published on Dec 30, 2022 04:38 PM IST

Centre cracks down on diversion of subsidised fertilisers

The Union fertilisers department has clamped down on large scale illegal diversion of subsidised fertilisers meant for farmers to industrial units, busting several interstate networks in recent weeks.

A farmer sprays fertiliser on a tomato field at Wagholi in Pune. (HT file)
A farmer sprays fertiliser on a tomato field at Wagholi in Pune. (HT file)
Published on Dec 23, 2022 02:58 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Centre denies fertiliser shortage; farmers flag scarcity of key nutrient

Reports of shortages, particularly of non-urea-based di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), come in the middle of a busy rabi or winter-sown cropping season, which accounts for nearly half of the country’s annual food output, ranging from wheat to lentils and oilseeds.

A farmer sprays fertiliser on his paddy crop in Patiala. (HT file photo)
A farmer sprays fertiliser on his paddy crop in Patiala. (HT file photo)
Updated on Dec 22, 2022 04:58 AM IST

Centre wants transparency: Sitharaman on freebies

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday referred to freebies or sops by various states, and said: “All we (the government) want is transparency and compliance with statutory fiscal rules

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (ANI)
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (ANI)
Published on Dec 22, 2022 12:37 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Key states fare poorly on social progress: PM-EAC report

Traditionally backward large states, such as Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, fared poorly, while centrally administered territories such as Puducherry and Lakshadweep, and northeastern states, topped most basic indicators

HT Image
HT Image
Published on Dec 21, 2022 12:29 AM IST

Parl to host an all-millets feast, PM to take part

The feast will be an all-millets affair and MPs from all parties will sit down to sample a variety of cuisine prepared from indigenous millets, such as ragi (finger millet), jowar (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millets).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (ANI)
Updated on Dec 18, 2022 04:40 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Enough wheat to meet all requirements, buffer norm: Govt

The government’s annual wheat purchases for 2022-23 dipped to a 15-year low this year to 18.79 million tonnes, compared to 44 million tonnes purchased in the previous year, due to lower output.

The government’s wheat stock as on January 1, 2023, which is less than two weeks away, is estimated to be 15.9 million tonnes, higher than the buffer norm of 13.8 million tonnes applicable on that date, the official said. (PTI)
The government’s wheat stock as on January 1, 2023, which is less than two weeks away, is estimated to be 15.9 million tonnes, higher than the buffer norm of 13.8 million tonnes applicable on that date, the official said. (PTI)
Published on Dec 17, 2022 11:12 PM IST

Wheat stocks slip below buffer norms, govt in RS

According to norms fixed by the government, wheat reserves between Oct 1 and December 31 need to be maintained at 20.5 million tonnes

The country’s total stocks of federally-held foodgrains (rice and wheat combined) as on December 1 2022 stood at 30.5 million tonnes. (Sanjeev Gupta)
The country’s total stocks of federally-held foodgrains (rice and wheat combined) as on December 1 2022 stood at 30.5 million tonnes. (Sanjeev Gupta)
Updated on Dec 17, 2022 04:18 AM IST

Govt says 86 cases against farmers withdrawn; unions say 8k pending

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a platform of farm unions protesting the laws, had agreed to withdraw their year-long agitation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 19, 2021 that the three laws to liberalise agricultural markets would be scrapped.

The agitation against the three laws had widened into a full-scale campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by influential farm unions from food-bowl states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra
The agitation against the three laws had widened into a full-scale campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by influential farm unions from food-bowl states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra
Updated on Dec 17, 2022 04:20 AM IST

Rabi area rise boosts bumper crop hopes, but warm winter a concern

The total cultivated area under wheat, the main winter staple currently in short supply, jumped 25% as on November 10, compared to the corresponding period of last year, latest official data showed

A warmer-than-average winter so far remains a concern because wheat needs temperatures of at least 15-16°C initially (ANI FILE)
A warmer-than-average winter so far remains a concern because wheat needs temperatures of at least 15-16°C initially (ANI FILE)
Updated on Dec 12, 2022 04:11 AM IST

Key part of Congress' Himachal success to be used in other state polls

The NPS was brought during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government and rolled out on January 1, 2004. When the Narendra Modi government came to power, it offered tax benefits on the scheme to make it popular

The old pension scheme was a key promise of the Congress party in the Himachal Pradesh elections
The old pension scheme was a key promise of the Congress party in the Himachal Pradesh elections
Updated on Dec 12, 2022 09:11 AM IST
BySaubhadra Chatterji and Zia Haq

‘Paltry’ insurance payouts irks rain-affected farmers, Centre denies claims

Farm-insurance claims have risen due to extensive crop damage caused by extreme weather conditions this year, but some farmers are angry at being given a pittance as compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

This year, the monsoon dumped heavy rainfall in several states in September. (PTI)
This year, the monsoon dumped heavy rainfall in several states in September. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 07, 2022 03:38 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Fertiliser, food subsidy set to touch record level

The country has penciled in a higher outgo as rising international gas prices and a free food scheme bloated federal subsidies, which comprise a tenth of the total government expenditure.

The food subsidy bill is likely to cross <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>3 lakh crore. (Raj K Raj)
The food subsidy bill is likely to cross 3 lakh crore. (Raj K Raj)
Updated on Dec 03, 2022 04:09 AM IST

India’s second quarter GDP growth slows to 6.3%

India’s economic growth slowed down to 6.3% in the July-September quarter, marginally higher than the 6.2% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll for the quarter

Among key economic sectors, agricultural growth increased 4.6% while manufacturing fell 4.3%. (File Photo)
Among key economic sectors, agricultural growth increased 4.6% while manufacturing fell 4.3%. (File Photo)
Updated on Nov 30, 2022 06:45 PM IST

Area under wheat rises, govt expects a robust rabi harvest

Farmers have planted wheat, the main winter staple, in approximately 15.2 million hectares till November 28, compared to 13.8 million hectares in the corresponding period of last year.

Prices of wheat flour (atta) have jumped 17% in the past one year due to a shortage of the staple in open markets, millers have said, urging the government to release grains from its own reserves. (REUTERS)
Prices of wheat flour (atta) have jumped 17% in the past one year due to a shortage of the staple in open markets, millers have said, urging the government to release grains from its own reserves. (REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 30, 2022 08:02 AM IST

Heat stress crimping summer milk output: Study

Increasing spells of summer heatwave in northwestern India, thought to be linked to climate change, are hurting milk productivity, or output per cattle, while raising costs of production for farmers.

Surat, Sept 21 (ANI): Shepard community members throwing cow milk in the river Tapi in a protest demanding to enact strong laws against the cow slaughter, in Surat on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (Ashok Munjani)
Surat, Sept 21 (ANI): Shepard community members throwing cow milk in the river Tapi in a protest demanding to enact strong laws against the cow slaughter, in Surat on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (Ashok Munjani)
Updated on Nov 29, 2022 04:25 AM IST

Wheat flour supply dips, prices increase

Retail prices of wheat flour (atta) have jumped 17% in the past one year due to a shortage of the staple in open markets, millers have said, urging the government to release grains from its own reserves.

A worker carries a sack of refined wheat flour towards a hotel in front of the landmark Charminar monument in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.) (AP)
A worker carries a sack of refined wheat flour towards a hotel in front of the landmark Charminar monument in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.) (AP)
Updated on Nov 28, 2022 05:15 AM IST
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