Let us listen to the farmers!
Then frame a realistic agriculture policy!
Who in the Modi government care for agriculture sector?
The Modi government, as Arun Jaitley tells (in his NDTV interview) is a pro-business-friendly government. In telling about the need for government to acquire more lands, for some priority needs like industrial parks, infrastructure, housing and he listed five priorities, is sought through a new bill. For which he seeks the Congress party support in Parliament.
Is the Modi government a Centre-Right party?
The finance minister seems to say so. In that case, there is the farmer who are now owners and who have to part with their land under the government terms, might not agree to the business lobby terms.
Is there not a farmers lobby in India?
The farmers ‘points of view have to sought and must be spelt out in the public by the government. There are very many steeper issues involved in seeking vast acres of land for government priorities.
Justice must be done to farmers’, poor farmers’ interests. The new government in Delhi has taken many new initiatives in various sectors. In industrial development there is visible new awareness and new assertive steps.
The Prime Minister justifiably has given top priority to revive growth. This means in one sentence industrial growth and the emphasis on make in India is a manufacturing industry revival only.
But there are, as the Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian pointed out that many of the existing regulations must be eased. The new theme is how to make the “ease of doing business index” to be India’s new boldness to demolish the many obstacles and as Mr.Modi has observed, make the starting of the company, the registration process to be done in one day!
There are shortages of resources, coal, electricity and other constraints.
The PM is single-mindedly doing all these things. Now, there is the biggest industry in India. What is it? It is just agriculture!
Anybody in the government is talking about agriculture?
We don’t know. We have asked for an appointment with the new Union agriculture minister. So that we can raise some basic questions that affect the prospects of agriculture.
Agriculture is not only the biggest industry. It is also the biggest employer still.
The majority of the people also live in the villages and are dependent upon the agriculture sector for their livelihood, for their very space.
Where are the new concrete houses for the villagers, the village poor and the others living in the villages, various castes, and weaker sections etc that are deeply affected by what the government does for the rest of the sectors.
There is a new emphasis, why, even mart talk about “smart cities”.
Yes, cities growth is now becoming more important, cities are growing fast.
Every major investment, why, major changes in the Indian economy is in the cities, also dependent upon the city environment. Fine.
Then we need a master plan. A sort of a future roadmap for the urban growth.
It is because we are concentrating, we mean the government, the corporate sector, the middle classes and other factors push for concentration on urban affairs, neglect of the rural India.
Please let us note that Indian agriculture suffers great neglect. The new finance minister Mr.Arun Jaitley talked about the farmers whose interest he would protect. Even as he says so he is only talking about the land acquisition laws and the compensation for the farmers.
No, this is only one side of the land question. Now, you had reformed the labour laws and also other restrictions on investments in various sectors, you have let down the farmers with the antiquated land laws like ceiling laws, tenancy laws and other laws that had made the average farmers, owning less than one acre per capita.
The future of agriculture depends heavily upon new investments in agriculture.
New investments would come in agriculture only if you make agriculture sector profitable. Now debt and suicide deaths are the character of the agriculture sector. No one has said about these issues.
The PM in his campaign speeches in Vidarbha pointed out how the region was neglected by the UPA government and also the NCP-Congress combine.
The PM promised he would stop the farmers’ suicides if he was voted to power in the state.
The voters did please Mr.Modi by giving him such a clear verdict. Now, we ask Mr.Modi: Please do something fundamental that could make Indian agriculture a strong productive, sustainable sector.
Towards this end we suggest these following radical measures: Please relax the land laws, relax the ceiling act, relax the tenancy terms so that new investors, new generation young farmers, new entrepreneurial-minded investors would come forward to invest in new agricultural technologies, new seeds, new biotech-based agriculture and also new high-value, high-tech farming could be brought to India.
See agriculture in Japan for instance. So too in other advanced countries. In Netherlands and Belgium. This magazine in its 25th years had published a great deal of new information in agriculture.
Our agriculture portal, www.agricutureinformtation.com, is perhaps the world’s largest agricultural portal.
By the way, agriculture is always talked about, by the ICAR and government bodies, as a science-driven activity. We say there is the sociology of agriculture. So many stake-holders are engaged in agriculture.
Besides the universities and agri depts, there are a chain of others, from agriculture owners to agri labour and also other village traditional professions who are always dependent upon big households for their traditional professions to survive.
This side of the agriculture is totally ignored and even blacked out. Let us recognise the farmers who live in the villages are the real heroes. Let us reach them, listen to them, their suggestions for how to revive lives in rural areas.