The politics of right and left has belittled the real, ground swelling issues. One such issue is AGRICULTURE. Our farmers are ignored to a level that they want to end their own lives. What’s more disturbing is the perpetual denial of every subsequent government towards this issue. They subtly try to make this a political issue which inturn results in demeaning the very credentials of the whole issue.
Leaving the political narrative aside, this article tries to shed some light on the reasons behind the indirect murders(i.e suicide) of our beloved farmers.
WHY DO THEY NEED ATTENTION?(only because they are committing suicide???? NO)
THE fundamental answer will be to feed 130 crore population. But let’s not limit our intellect, dwelling in deep gives us more optimism about this industry. Bowing down to the fact that they feed us, we must now see agriculture not merely as a cycle of sowing seeds and harvesting the final crop but also as an industry which determines a large section of our GDP(i.e 17% in 2013-14 as reported by IMF). Though we are proud of our service sector which contributes the most in our GDP but it is still far and wide in comparison to agriculture sector when it comes to giving employment.
Going through government magazine i.e KURUSHETRA one can imagine the potential of agriculture and kind of impact it has on rural economy. Survey of BRICS nation confirmed that one percent growth in agricultural sector gives employment to as much people as three percent growth in non-agricultural sector would give.
This is not just another data but it explains the primary reason behind calling agriculture as the backbone of our economy. In a country of 130 crore it is not possible for any single sector to intake all the unemployed youth. So therefore we need to push our youth towards each and every sector, if employment for all is to be ensured. From Software to Dairy Farming, we need youth in each sector. Today’s new generation moving away from agriculture is in fact creating unemployment more rapidly and of massive scale( 3 times according to BRICS survey) than that in any other sector. As agriculture gulps in more labourers and creates employment, its high time to put our focus on this sector.
Ours is a country where higher education is a far cry for almost 95% of the people( data is from government magazine KURUSHETRA). Hence many industries cannot employ anyone and everyone. Less educated ones are often belittled, Almost illiterate and illiterate ones are simply shown the door. the doors are closed everywhere in the country from private sector to government sector. These people can be easily employed in the open and all encompassing field of agriculture.
WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE DONE?
Every single student of economics knows that waiving the loans is not good economics but it’s just good politics. Loan waiver has become the modus operandi of every government. Sadly BJP State Governments are no exceptions. But let it be heard that it’s neither good economics nor good politics. And of course it is a fairly reasonable to say that because well HOW MANY TIMES WILL THE STATE WAIVE OFF THEIR LOANS?
Actually there are two “Farmer Friendly” Schemes that Need Immediate Rectification. The first one is MSP. And the Second The Extension and Effective implementation of the farm insurance policy.
MSP is this price that saves them when the price falls down to an extreme low.
Taking the example of current situation we can argue for the importance of MSP for farmers. Acknowledging the prime minister’s decision to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes the farmers remained in full support of PM Modi even though they were hit the hardest by this step. Farmers hardly have any knowledge about the effects of notebandi but it was the trust on PM MODI that they stood with him. But slowly they have started to hear through grapevines about the plight of their own community. Its not just political rumors but it also has some genuine underlying challenges which needs to be addressed by both centre and state. Demonetisation has turned out to be demons for the farmers.
The business slowed down which in turn made farmers sell their products at low rates. Dalhan which comprises of various crops of the Pulses Family are being sold at less than half the average price. One sack full of such crop was previously sold at an average price between RS 5500 to 6500, but now it reduced to astonishing RS 2300-2500.
GST is poised to improve the situation a bit but only after the protests of traders are over. Hence isn’t the MSP best option as of now?
We do have MSPs but not on all crops. This is a stupid law. Sample this, to get the benefit f MSP, if a Farmer sows his farm with crop eligible for MSP but his farm soil unfit for the crop.The amount of loss will not just be monetary but a loss in quality too. This bizzare and unscientific logic to give MSP only on certain kind of crops makes no sense. Hence PM Modi must ensure that MSP is being given not only on handful crops but on all crops. This step will not only be judged as good economics, it will also be great politics. Further it will reinstate his position in hearts and minds of farmers.
Similar to the MSP, another potentially game changing step of PRADHAN MANTRI FASAL BIMA YOJANA is at present being implemented in not more than 13 states. This needs
to be implemented in all states and districts. SC in its judgement remarked beautifully and told TN government that state government must ensure the success of schemes such as PMFBY. This remark also raises many eyebrows in the opposition parties as to how it is not being implemented in letter and spirit even in the existing 13 states. Still why I say this to be a game changer is because of the relief it has given in some districts where it has been implemented. For example centre has almost disbursed 172 crore to 89000 farmers in Dharwad district(28th June THE HINDU news).
This step helped develop a sense of hope and pride in our farmers. The onus of its implementation largely lies in the hands of state governments. Therefore they need to buck up and make this YOJANA a success on ground.
This Country needs fully equipped storage system in almost each and every district of our country. What we saw under UPA government was lack of storage space which in turn played a catalytic role in rotting of rice purchased by the then government. It was finally disbursed at price as low as RS 1 per Kg to manufacture alcoholic drinks. This emotional topic (at least for farmers) was raised by now PM Modi in his election campaign.
The storage system needs to be fixed as soon as possible as Lack of storage is also one of the prime reasons that government doesn’t buy the harvested products of farmers.
THE IDEA OF JAI JAWAN JAI KISAAN MUST PREVAIL IN OUR SOCIETY.