| Agricultural policy in India: need for a fresh look (1992) |
A serious drawback of the DAPR from the public policy and strategic management viewpoints is lack of any mention of the instruments that should be used to achieve the various policy objectives. Ideally, for each of the objectives, the DAPR should have specified as to what is to done, who will do it, when, how, where, and what means should be used under what conditions to achieve a given objective. The task of the policy maker does not end with merely prescribing what should be done but he should also specify who will do the job and how, i.e., the tasks of policy formulation and implementation cannot be divorced from each other. We want to sound a caveat here that this suggestion does not mean that the DAPR should have attempted prescribing detailed guidelines and blueprints for action. We only mean to suggest that some guiding principles incorporating the lessons of past experiences should have been laid out in the DAPR. We will illustrate this point with the following example.
One of the objectives of agricultural policy enunciated in the DAPR is "implementing a land reform policy for equitable distribution of land, for consolidation of holdings and for preventing fragmentation of holdings". However, there is no mention in the DAPR as to how this objective will be realised. We know and so do the policy makers, we presume, that this objective had been included in all the plans starting with the First Five Year Plan and has not yet been achieved. The only new instruments mentioned in the document are that all land reforms laws are proposed to be included in the IX Schedule of the Constitution so that the laws could not be challenged in the courts of law and that tribunals will be appointed to look into and settle benami transfers of land. These instruments, if and when implemented, would tackle only a part of the problem. What is needed is a complete policy package specifying : (1) precise objectives of the land reforms policy; (2) instruments to be used to achieve each of the objectives; (3) administrative and judicial structures for enforcing the provisions of the various land reforms acts; (4) mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of various land reforms laws; and (5) mechanisms for providing necessary follow up assistance to the beneficiaries of the land reforms in the form of technical knowledge, training, credit, inputs like seeds, fertilisers, irrigation water, marketing facilities etc.
Obviously, the existing administrative and legal set ups were not appropriate to achieve the objectives of the land reforms policies followed in the past. But nothing has been said about how these set ups would be strengthened or modified to achieve the policy objectives in the future. In our opinion, lessons of both successes and failures in the implementation of various agrarian reforms in the country should have been incorporated in the document.