New private-public partnership initiatives could make a fundamental impact. It is nice to see V.P.Singh and Ajit Singh leading a farmers’ agitation in New Delhi. But are these leaders’ efforts worth the trouble? Yes, we need a farmers’s lobby to agitate and bring farmers’ issues always to the attention of the government of the day. It was also nice to see the Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Mahendra Singh Tikair leading the show.

Farmers need higher minimum price, India has to look after its food grains economy, and importing wheat now, after seven years is a national shame. We share the sentiments expressed in the rally.

There are so many things to say against the present government in Delhi. It is patently insensitive to the farm sector issues. The PM and the ministers don’t have an idea of what is going on in the farm sector. There is a huge crisis developing, the farmers’ suicides apart, there is the huge debt burden in the farm sector. Unless, the government comes out with a suitable basic farm policy that will get the farm sector from its heavy debt burden, there can’t be any sustained turnaround in this critical sector.

Much more serious is the need for a total rethink about what our farm sector will be like in the next few decades. The farming is becoming unviable progressively is what the government and the policy makers and other experts must recognize and also speak out. There is a refusal to see the rural realities. Farm holdings are becoming fragmented and also there is now the new reversal of fortunes in the countryside.

The market economy that we have fostered has done some positive good too in the villages; small farmers are selling off their small holdings and moving away to the urban areas. So, instead of the old land ceiling laws, we have an unspoken accumulation of land in the hands of a new class of land buyers, the urban businessmen, the black money generators who invest in the agricultural land as the price is rather cheap and it is easy to park the funds in such a way.

What the new ownership in the rural agricultural lands would mean is that very soon you must have reasonable relaxation of land reforms lands, otherwise, there would be vast land encroachments, or illegal land ownership and all your land reform laws would become a source of corruption. What we see in the urban areas, on the urban outskirts might spread slowly to the rural areas too.

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