And for a Friday when Capital city of Delhi is under siege, some thoughts….. some musings…..
I am a great supporter of Indian Agriculture and the Farming community. They toil under the most unpredictable conditions. Indian farmers are innovative, hard working and most Entrepreneurial. However, what’s happening in Delhi is not about the poor marginal Indian Farmer. The people holding the Capital belong to India’s less than 6% of farmers who have 100% assured irrigation and feel threatened by reforms. These Rich farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, get subsidised inputs, free irrigation and electricity. They grow water guzzling rice, overdose with subsidised Urea, harm the soil, lower water table and burn stubble after harvest, causing Air pollution. These protesters are manipulated and funded by, the middlemen (Arthiyas) and the political honchos of parties in these states. Middlemen and brokers have greatly benefited by the existing Guaranteed procurement prices (MSP) and fat commissions paid by FCI. More than 2000 crores are made by these Arthiyas. The extent and hold of these honchos can be seen by them even soliciting the Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau sympathising with the Sikh farmers whilst officially Canada vehemently opposes India’s Agri subsidy programme in every World forum. Almost 94% farmers from rest of India do not benefit from the MSP system and monopoly procurement. States don’t have the will or wherewithal. Actually I believe Indian Agriculture will be greatly revolutionalised by the three major Agri reforms recently introduced.
Most urbanites and policy makers do not understand Indian Agriculture complexities. The clutches and bondages the Indian farmer is subjected to, which the three new laws set to liberate.
- Essential Commodities Act – a 1955 archaic law suited for the times when India suffered from acute food shortage. Totally irrelevant today when our problem is overproduction of Rice and wheat. Now the new reforms gives incentives to cold storage, alternate crops and farmers have no stocking limits. Can keep farm Produce without being harassed by corrupt Babus.
- APMC Amendment means farmers can sell their produce to any market of their choice. Presently they must sell to only designated APMC which is controlled by the corrupt local politicians.
- Contract Farming which will help small and marginal farmers to form Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) and enter into forward contracts with food processors and Supermarkets, minimise farming risks and make assured profits. It’s a win-win situation which will revolutionise Rural India.
Indian Agriculture will be the next big mover and shaker. But we need Political consensus from all right thinking Indians in all parties. The 1991 Liberalisation of Indian Industry will be overshadowed by these Agri Reforms if fully and properly implemented and managed. Let us all support the growth of Indian Agriculture the equitable way, the technological way, the SEEGOS way.