INDIA

Repeating Farm Laws Is A Huge Setback

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Repeating Farm Laws Is A Huge Setback

Ashok Desai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday extended greetings and best wishes to the Sikh brothers. The Guru Granth Sahib was placed at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib in Amritsar by Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, on this day in 1,604 AD. The Guru Granth Sahib contains hymns written by the first four Gurus of the Sikhs. The Prime Minister chose this day to give an important message to the countrymen. The core of this message was that the Prime Minister announced the withdrawal of the three agricultural laws that the government had implemented 14 months ago. This became big news. This happened because Narendra Modi rarely backs down on anything.

government initiatives in agriculture

The address in which the Prime Minister announced the withdrawal of these laws was a long message. In a small part of the same, he spoke of withdrawing these laws. Elections are going to be held in five states in a few months. So it was the right opportunity to tell about the achievements of the government and Modi did not miss it. He said that the government has promoted micro-irrigation, soil health cards and neem coated urea. Micro-irrigation is a technique in which a small amount of water reaches the root of the plant directly. India is hoping to learn this from Israel. With the help of information that farmers get from Soil Health Cards, they can make better use of fertilizers. On the other hand, if neem coated urea is applied gradually in the field, the plants get more benefits. These are all good ideas, but the extent to which they have been implemented is not known.

The government has provided compensation to the farmers under the crop insurance scheme. It is believed that farmers have got Rs 1 lakh crore under this scheme. This amount is 40th of the amount produced in the country in a year. Was this amount enough? Did the amount given under the crop insurance scheme reach the affected farmers? Maybe, later we will get answers to these questions. The Prime Minister also reminded that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) has been increased. In fact, after the Second World War, it has been increased by the British, later the Congress governments and the governments of all political parties. So will Modi want to share the credit with the governments of Nehru, Rao and Manmohan Singh?

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Those 3 farming laws on which farmers were adamant, the matter was not made, this is the process of withdrawing the law

Thousands of mandis have been converted into e-mandis. That is, there are computers, with the help of which people can buy or sell agricultural produce. Of those who buy and sell grain through them, how many are farmers, how many traders and how many speculators? Which crops are being traded more in e-mandis? How much trade is done in the months after the harvest and how much in the following months? It would be nice if these awkward questions were not asked. Even so, no one has the answer to them. Modi also said that his government had brought agriculture legislation in the interest of farmers. But is good intention enough in such cases?

Of the three laws that have been said to be repealed, the first law would have given farmers the right to sell their produce anywhere. The farmer is not forced to sell food grains only in the government mandis. The second law would have allowed them to enter into an agreement to sell the crop before it is ready. Usually such agreements are made at the time of sowing of the crop. In the third law, the right of the government to fix the stock limit of any produce was abolished. That is, the thinking behind these laws was clear. From the 1940s to the 1960s, there was a shortage of food grains in the country. So the farmers were forced to sell food grains directly to the government. In these too, there was a special emphasis on wheat and paddy, but due to this the private trade of grains decreased.

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The BJP government wanted to promote this private business. The thinking behind this would have been that if private trade would increase and it would be integrated, then the price of grain would be decided according to the market. People associated with that market will increase or decrease the stock of any grain by anticipating the prices in future. This is how the Chicago Market in the US works, which is the largest commodity market in the world. This market is connected to other major markets through the Internet. The government wanted to create such a modern market in India.

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long planning needed

Whether it was a good idea or not, let it be, but many farmers, especially North Indian farmers did not like it. They are used to selling food grains to the government. They believe that due to the government controlling this market, the price of food grains remains high, which is in favor of the farmers. The farmers are largely right in this respect. The government has prepared a stock of crores of tonnes of food grains, so food grains are expensive. You can also understand this in such a way that the prices of most of the grains in India are higher than the international market. Farmers like this.

It is also true that the country has more food grains than it needs. There is a need to include such products in our farming, which can be exported. This will happen only when the government’s control over the price of food grains is over. Let the market decide their price. But this will require separate farmers. Farmers who are prosperous, educated and have entrepreneurship. This cannot happen overnight. For this, a long-term conscious plan will have to be made, for which the government is not ready.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.


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