This issue brings out three different articles relating to India’s agricultural exports
under WTO regime, attitude of farmers towards agricultural insurance, and
microfinance as an innovative credit delivery mechanism in rural India. Priyanka Mahajan and Paramjit Nanda in their paper, “Structural Changes in Commodity Composition and Direction of Agricultural Exports in India Under WTO Regime”, examine the impact of opening up of agricultural sector on the commodity composition and structural changes in the exports of agricultural and allied products and the direction of India’s agricultural exports during the post-WTO period (i.e., 1995-96 to 2005-06). Revealed comparative advantage in exports has been estimated for the study period in order to examine the comparative advantage of Indian agricultural exports vis-à-vis world exports. This study reveals that the share of India’s agricultural exports in world agricultural exports is higher than the share of India’s total exports in world’s total exports. Further commodity-wise analysis of comparative advantage shows that India has lost its comparative advantage in all agricultural commodities, except vegetables and fruits, sugar and sugar preparations, due to the imposition of various health and phytosanitary measures and environment and labor standards on the country’s exports during the study period. An analysis of direction of trade with regard to agricultural and allied exports indicate the declining importance of OECD countries and the increasing importance of OPEC and developing economies in India’s trade during the study period. This study suggests that agriculture should be given the status of an industry with all necessary incentives.
R Malini in her paper, “Attitude of Farmers Toward Agriculture Insurance: A Study with Reference to Ambasamudram Area of Tamil Nadu”, explains that agricultural insurance is indispensable for the prosperity of the agriculture, which is often subjected to many risks. However, the implementation of agriculture insurance mainly depends on the farmers’ attitude. In this backdrop, the study estimates the attitude of respondents towards agriculture insurance, favorable factors and problems prevailing in the implementation of agriculture insurance. The primary data of the study has been analyzed with the help of percentage analysis and sign test. The study concludes that the farmers have positive attitude towards agriculture insurance. Besides, they also said that there are a few stumbling blocks to the implementation of agricultural insurance.
K K Tripathy and Sudhir K Jain, in their paper “A Study of Microfinance as an Innovative Credit Delivery Mechanism in Rural India”, articulate that the agricultural finance delivery system has not been satisfactory even after four decades of nationalization of banks, despite the focus on agriculture and rural sector credit in India. Besides the review of agricultural credit policies followed in India and the trends and progress in the credit flow and access, this paper examines the suitability of government-directed microfinance activities as an alternate tool to the formal credit delivery mechanism in rural areas. The study not only indicates the significance of the program which gained popularity in the rural community but also reflects the inequitable impact of microfinance initiative and highlights a few prominent flaws in program implementation and administrative mismanagement which reduce the effectiveness of the program. The paper also makes a few recommendations for improving the design and implementation of microfinance in India.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a bank’s alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.
The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.