Give more freedoms to farmers!
That is the way to increase investments and agri production!
Indian agriculture is now orphaned! For lack of patronage and awareness!
Corporate support is almost nil and the government is no less negligent. Why we say this at this juncture?
For the obvious reason that even otherwise, there is a traditional bias against agriculture and the issues associated with the sector.
You become better informed about the issues in the current state of agriculture. The sector is almost burning with frustration, helplessness and by the apathy of the government.
We, Indians, rate ourselves very high when it comes to government jobs. We, the educated sections, consider still government jobs are heaven-born and heaven-given! Any government job is so. From the village level revenue collectors, up in the hierarchy to the district collector. Yes, during the British days, the revenue clerk was highly rated. The district collector was beyond the reach of even the high-born Indian families.
Do you know that the first Indian ICS, one Satyendranath Tagore, from the Tagore family became the ICS officer but was never elevated beyond the district and he ended up as the Satara(or Kolhapur?) collector only? Only the white man was good enough for the job! Now, do you realise that there is a sort of disquiet among the IAS officers, in some states, there is disquiet even among the IPS officers?
The reasons are many. First probity in public life is a scarce thing and so too other factors that discourages, rather than encourages the youngsters once considered the heaven-born occupations.
Why this preliminary?
For the simple reason things are much more worse today. It is easier to become an MLA or an MP or much better even a minister! Once you get political power the temptations to misuse are irresistable. So, the corruption issue crops up and no one seems to realise whether you are worth your salt and worth listening to.
In such an environment and when you want to draw attention to the agriculture sector the thought or doubt comes whether you are qualified to talk on a subject like agriculture.
Even after 70 years of Independence, you don’t seem to have got a grip over the vital sector like agriculture. Dr.M.S.Swaminathan says that 50% of our working population are farmers. As he rightly says the Seventh Pay Commission pay is given to the government servants and insulated from inflation while the poor farmers are subjected to the wild swings in prices and punished!
But then at the same time, we see agriculture issues and topics are still debated in highly artificial jargon which most of the farmers might not understand. Issues like Ever Green Revolution, even MSP and the procurement and other policies that are routinely dished out. It looks even this is the current buzz of the government, as repeated by the PM on the Independence Day, of doubling the farmers ‘income in five years! Is it well-thought out policy, or just one more slogan?
How the government hopes to do this, no one bothers to ask or bother to explain.We also don’t seem to know even who the agriculture minister is today, for he never speaks or appears in public or tours the states!
Anyway, here we are in the journal labouring for years and years. No one bigwig, not speak of others, in the public life or corporate world comes forward to call us or express any opinion, let alone any appreciation, to give advertisements from the corporate funds.
Yes, we did ask one or two, one from a person who sat on Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council (!)Who flatly said no!
Where are our high profile corporate heavyweights? The ones who also speak a lot on public platforms and yet who seem only interested to seeking instant publicity!
Where are the corporate social responsibil9, CSR, funds going to?
Education or medical education? Or, public health covers?
See the hospitals in Gorakhpur or in the advanced state of TN, in Ambur where two persons died for there were no government doctors present! The much more damaging sight was to see a small girl’s body was lifted on a two wheeler for lack of ambulance service!
There are so many, much more serious issues for farmers! Dr.Swaminathan doesn’t say so but we say: every average Indian farmer today is either a debtor or a litigant!
Farmers commit suicide out of shame to live a honest life! Shame for being unable to pay back loans kills them. So, too other harassment is the daily living struggles. How many know that the farmers are tied to many antiquated laws, land reform laws passed in the initial years of zamindari abolition and other laws like land ceiling ad tenancy protection and other rural-related laws were passed long time ago.
Today there is labour shortage, ironically in agri sector, do you know?
There is a fast urban migration, many had abandoned farming. So too the younger generation has been migrating. What impact this trend would have on agriculture? Anyone with an answer?
We have to strengthen agri trade and agri exports! Time has come to integrate with the WTO decisions for the developing countries. Now, we have had economic reforms but not in agri sector! Why? Because no one has an answer!
Now, market forces are in full play and yet agri sector is tied up with some of the antiquated laws that constrains and controls farmers from continuing with farming as a business proposition.
In the private sector environment who would invest in agriculture, for crops or for new generation agro industries, if you don’t allow the farmers to own some viable farm size?
Yes, agri sector is more complicated than what the government servants sitting in the government offices or engaged using public funds!
The point is that farmers don’t live in a liberal rural society.
Our justice administration is as antiquated as any other. No civil cases end any day soon. The life span of the average farmer is not even better than the life span of the court cases!
So, you have a mouthful of issues to talk about. That is for another day, it looks like!