Abhijeet Sen

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    • Recently, Abhijit Sen, a renowned economist and a former Planning commission member passed away.

    Abhijeet Sen 

    • About:
      • He was a renowned agriculture economist and a former member of the Planning commission of India (from 2004 to 2014, PC disbanded in 2014).
      • He taught economics at Sussex, Oxford, Cambridge and Essex before joining the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1985.
    • Major Contributions:
      • In 1997, he was appointed chairman of Commission on Agricultural Cost and Prices(CACP) and tasked to recommend support prices for agri commodities.
      • He authored the report of the High-Level Committee on Long Term Grain Policy in July 2000, that recommended fixation of MSP based on all paid-out cultivation expenses in cash and in kind.
      • This formulation was later captured in the ‘Swaminathan formula‘ that recommended that MSPs of crops be at least 50 percent more than the cost of production.
      • He had also favoured a universal public distribution system with uniform central issue prices for rice and wheat while doing away with ‘below poverty line’ and ‘above poverty line’ categories.
      • This was used by the Congress-led UPA government in the National Food Security Act of 2013.
      • He also contributed to the Tendulkar Committee report on poverty lines.
      • In 2017, he lamented the “mechanical mining of the soil” and lowering of its organic carbon content.
    • Advocate of Decentralised governance:
      • He committed to greater autonomy for the States, as also the empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions. 
      • Example of autonomy to the States: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), which Abhijit conceptualised as Member, Planning Commission in 2007.
    • Awarded for Public Service:
      • In 2010, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for public service.

    Commission of Agricultural Cost and Prices

    • About: It is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. It came into existence in January 1965.
    • Objective: Recommends the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) by taking into consideration various factors (like demand and supply, cost of production, inter crop parity etc).
    • Composition: Currently, the Commission comprises a Chairman, Member Secretary, one Member (Official) and two Members (Non-Official).
    • Purpose:  Recommends the MSPs of the notified Kharif and Rabi crops to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).  Its suggestions are not binding on the Government.
      • As of now, CACP recommends MSPs of 23 commodities, which comprise 7 cereals (paddy, wheat, maize, sorghum, pearl millet, barley and ragi), 5 pulses (gram, tur, moong, urad, lentil), 7 oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed-mustard, soyabean, seasmum, sunflower, safflower, nigerseed), and 4 commercial crops (copra, sugarcane, cotton and raw jute).
    • CACP submits its recommendations to the government in the form of Price Policy Reports every year, separately for five groups of commodities namely Kharif crops, Rabi crops, Sugarcane, Raw Jute and Copra.

    Source: TH