Let us keep it that way!
Agriculture is a whole new way of life, even in present times!
Agriculture is just more than just food production, right? But then, let us ask, just for a provocation, how many of our policy makers, not just the much harassed MPs and MLAs, but the more privileged upper reaches, those who are entrenched class of people who habitually live and operate out of what is called the Lutyen’s Delhi, the political dynasties and their henchmen and also the bureaucrats who, come what may, know well, their livelihood is always ensure, come shine and rain, they know what is permanent and what is ephemeral!
Call it by any other name, this new bourgeois class, who make the agriculture policy and much else know that agriculture would remain in state of perpetual begging bowl mode!
Why such an introduction?
The recent, just-now concluded “Progressive Agriculture Summit “in Punjab threw up so many issues and questions.
The Summit can be taken as the trend setter for the agriculture talks in India today.
The Summit also helped us, those outside the Punjab state, living in far off places like South India and even Assam in the East, that even now after all these developments, after 67 years when India has come a long way in economic and social development that agriculture is still a much neglected social and economic sector.
Not of course, politically anymore. Politically the farm lobby is much more awake than ever had been. Now, Punjab is both a progressive state as well as a test case for farmers’ miseries. Just one damning statistics.
Farms suicides and farmers’ debts are on the rise, not any sign of decline!
What does this mean? It means neglect and negligence, right?
Why we still talk of lack of adequate farm credit when there is a demand for it and also when the banks are looking for sound lending?
As for farmer’s suicides, for the record sake, we like to state that more than 5,000 farmers had ended their lives in the last ten years and on average 500 farmers each year since 2010 to 2010.More so in the grain producing belt of Punjab, namely, in the two districts of Bathinda and Sangrur!
Heavy farm debts define the farmer’s community in India. This in the year 2014 when the Finance Minister claims that the Indian agri sector had done a “stellar” job! This is the irony of ironies!
For a FM who along with his boss, the PM, never for once they had time to say a word of two on agriculture whenever they hold forth on high profile platforms!
The point is they, the duo, only reflect the mindset of the average Indian.
Let us not forget the average Indian today is nobody except to what he had inherited from his forebears!
We are still a nation of the British legacy. We had lost faith in ourselves long ago.
We always believed the Whiteman, the white saheb and what the white saheb inherited is also from the past Mughal legacy.
Indians haven’t progressed beyond the legacies when it comes to rural India, rural living, land holding, owning lands in pieces and when it was large scale, it was an oppressive zamindari. So, we had grown as a nation and as a history that we see still in operation. Among the most oppressed two professions in India even today are the weaver and the peasant.
So, we read with equally sadness and irony the news from far off Assam where one peasant, farmers committed suicide as we write one who waited for long and could not get his patta for his land!
He, the unlucky farmers, is a Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti protestor; he immolated himself in front of the Dist secretariat complex, a day before Rahul Gandhi’s Guwahati visit. Pranab Boro, 45, is a daily wage earner in Guwahati died at the Guwahati medical College Hospital. Boro was demanding for land rights for 85,000 people living in and around Guwahati.
Of course, the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogi said as much as any CM would have only done so. The CM was distributing land rights, patta, for 500 families and what the CM said as these rights can’t be given to all who demand it in one day. Right. Then, what policies we implement these days.
How many times we read about the farmers who approach the local Tahsildars’s offices and they are driven from pillar to post every time. We need some rational, objective and independent guide to boost farmers confidence in the system. As we have other sectors, the business confidence index, prepared by NCAER or the Political Confidence Index over the perceptions of the business community. Likewise, we must come forward with some such measurement, a radical approach to give and enhance a boost the farmers confidence.
We have talked enough about farmers, their plight. One more tale of woe is simply uncalled for. So, let us come out with a new approach.
Punjab is a farmers state and what it does has much relevance to other states by way of boosting the farmers confidence. Power subsidy and other subsidies would be there.USA too gives a multiple of subsidies to the farm sector and there is one hundred and odd anti-poverty schemes in America!
Create an environment for farmers’ self-confidence, their own self-worth.
AP, Maharashtra and why even Karnataka have reported farmers suicides. This is a national shame. We have to come out with fool-proof schemes to forestall such tragedies well in time. Agriculture is India’s basic power base, economic and political.
Let us keep it that way.
This, this neglect of grass roots rights for farmers, rural people, this neglect of villages, in so any areas, are all neglected.
This is one of the many reasons why the new outfits like Aam Aadmi parties spring to life every time there is an election.
We have come to such a stage that we have to sit up and take note of the new developments.