water table in major rice and wheat-producing states, the FSB will mean the water table will be further damaged and major investments will need to be made to achieve higher rice and wheat production.
Given that the need of the sector is to increase diversification — this fetches higher yields and is less water-intensive — the CACP paper argues the FSB will “also slow down or even regress the process of overall diversification in agriculture, and go contrary to the emerging demand patterns in the country” — while people are consuming more proteins out of choice, the wheat-rice-oriented FSB will be delivering something else.
Literature on best practices around the world, Gulati and his co-authors say, “shows that ‘income policy’ approach (cash transfers of the Aadhaar kind) rather than ‘price policy’ (selling grain at lower prices) is more efficient in achieving equity ends and this has been adopted successfully by many countries.”
The paper draws attention to an amusing part of the FSB, a force majeure clause to ensure neither the central nor state governments have any liability in the event of “war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or any act of God”. While this comprehensive force majeure clause that would make any insurance company proud will help protect the government, the authors say, it is “precisely in these conditions … that the poor and vulnerable would depend on government to ensure their food security.”