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Should we change the official year?

Addressing the governing council of NITI Aayog attended by state chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the suggestion of NITI Aayog to change the financial year from the present April-March to January-December. The reason is to synchronise it with the agriculture season. 

I find this reason somewhat flawed. For a large country like India with different monsoon patterns, agriculture seasons are not uniform. For the major crop of rice with large varieties related to water availability, the season extends round the year.  For wheat, essentially a winter crop in the north, the season spreads from November to April. For sugarcane it is October-September. Horticulture accounts for more than half of total value of agriculture production. For horticulture the season is different for different crops.

The second issue relates to the falling share of agriculture in the GDP. It is only 14 per cent and is still falling. For Tamil Nadu it is already low at 8 per cent. Over the years the industry and services sectors have switched largely to the present financial year of April to March. Look at the task for thousands of companies and businesses forced to switch to the new financial year.

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