Can Dr.Panagariya succeed where angels feared to tread?
Can this government do the new proposals?
Distress in agri sector continues!
Farmers’ suicides continue. Farmers’s debts mount. Farmers have No one is talking about. Where is the agriculture minister? Why he doesn’t talk of the many segments, like sugar and other commodities that are facing crisis.
Where are the new agri policies?
Is there any farm credit policy?
How long farmers would continue to face this distress?
NITI Aayog, govt’s planning body or the think-tank, call it by whatever name that suits you, has been doing really some original thinking.
How to draw investments in farming? When the average size of the farming plots shrink in size every year.
We know all these statistics.
When agriculture becomes unviable, farmers leave the plots.
They are sold off to real estate, mostly this is happening and also the faster urbanisation only accelerates this process of reducing the plots. And given the current wages, scarcity of labour and the lack of funds, either government or by banks what the average farm is doing. His bank loans scarce, the private money lenders step in.
That is why farmers, mostly even the sugarcane farmers accumulate loans and to live the village community with the tag of a debtors if the most shameful and distressing and that is how farmers are pushed to suicide.
This is known to everyone, to the Prime Minister, to Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. But they do nothing and the other priorities!
Now Dr.Arvind Panagiriya, the new planning commission chief has come out with how to change things.
He has a touch task.
We who live in the village and do farming and also run an agriculture media like this magazine know well the real problems.
First, tenancy protection laws as they are gives the tenants protection and they, tenants are are left free not to pay the rents.
Every other farmer has a court case pending for three decades, if not longer!
Land owners don’t farm land and they leave it fallow and or do some other crops like coconut and other horticulture like Mango orchards.
Also, most well-off farmers live in towns and cities and they become absentee “landowners.
So, the revenues and other local officials take advantage and create this bogus tenancy records.
Be it on land acquisition bill or the land reforms bill.
The one suggestion to reform the ownership of the agri land is most welcome and timely too. To put in simple language so that it makes sense to a wide section of people, the problem for average farmers is increasing unavailability of farming as a livelihood option.
Given an opportunity most small farmers would quit farming and migrate to nearby towns if not distant cities. Those farmers, who had veeb traditional farmers with some considerable acreage of land, even that has to be held under many concealment of the titles etc, it is really the emerging unviability of farming as a decent profession in the face of rapid urbanisation. Now, make it explicit that landowners are protected so that they can give in contract. The terms must be explicit.
So that anyone taking up farming can clearly go for taking loans to invest in productive agriculture.
We know hundreds of families who are crying for some relief.
The old-fashioned leftists had ruined farming families and pushed them to suicides.
You protect big loan defaulters like sugar company owners.
But you punish the rural farmers by not giving them ownership security.
Can Dr.Panagiriya really succeed where angels failed to tread?