In three crucial Hindi heartland states!
What does this election win means?
Means the rural distress in the agri sector nearly over?
Rahul’s new found confidence justifies his current speeches and even his threatening postures?
Yes, yes, he has every reason to be enthused about his hard-won battles!

rahul-gandhiBut then write-off of farm loans in MP and Chattisgarh, may be in  Rajasthan too might trigger further demands for the BJP-ruled states too! Why not?

It will take some more time, may be only after the 2019 big test, that further promises and even some write-off might be demanded.
Already the Karnataka write-off is half way.

The hard reality is that write-off of farm loans are never easy and never solved the current persisting farm distress. This needs hard thinking too.

Let us be a bit realistic and also so honest that even in the
Congress times of old there never was such a proposal, write-off of crop loans. It needs experts and also much field level experience.
At the micro level and macro level issues and realities.

At present even the well-meaning Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi couldn’t do more than what his government has done for the farming community. We just don’t have some really well-meaning capable people at the top.

You see experts are urban-based?

And when the agri ministers or officials, let alone the Prime Minister don’t even speak out? Rahul Gandhi has promised write-off farm loans within ten days of coming back to power! Can he do this? Is there going to be any practical action in the time before the general election in 2019comes fast! Whom to trust when it comes to agri issues?

Very rarely we get to know of the farmers issues. Agri issues don’t make to it to TV news headlines unless it is a massive march or a big rally as it took place on November 30   in Delhi where came farmers in large numbers from all states, and the much-publicised 200 odd farmers organisations managed to gather such a large crowd of farmers. Only such massive rallies make good TV news and not when you discuss problems in cold print. And there are some critical factors like who organises the farmers.

Certainly political parties and they only one interest, that is of the coming elections and the parties gather together to win elections only.

Rahul Gandhi’s grand promises of writing off farm loans within ten days of coming to power is a myth and of course no one cares to ask such questions. It is the heat and the buzz that is all matters for the multiple TV channels and each channel makes lots of noise and some even screams hoarse and the louder the more viewer rating, right?
Yet the grand realities remain the same. A full page write up in the Hindu newspaper, of a 1,200 km travel by road by the newspaper’s correspondent  brings into sharp focus the  grim realities of rural living in the mostly desert state of Rajasthan and the various combinations of the castes of Rajasthan  had rejected the Vasundare Raje Scindia.

The villagers don’t show any unity as farmers and farmers are divided by castes and also classes.

There are rich farmers and poor farmers. It is not possible to gauge how the farmers are divided by political affiliations. In Rajasthan there is a sort of anger over the Rajasthan pride over the Padmavati film and also the manner in which the Rajasthan sentiment if hurt by the BJP not treating the senior Rajasthani leader, Jaswanth Singh who is ill and his son, Manvendra Singh who was with BJP and walked over to the Congress which had put him against the Chief Minister Vasundara Raje Scindia, a non Rajasthani!

It is widely predicted soon after the election process was over that the BJP might lose and the Congress might form the government. In Madhya Pradesh too, the Chief Minister Chauhan too face a tough Opposition, though he might scrap through and yet he would lose his shine, widely predicted again.

The point here is whether one part wins, the other loses, and the status of Indian agriculture, right now is one of deep distress.
No one seems to have any clue.

In the issue of the newspaper on another page it is highlighted how M.S.Swaminathan has co-authored a column, published from Bangalore, finally throwing out his hat and saying  that the GM cotton has failed, nay, all the GM crops a failure and GM technologies  won’t help, a  sustainable food production and nutritional security not possible by the GM technologies. So, we are left with no other alternative assurance, this government neither promises you these goals.

Now, what are we left with?

The same persisting rural distress and that means what?

Farmers suicides, as we write, in Maharashtra and UP as we write, and the government’s untrustworthy promises are only we are left with, ironically, every time with the every approaching elections!

So, it looks as though the time has come to see agriculture distress only in terms of electoral battles. Even the much hyped farm loan waiver in Karnataka is getting delayed.

And very soon the people, why, the farmers everywhere, seem to be ignored even in   Madhya Pradesh we saw police firing at Mandsaur where five farmers were killed in police firing!

While the Government’s Principal Scientific Adviser K.Vijay Raghavan had disputed the MSS research paper as deeply flawed, what is the real answer?

Alas! There is none in the official hierarchy to come out with an honest response. Nor we have any public intellectuals who can speak out.

Of course, it is not a scenario where we can leave with such a negative outlook when it comes to agricultural sector. In the outside world agriculture, food production and much else like ensuring nutrition to children and all such larger goals visionary goals are called for.FAO and other agencies have predicted serious consequences and emphasised future food needs of the world with higher populations. So let us think positively.

As far as this journal is concerned there are certain deeply entrenched policy prejudices that govern even today the agri sector in the country.

One, as the NIITI Aayog has come out with a model land legislation that suggests some bold reforms, make farming an equitable activity between the land owners and the tenants.

Currently, the tenancy and land ceiling and other issues are government by a rigid set of laws that have made farming unviable, among other factors.

Unless farming is seen as a possibly viable activity, more farmers would leave farming sector and move to other profitable activities like construction and other service industries.

There is a furious urbanisation process and many able-bodied people have left their rural habitats. In the north, from Bihar and UP, why other states like Odisha there is a seasonal migration to cities. From the other states too there is great migration process started, as for instance, most educated young man and women have moved to Bangalore and other cities. So, how do you care for agri productivity and production?

There two views for agriculture. One, the micro view and other macro view. The micro view is just look at problems in particular rural pockets. Life in the villages is becoming tougher every day. At the macro level we have bigger problems like Indian agriculture vs. the global agri issues, like agri trade and agri exports in particular.
WTO, why even the big agri economies like USA and China, they object to Indian agri subsidies. Now, India speaks a new agri export policy, doubling of exports. Fine!

It is our view that only when the agri exports rise, the farmers would get decent prices for their produce, as other countries, the USA, EU agri subsidies show. Let us feel confident on the agri front.
New governments must think on these lines. Jai Hind!

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