What’s Actually In The Farm Bills?

What's Actually In The Farm Bills?

With farmer protests continuing against provisions of the new Farm Bills, let us look at some lesser talked details in the bills.

Crux of the Matter

The Farmers (Empowerment And Protection) Agreement On Price Assurance And Farm Services Act, 2020

Section 6 (3a)

  • Applicable on a farming agreement concerning “seed production”.
  • Sponsor obliged to pay at least 2/3rd of the decided amount at delivery time.
  • Remaining amount to be paid after due certification – not later than 30 days of delivery.

Section 8
Prohibits sponsors from

  • Buying, mortgaging, or leasing farmer’s land.
  • Creating a permanent structure on farmer’s land. Allowed only if Sponsor agrees to and funds the removal of a structure at end of the agreement period.

Section 12 (1)

  • Provision for “electronic registry” for facilitating registration of farming agreements.

Section 14 (1)

  • Parties may approach sub-divisional Magistrate if dispute not settled within 30 days.

Section 19

  • No provision for Civil Court to admit any suit where “Sub-Divisional Authority” settles the dispute.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation)

Section 4 (3)

  • Trader required to pay for farmers’ produce on the same day or within 3 working days.
  • Subject to the condition that delivery receipt (mentioning payment amount due) given to farmer on the same day.

Section 6

  • No market fee under the APMC Act or any other law on any farmers, traders, or electronic trading platform for trade outside APMC.

Section 13

  • No legal action against Central/State Govt or any Central/State officer for anything done “in good faith” under the Act.

Read more about the opposition and reactions to the farm bills here.

  • Norman Borlaug was an American agronomist who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production termed the Green Revolution. Borlaug was awarded multiple honors for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • Vedic literature provides some of the earliest written records of agriculture in India. Rigveda hymns, for example, describe plowing, fallowing, irrigation, fruit, and vegetable cultivation. Other historical evidence suggests rice and cotton were cultivated in the Indus Valley, and plowing patterns from the Bronze Age have been excavated at Kalibangan in Rajasthan.

CS-1: World’s Biggest Computing Chip

CS-1: World's Biggest Computing Chip

At the supercomputing conference SC20 held this month, makers of the world’s largest computer chip, Cerebras Systems’ CS-1, confirmed that the computing system has achieved a new performance milestone, achieving speeds far beyond what existing CPUs and GPUs could deliver. Is that why it is being called the “fastest AI computer in existence”?

Crux of the Matter

How Fast Is It?
As per reports by Cerebras and the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the CS-1 is 22x faster than the recently launched Nvidia A100 80GB chip and 200x faster than the Joule Supercomputer – ranked 82nd on the list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world – when simulating combustion within a powerplant.

How Was It Modelled?
The workload carried out to deliver the performance of CS-1, required modelling a number of real-world scenarios, including fluid dynamics and energy efficiency, via WSI.

Wafer Scale Integration is a rarely used system of building very-large integrated circuit networks, which use an entire silicon wafer to produce a single “super-chip”. Many companies before Cerebras had attempted to develop WSI production systems in the 1970s and 80s, but all had failed.

Z-Dimension Cooling
Cerebras co-founder Sean Li said that that rather than trying to move power and cooling horizontally across the chip as in traditional chips, both were delivered vertically at all points across the chip, ensuring consistency.

Why This Need For Speed?
CS-1 will be used to train neural networks and perform high-fidelity simulations of real-world scenarios, like calculating the best way for a helicopter to land on a flight deck by modelling air flow patterns around its rotors.

Matrix Style Simulations
Researchers have also claimed that CS-1 can predict the future “faster than the laws of physics, which produce the same result”. This is similar to what philosopher Nick Bostrom stated in his Simulation Hypothesis of 2003 i.e in the future, enormous amounts of computing power will be used to run realistic simulations of the universe.

  1. A Turing machine is a mathematical model of computation that defines an abstract machine. Despite the model’s simplicity, given any computer algorithm, a Turing machine capable of simulating that algorithm’s logic can be constructed. 
  2. The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) for its line of Macintosh computers. Apple claims that it has the world’s fastest CPU core “in low power silicon” and the world’s best CPU performance per watt.
  3. The experiment, known as Laplace’s Demon, was first described in 1814, hypothesizing “an intelligence” that could predict the future and reveal the past by calculating “all positions of all items of which nature is composed”. In his Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, Laplace wrote: “For such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.”

What Do Latest GDP Numbers For India Say?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for the July-September 2020 quarter for India were recently published by the RBI. As economies of world nations tumble due to Covid-19, India’s latest GDP numbers suggest that India made the best comeback among major economies from its worst-affected quarter. Let’s see what economic indicators are suggesting about India’s growth.

Crux of the Matter

GDP of India in the July-September 2020 quarter shrank by 7.5% (year-on-year) compared to a contraction of ~24% (year-on-year) in the April-June 2020 period.

