Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 19 February 2024

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 19 February 2024

1. Income, not MSP

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – MSP
This subject is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains since it deals with facts regarding agricultural economic policies, such as MSPs, subsidies, and market dynamics.

– Protesting farmers, mainly from Punjab, have gathered at Delhi’s borders.
– The government must act rationally in this situation, carefully examining the demands of the farmers and holding productive discussions to ensure a timely resolution.

Key Demands of Farmers:

  • The farmers are pushing for major changes to agricultural policies, such as enforcing legal minimum support prices (MSPs) and modifying them in accordance with the Swaminathan formula, which proposes a 50 percent profit margin over total costs, or what is known as Cost C2.
  • The paid-out costs, the imputed value of family labor, the imputed rent on owned land, and the imputed interest on owned capital are some of the components that make up this cost framework.
  • Applying this formula could result in a significant rise in MSPs, possibly by 25–30 percent for most crops.

Other Demands and Economic Implications:

  • Farmers are also requesting pensions, minimum wage rates, loan waivers, and the inclusion of MGNREGA workers in agricultural operations.
  • Meeting these demands, though, might have serious negative effects on the economy, such as increased food inflation and financial strain.
  • Thus, especially during the election season, any decision regarding these demands must be made with a logical mind free from political or emotional influences.

Understanding Farmers’ Core Issue:

  • Beneath these economic demands is the basic aspiration of farmers, a reasonable desire shared by many, for higher incomes.
  • To meet these demands without throwing the economy into disarray, the government must carefully evaluate its capacity to do so.
  • The amount of loan waivers and pensions offered, the number of commodities covered, market prices, and other variables all affect the package’s fiscal ramifications, which are complicated.

Extending Market Dynamics and MSP Reforms:

  • It is imperative that MSP reforms be extended to include other agricultural products such as milk, livestock, and horticulture, in addition to the current 23 crops.
  • These industries have grown rapidly and make a substantial contribution to agricultural output, frequently without the assistance of MSPs.
  • Sustaining growth and fairly compensating producers require a well-integrated value chain approach, similar to successful models like Amul in milk production.

Enhancing Farmer Incomes:

  • Long-term income growth depends on increasing productivity through investments in irrigation infrastructure and agricultural research and development.
  • Improving access to both local and foreign markets at the same time can have immediate advantages.
  • Important first steps toward economically empowering farmers include eliminating limitations on agricultural exports and stocking limits and making sure that pricing mechanisms are fair.

Reorienting Subsidy Policies:

  • The current subsidy policies exacerbate the imbalance in agricultural economics by primarily favoring consumers over producers.
  • It is imperative to reassess the distribution of subsidies and move in the direction of assisting producers via instruments such as price stabilization funds or targeted assistance initiatives.
  • In addition to guaranteeing food security for vulnerable consumers, this realignment can result in a more equitable agricultural sector.


  • Lawmakers must take a reasonable and pragmatist approach to resolving the complaints of farmers who are staging protests.
  • The government can assuage farmers’ concerns while defending the larger interests of the economy by placing a higher priority on their financial security and enacting reforms that improve productivity and market access.
  • Policymakers must show that they are willing to make significant changes and must carefully and strategically negotiate the complexities of agricultural policy.

Why are Farmers Protesting Across the Globe?
South America:
– A number of issues, including high taxes, adverse exchange rates for exports, economic downturns, and natural disasters like droughts that harm crops and lower agricultural productivity, are causing farmers to protest.
– There are demonstrations in Brazil against genetically modified maize’s unfair competition.
– Farmers in Venezuela are requesting access to diesel that is subsidized.
– The growers of rice in Colombia are requesting higher prices.

– Farmers are demonstrating against the European Union’s stringent environmental regulations, low crop prices, growing expenses, and inexpensive imports.
– Protests in France are directed towards high production costs, inadequate subsidies, and inexpensive imports.

North and Central America:
– Costa Rican farmers want greater government support for their heavily indebted industry, while Mexican farmers protest low corn and wheat prices.
– Protests broke out in the Mexican province of Chihuahua over intentions to export restricted water supplies to the US.

– Indian farmers are demonstrating in support of loan waivers, income doubling, and guaranteed crop prices.
– The unjust prices for Indian vegetables imported into Nepal are the cause of protests.
– Farmers in Malaysia and Nepal are demonstrating against low prices for rice and sugarcane, respectively.

– Australian farmers oppose high-voltage power lines that cross their land, while farmers in New Zealand protest government regulations that impact food producers.

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2023) 
1) The Minimum Support Price (MSP) for niger (Guizotia abyssinica) seeds is set by the Indian government.
2) One Kharif crop that is grown is Niger.
3) Tiger seed oil is used in cooking by certain Indian tribal communities.

