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...Its income share is shrinking rapidly but its employment share is not. Hence the dual challenge is to increase its income share, and increase the rate of employment absorption into industry and services. Last year, the Union budget declared the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes in five years. That would require farm output to rise by almost 10% per year, and separately a price increase of about 5% per annum. That is surely an Herculean but worthy goal, and meeting it even halfway would still be a great achievement. As such last year’s budget increased outlay on agriculture by 84% over the previous year. The responsibility for improving the fortunes of agriculture lies with half-a-dozen ministries at the Centre, not to mention state governments as well. Among policy levers there are so many moving parts that it is difficult to attribute success and failure of policy to a single lever. ...Live Mint on Jan. 25, 2017, 1:16 a.m.
...After all, as much as 2016 has been a year I’d rather see the back of, it has, in many ways, been transformative. The big story this year was e-commerce. After an extended purple patch, the sector well and truly lost its sheen. When the government issued Press Note 3 towards the end of March, it immediately plunged the industry into chaos. For the rest of the year, e-commerce companies scrambled to comply, concocting stranger and stranger business models—while their investors set about nervously re-calibrating valuations. But even as the poster-boys of the digital economy came unstuck, the various symbiotic businesses that had developed in lockstep with the e-commerce juggernaut, hit their stride. ...Live Mint on Dec. 28, 2016, 12:58 a.m.