However, when compared with previous quarters (qoq), India’s Jul-Sep GDP grew by ~23%. Let’s see how India performed compared to other nations.

Apr-Jun 2020 is considered China’s bounceback quarter after its worst-affected quarter (due to Covid-19) of Jan-Mar 2020 – China’s quarter-on-quarter growth in Apr-Jul 2020 was 21.1%. Among major economies, the July-Sept 2020 quarter is considered a bounceback quarter after the worst-affected quarter (due to Covid-19) of Apr-Jun 2020.

India’s bounceback quarter recorded higher growth than major economies at 23.24% (quarter-on-quarter).

Technically, 2 back to back quarters of Year-on-Year GDP slump indicates recession. The Quarter-on-Quarter trend of actual GDP numbers gives hope for a V shaped recovery in India.

India In Technical Recession
For the first time in history, India has entered into a ‘technical recession’. A country enters into a technical recession when it reports ‘two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth’. India reported negative GDP growth in the Apr-Jun 2020 quarter with -24%, and in the Jul-Sep 2020 quarter with -7.5%. Note that these quarterly figures are compared with the same quarterly figures in the preceding year.

What Are Other Indicators Suggesting?
Gross Value Added (GVA) was -7% (year-on-year) in Jul-Sep quarter as compared to -22.8% (year-on-year) in the Apr-Jun quarter. GVA is simply the result of GDP minus Net Product Taxes. Although India is ‘technically’ in a recession, other indicators suggest an uptick in economic activity. Have a look at the infographic below:

Other indicators that are potential green shoots for the economy are:
Monthly GST collections are in level or exceeding year-on-year figures
Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 58.9 – decade high – in October 2020
Toll collection was up in September 2020 – higher than pre-Covid levels
Exports increased by 5.99% in September 2020 after declining for 6 months.

Do you think India’s economy is set for a V-shaped recovery? Do write us your views on namaskar@summachar.in.

  • Energy intensity is a measure of the energy inefficiency of an economy. It is calculated as units of energy per unit of GDP. High energy intensity means high industrial output as a portion of GDP. Countries with low energy intensity signifies a labor intensive economy.
  • A final good or consumer good is a commodity that is used by the consumer to satisfy current wants or needs, rather than to produce another good. GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period.
  • Purchasing power parity is an economic term for measuring prices at different locations. It is based on the law of one price, which says that, if there are no transaction costs nor trade barriers for a particular good, then the price for that good should be the same at every location. Ideally, a computer in New York and in Hong Kong should have the same price. If its price is 500 US dollars in New York and the same computer costs 2000 HK dollars in Hong Kong, PPP theory says the exchange rate should be 4 HK dollars for every 1 US dollar.

How Does A GSLV Work?

How Does A GSLV Work?

Recent reports suggest that the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is engaged in a collaborative venture with ISRO, for India’s Venus orbiter mission ‘Shukrayaan’. As the rocket for the launch is set to be on GSLV Mark II, let’s understand the basics of GSLV and how it is different from PSLV.

Crux of the Matter

What Is A GSLV?
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) project was started by ISRO in 1990, for launching Indian capability for geosynchronous satellites. Since its reception, it has carried out 13 launches from 2001 to 2018.

Role Of Each Component

  • Fairing: Wider than the rest of the launcher, this provides aerodynamic efficiency and shields the payload from mechanical damage during the atmospheric phase of flight.
  • Third Stage: The cryogenic upper stage of imparts a high velocity to the payload and detaches at the periapsis.
  • Second Stage: The high thrust, liquid propellant has a high chamber pressure, which is activated 156 seconds into flight.
  • First Stage: It is ignited 4 seconds after the ignition of the 4 liquid strap-on motors, which help extract maximum thrust.

What About GSLV Mk III?
Also called the Launch Vehicle Mark 3, it has a higher payload capacity than the similarly named GSLV Mk II. It has launched India’s space capsule recovery experiment module: CARE, second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2. It will now be used to carry Gaganyaan, the first crewed mission under Indian Human Spaceflight Programme in December 2021.

  • Shukrayaan-1 is a proposed orbiter to Venus by the (ISRO) to study the surface and atmosphere of Venus. It is expected to be launched in December 2024 with a backup date in 2026.
  • Vyommitra is a female-looking spacefaring humanoid robot being developed by the ISRO to function on-board the Gaganyaan. It will accompany Indian astronauts in space missions and will also be a part of uncrewed experimental Gaganyaan missions prior to the crewed spaceflight missions.
  • ISRO has developed a desi version of Google Earth called Bhuvan which allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth.
  • Assuming that the average distance between Moon and Mars is 225 million kilometres, the cost of India’s Mangalyaan mission was around ₹20/per km while that of Nasa’s Mavern Mass was around ₹180/per km.