Varinder Jain and Surjit Singh
Sponsored by ICSSR, New Delhi

The project, Agricultural Finance in India: A Study of Small, Marginal, Dalit and Tribal Farmers, deals with agriculture finance for Dalits and other marginalised farming community. The main challenge faced by agricultural credit involves not only ensuring flow of credit to small and marginal farmers along with Dalit and tribal farmers, but at the same time designing policies and credit delivery systems that have relevance in the present context in terms of production and demand for agricultural products. Such policies have to consider the need for agricultural credit due to crop diversification. The present study is located in Rajasthan and its findings are based on utilizing both secondary and primary information. For primary survey, all the 10 agro climatic regions of Rajasthan were covered. In the above background, the present study attempted to review the literature on Agriculture Finance to arrive at pertinent issues and concerns; analyse the credit flow to agriculture sector at all India level and Rajasthan state since 2000 and the changes in policies; analyse the agricultural growth in Rajasthan and at district level as it has strong links with absorption of credit; analyse issues related to and trend in agriculture sector capital formation; analyse the credit flow to small, marginal, dalit and tribal farmers in Rajasthan state; analyse the indebtedness of small, marginal, dalit and tribal farmers in Rajasthan state; analyse the demand for credit for small, marginal, dalit and tribal farmers in Rajasthan state in the changing environment and; suggest policy changes if any required to step credit flow to this section of farming community. The present multi-agency approach is inadequate to tackle the pressing need for finance of agricultural extension services too. There is a need to address the issue of how to channel the resources of commercial banks in sustainable and viable manner in order to fund the development of a wide range of allied activities. It is also felt that tenancy laws also hinder flow of credit to tenant and sharecroppers despite guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India. The specific needs of the agricultural sector to financial services demand a broader systemic approach.

Kanchan Mathur, Shobhita Rajagopal and Radhey Shyam Sharma
Sponsored by National Mission for Empowerment of Women, New Delhi

The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) under the Ministry of Women and Child was launched by the Government of India (GOI) with a view to empower women holistically. One of the key components of the mission is to secure convergence of schemes/ programmes of different Ministries, both of the Central and State Governments. The NMEW conceived a new model of delivery i.e. the `Convergence Model’ called the Poorna Shakti Kendras (PSK). The PSK is the focal point of action on the ground through which the services to women at grassroots level are facilitated.

The pilot project was launched in Pali district of Rajasthan and accomplished its objectives after more than one year of implementation. The external evaluation attempted to determine the effectiveness of the project in achieving its broader objective of holistic empowerment of women through convergence. The external evaluation attempted to bring out the experience of operating the Pilot in terms of achievements, best practices, and limitations in the existing design and provide steps for suitable corrective actions. It assessed the relevance; effectiveness; efficiency; impact and sustainability of the project while highlighting opportunities for scaling up operations.

Shobhita Rajagopal, Kanchan Mathur and Radheyshyam Sharma
Sponsored by Population Foundation of India, New Delhi

This project was initiated by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in collaboration with the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University in 2013 with financial support from the Population Foundation of India, New Delhi. The research project aimed at understanding how female college students from marginalized, low-literacy families across Rajasthan managed to successfully overcome economic, social and cultural barriers to girls’ education and progress to tertiary level. Specifically, ‘Champions’ are defined as young women enrolled in their second year of an undergraduate degree programme in a government college whose parents have completed no more than a secondary school education. By focusing on the uncommon behaviours of this successful minority, rather than the barriers to educational progression, this project employed a ‘positive deviance’ approach. While investigating into the infrastructural and social drivers of female empowerment, the study provides empirically based research findings to impact radical changes towards betterment in government policy. The project involved quantitative data collection with over 400 Champions (CHs) drawn randomly from thirteen government colleges across five districts in the State. In addition 223 ‘Non Champions’(NCs) – a comparison group of young women matched by age, geographical location and parental education levels participated in the study. A detailed report and Policy brief has been prepared and shared with different academic and policy groups. The study clearly indicates that with the right support even those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds can forge a path to personal empowerment through education that would have been unimaginable for their mothers’ generation. The fact that daughters from these families are in college represents a significant shift in one generation: a manifestation of upward mobility in modern India. Despite limited exposure to female economic activity in the formal sector, CH’s did not view a college education as simply a means to secure a better marriage match. 97% of CHs plan to pursue professional occupations such as teaching and civil service jobs. They aspire to help more young women overcome the manifold socio-economic barriers to educational advancement.

Surjit Singh and Motilal Mahamallik
Sponsored by Fourteenth Finance Commission, Government of India

The study attempted to look at the estimation of revenue capacities of Rajasthan and measures undertaken to improve the tax‐ GSDP ratio during the last five years. It also puts forth suggestions for enhancing the revenue productivity of the tax system in Rajasthan. It undertakes an analysis of Rajasthan’s own non‐tax revenues and recommends measures to enhance revenues from user charges, profits from departmental enterprises and dividends from non‐departmental commercial enterprises.

S. Mohanakumar
Sponsored by Department of Agriculture, Government of Rajasthan

The near total stagnation in the overall growth performance of agriculture and allied sectors in India since the mid 1990s has been a matter of concern for policy makers for the last two decades. Agriculture being the prime mover of macro economic growth in the country as well as an inevitable element to make growth inclusive the Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan suggested a road map for 4 percent growth rate per annum for agriculture and allied sectors to attain the long‐run goal of 9 percent growth for the economy. Sharing the concern expressed in the Approach Paper of the Planning Commission, in its 53rd meeting held in May 2007, the National Development Council articulated social imperativeness of reversing the dismal growth performance of the agriculture sector in India. It was observed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from agriculture experienced a sharp deceleration in its trend growth from 3.62 percent during 1984‐1985 to 1995‐1996 to less than 2 percent between 1995‐1996 and 2004‐2005. The observed deceleration aggravated further and compounded more on the livelihood of the farm dependent population in rain‐fed areas in India. Consequent upon the resolve that a special Additional Central Assistance Scheme called Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) has been launched. RKVY resolved to incentivize the states to draw up a Comprehensive State Agricultural Plan (C‐SAP), giving due emphasis to agro‐climatic conditions, natural resource issues and technology. It is envisaged under RKVY that every state should draw up C‐DAP which should integrate the deliberations, need and resource availability of respective Gram Panchayat under the district. The C‐SAP has accordingly been formulated by compiling the C‐DAP which in turn, in every respect, should be a State Agricultural Plan from below. The present project has consolidated the District Agriculture Plan and formulated the State Agriculture Plan for the 12th Five Year Plan in Rajasthan.