In many states, 100 and odd farmers groups, on the roads!
What prevents purposive actions and decisions?
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken well and in an eloquent manner at Khekhda in Meerat on the occasion of inauguration of the 135 km Easter Peripheral Express way in Bagpat on the role of farmers in development. Yes, when the farmers’ lives rise, the country’s development rises! Yes, very inspiring indeed.
But then why his colleague at Krishi Bhavan does has spoken this way? Is this the way for a heavy-weight portfolio holder, the Agriculture Minister of the country to call farmers protests as a gimmick? This is to rub salt in the wounds of a section of the most high priority area of the country’s development agenda, agriculture and rural prosperity that is visibly in deep crisis. This is the time for the government that has completed four years and one year is left for the likely fierce battle for a new government in 2019. Surely, the PM is also faced with what we see as a dilemma as to how to go about reforming the moribund economic sector.
Yes, as a responsible agri media we too are concerned with a critical agenda of agricultural reform.
As we see the NITI AAYOG’s new radical proposals as how to reform the much-maligned restrictive tenancy legislations that were conceived in a different era of newly abolished landlordism days. Today the very rural economic and social and cultural scenario has changed.
Almost unnoticed there is a whole new revolution of aspirations and dreams among the new generation. India is now a young nation.
There is expectation at all levels. So too at the farm families’ levels too.
This has not been openly spoken about, namely, to recast the very restrictive and a negative tenancy laws that don’t serve any purpose whatever.
No land holder ,even the very marginal ones whose full time jobs may be in non-farm areas, including the daily labour where there is high wages be it the construction sector or any other jobs. Comparatively, there is every risk if one resorts to traditional farming.
So, no one wants to remain on the farms. Everyone likes to quite or migrate to cities. And yet, the politicians in the thick of winning the next elections have no time to think of radical changes. Every political party wants to repeat the past practices and give as many false promises as possible and thus, the same rising debts and litigations and what have you, the farming sector is caught in a web of corruption and corrupt practices at the ground level.
That is why Indian agriculture at the grass roots remains the most risk profession. So, we ask the government, the PM and the agri minister and all others concerned, please understand the distress in which the farming is caught up with.
That is one reason we also look forward to see more and more state governments follow the lead given by the hon’ble Telangana state CM,K.Chandrashekhar Rao in devising many radical changes, from cleaning the old style, conditions-ridden land records and giving boldly a new system of investments for the farmers and many of his innovative farm assistance systems.
Only if you had lived in AP or Telangana know well how the states are still steeped in the old style feudal system and how it is a Herculean task for the governments there to revive rural lives without some big modernising industrial ventures. Tamil Nadu with all its political disabilities, large scale corruption etc, has managed to lift the people out of poverty thanks to the great days of the late Kamaraj who brought some of the biggest industrial ventures and thereby created a momentum for the later governments to improve the lives of the poor and the weaker sections.
So, Indian agriculture needs some unusual approaches. One would be the current achievements like accelerating the National High ways so that as the PM rightly said that way we might be able to tackle a whole host of issues like pollution in bigger cities and also integrating the rural hinter land and thus accelerating the agricultural markets and ensuring the chances of farmers getting higher prices for their produce.
Now, to the nitty-gritty of things. The Central government must intervene immediately to address the agitating farmers. The PM’s silence is misplaced. The agri minister has to apologise for his remarks.
Some immediate responses are called for. There are states like MP that has introduced to stabilise agri prices whenever it falls. A price stabilisation fund is needed to arrest the price falls. Other measures can be thought of. The government must think of such steps.
Immediate measures. Short-term measures. Medium and long-term measures.
In our opinion, liberalisation of the many laws that govern our agri/revenue/legal/justice systems. Special and innovative schemes as adopted in Telangana state for farmers.
Empathy for farmers must from the government!