How many of the above statements are correct? 
(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
(d) None 

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: What are the main demands of the farmers, who are mostly from Punjab, who are protesting, and what financial consequences do these demands have for the government? How can policymakers ensure the agricultural sector’s sustainability and minimize any potential financial strains while simultaneously addressing the aspirations of farmers for higher incomes? (15 m/250 words)

2. Rights Of The Single Woman

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable sections – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Due to the discrimination against single women who seek surrogacy services, this topic is pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains. It also raises constitutional issues pertaining to equality, non-discrimination, and social justice.

– The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, which outlines India’s current surrogacy laws, prohibits single women from using surrogacy services, which has sparked legal challenges and discussions about discrimination.
– This analysis explores the systemic, societal, and legal concerns related to this subject.

Legal Challenges and Societal Attitudes:

  • Only married couples or single women between the ages of 35 and 45 who are widowed or divorced are eligible to become surrogates under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act of 2021.
  • But it leaves women who are single and have never married out of this choice.
  • The law is discriminatory, especially against single women who are viewed as stigmatized and marginalized in society’s reproductive choices, as demonstrated by the recent petition that challenges this provision.

Stereotypes and Inequality Based on Sex:

  • In India, unmarried women who are single frequently encounter negative stereotypes and social stigma because it is assumed that their desire for biological children indicates a desire to “have it all.”
  • This discrimination stems from a deep-seated belief in society that married people are superior to single women.
  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act further marginalizes single women by giving married people preferential treatment, which upholds these prejudices.

Systemic Drawbacks and Legal Obstacles:

  • Beyond surrogacy laws, discrimination against single women also exists in other areas related to reproductive rights.
  • Access to safe abortion services is severely hampered by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which, for example, does not address the single status of women seeking abortions.
  • Even with the Supreme Court’s favorable interpretations, single women still face barriers to using their reproductive rights.

Need for Legal Reform and Equality:

  • The pressing necessity for legal reform to guarantee equality for single women is highlighted by the restrictive laws and societal attitudes surrounding surrogacy and reproductive rights.
  • The need to address these issues in order to improve women’s access to surrogacy and fertility treatments, as well as their reproductive rights, is underscored by the growing number of single women in India.

Obstacles in Conventional Views of Parenthood:

  • Conventional ideas about parenthood, such as the emphasis on the necessity of fathers, support prejudice against queer couples and single women.
  • Supporters contend that gender roles should be relaxed and replaced with supported parenting, in line with the changing knowledge of family dynamics and child welfare.


  • India’s growing number of single women calls for a review of surrogacy legislation as well as more comprehensive reproductive rights regulations to guarantee equality and respect for all people.
  • Legal reforms are necessary to tackle societal biases and systemic discrimination, enabling unmarried women in modern India to make educated decisions regarding their reproductive choices.

What are the Recent Changes Made by the Supreme Court?
– The use of donor gametes was outlawed by a government notification in March 2023 that amended the legislation.
– For surrogacy, it stated that “intending couples” had to use their own gametes.
– The Supreme Court received a petition contesting the amendment on the grounds that it violates a woman’s right to become a parent.
– The Court read the requirement that the child be “genetically related” to mean that the child must be related to the husband.
– The Court stressed that the legislation allowing gestational surrogacy is “woman-centric,” which means that a woman’s incapacity to become a mother because of a medical or congenital condition determines whether or not she chooses to have a surrogate child.
– The Court made it clear that the child must be related to the intended couple, particularly the husband, in order for Rule 14(a) of the Surrogacy Rules to apply. – — – This rule lists medical or congenital conditions that allow a woman to choose gestational surrogacy.
– In a gestational surrogacy, an individual who did not donate the egg used for conception bears a fetus to term and gives birth to a child on behalf of another individual or couple.
– The Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that affects the female reproductive system. The Supreme Court stayed the operation of Rule 7 of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, allowing the woman to undergo surrogacy using a donor egg.
– The Surrogacy Act’s Rule 7 prohibits using donor eggs in the process.

PYQ: In the context of recent advances in human reproductive technology, “Pronuclear Transfer” is used for (2020)   
(a) in vitro fertilization of an egg using donor sperm
(b) genetic engineering of cells that produce sperm
(c) growth of stem cells into viable embryos
(d) preventing mitochondrial illnesses in future generations

Ans: (d)
Practice Question: Examine the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 in India critically to see how the provisions affect the reproductive rights of single women. Examine the social and legal ramifications of the Act’s limitations on single women’s access to surrogacy, and suggest legislative changes that will advance parity in reproductive healthcare. (15 m/250 words)

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