What are the broader requirements and consideration?
The farmers of Punjab, as we write are on a war path. It is an unusual agitation, an agitation very unprecedented in independent India, India had never seen such a massive show of protest that had prolonged for more than 45 days, almost one and half month long. And with such determination on the part of the brave farmers who had withstood again is an unprecedented scenario, hostile weather and so many other discomforts have led to a war of nerves, What is again unusual is the determination of the show of the strength of the State and State power and no one seems to dare to speak out with some honest transparency. The subject of agriculture is the least interesting subject for a government, it seems.
It is so basic an industry and sector and with so much at stake. India is a self sufficient country in production and distribution of food. Food security is such a high priority and therefore expects that the government would show much concern and anxiety to come out with suitable response. But unfortunately the response of the government seems inadequate. Again, there is a very peculiar situation prevailing in the country. The world of politics is also seems to be a bit hostile for conciliatory political and social environment. This again is unfortunate.
The media, the TV channels and why even the many other sectors, the corporate world and many other lobbies are also silent for fear of the government? We are not sure. But we seem to feel that even the outside world is not friendly to the very general situation, given the grimness of the Covid-19 pandemic. The very pandemic threats to the mass of population must have given cause for much concern. We expected the government would take into account the very dangers of this pandemic must have given greater concern for the government, why even the public opinion must have given the government some extra push for worry and moved fast to solve the farmers’ miseries. But no the scenario seems to be becoming more and more complex every passing day. But none of these considerations seems to matter.
Now, the subject of agriculture is what matters for us, an agri media outfit. For us for the past quarter of a century agriculture seems to be the top priority. Indian agriculture is a very low priority, it seems in the Indian scheme of things. India is still a poor country when, say we compare with China for example. China is at least 15 years behind India in many development parameters. The easy majority of the pro people in the world live in India.
INDIA IS ALSO A DEMOCRACY. THAT IS A BRIGHT PATCH.
And as to the current scenario in India is that our agriculture is not doing badly. This again has to be seen in the context of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP seem to be contributing mostly for the surplus production of the two major grains, wheat and paddy. This year again, there is good news that agriculture is going strong, there is news the kharif crop acreage is more than last year. And other crops, from pulses to sugarcane to cotton are all on the growth curve.
Again we have to turn to Punjab here for the obvious reason that the State still dominates in many other aspects, more midis, more procurement centres, the Khanna Mandi one is vast, some 50 acre spread out and 200 arthiyas who have been playing such crucial roles as small-time bankers for the farmers in times of need and otherwise in many ways.
Punjab farmers are sturdy ice and there is a lot tolerant from them as professional farmers. Yes, they have earned in crores and this is not every Punjabi farmers.
One more reality of rural India, not just in Punjab alone but in every State, there is inequality and why even much inequity in every rural society. Simply because Punjabi farmers on average earn in crores we have to limit their incomes. No! This can’t be done and this is not needed.
Land owning is always a problem. Every village would have only one or two big farmers, other could own only a few acres. But rural reality is such that we have to see that the lowest category of farmers also enjoy social security and many other social benefits from any modern government welfare State is the common goal and this is fairly getting realised.
In Punjab agriculture is so advanced. The for every per square kilometre of agricultural farming there are 34 tubewells. And so the new technologies also have given rise to new challenges The Prime Minister’s silence is rather intriguing.
All we want to say here is this:
We have to see farmers are the one group that have contributed to the creation of Indian self sufficiency in food production. India is the number one exporter in rice, the most preferred crop in the world, next to wheat. Now traditional food producing countries like Vietnam is importing rice from India! Even Thailand too seem only next India in rice exports.
Also India seems to be back again in growing surplus own sorts in sugarcane production. At the all India level sugarcane production in India is rising. So too other crops from pulses to other exportable crops. We have to look at the farm issues in a long-term point of view. Indian farmers have toiled hard, with not great farm subsidies(compared with the US and EU countries farm subsidies).
So we would request the government authorities to hold on for some time. From the current three laws that seem to have generated so much bitterness and harshness. Nothing would be lost if we defer the implementation of the laws for some more time.
Let us hope wisdom dawns on every section to reach a peaceful solution of the current tensions and a positive environment. There are other more pressing issues like the deadly Covid 19 that had weakened the nerves of the common man.