September 23, 2020 3:18:12 am
One doesn’t actually know the place to start speaking concerning the three disastrous farm payments, which the central authorities is touting as a watershed second for India’s agriculture sector however that are blatantly crafted to fill the pockets of capitalist cronies of the BJP at the price of the poor farmers.
Frankly, the whole lot about these three agriculture payments that the BJP-led NDA authorities has just about railroaded via Parliament is fallacious. From the best way the unique ordinances had been launched within the midst of the pandemic, to the style by which they’ve been pressured via the Parliament now, nothing explains the mad rush with which the federal government of India has pushed the payments via. They by no means bothered to seek the advice of any of the foremost stakeholders earlier than bringing the ordinances — they didn’t speak to the farmers’ representatives, they didn’t speak to my authorities which represents a very powerful state in India’s meals safety chain, though agriculture is constitutionally mandated to be a state topic, and they didn’t trouble to listen to out the Opposition in Parliament.
The one purpose for these sly, undemocratic and anti-federal actions on the a part of the central authorities, as far I can see, is that these payments cover greater than they reveal. They provide the poor small and marginal farmers of India (constituting over 85 per cent of India’s farmers) no assurance of safety of their pursuits, their livelihoods, and their future. They make no point out in any way of the Minimal Help Value (MSP) regime, which is the lifeline of those poor farmers and their key to survival, as additionally the survival of the nation’s agriculture sector.
I’m instructed the ordinances have simplified the names of the present Acts. If that’s meant to make the farmers joyful, then I can solely lament the whole lack of expertise of their considerations, which is clearly mirrored within the farm payments too. Frankly, the farmers have all the time solely understood one nomenclature so far as their produce goes, and that’s MSP.
So the place is MSP in these ordinances/payments? Truly nowhere. In all these reams and reams of pages, the central authorities didn’t deem it match to even as soon as come out with a categorical assurance that the MSP is not going to be tinkered with, as we within the Congress did in our manifesto. If solely the policymakers within the authorities of India had said in black and white that the MSP shall be relevant to the personal gamers too, and that farmers will get an assured MSP not simply on wheat and rice however all different crops in order that they’re inspired to diversify (a essential want of the hour), the farming group might need reacted a bit of extra kindly to those ill-conceived and devastating new farm legal guidelines.
As an alternative, what these legal guidelines will do is to throw the small farmers to the massive sharks, the place market forces will management the pricing, procurement and advertising and marketing mechanism, and these helpless farmers shall be left operating from one retailer/dealer to a different to promote their little produce season after season, with no bargaining energy to demand or get the value they deserve. The monetary safety for which they’re presently depending on the present advertising and marketing system will grow to be a factor of the previous, and the promise of a shiny future will disappear simply because the one on doubling of their farm incomes by 2022 receded way back into the recesses of their distant reminiscence.
The Centre has claimed that these new legal guidelines will free the farmers from the monopolistic clutches of the intermediaries (arhtiyas). There are two factors I wish to make right here. First, did they even as soon as ask the farmers in the event that they needed to be free of these arhtiyas, whom BJP’s personal chief, late Sushma Swaraj, had as soon as described as essentially the most trusted and largest help system for farmers? And second, how will such laws forestall the farmers from falling into the clutches of the monopolistic huge corporates, who’ve progressively been taking on one sector after one other beneath the benign eye of the BJP management?
The payments are completely silent on these counts, simply as they’re on MSP. The verbal assurances being made by BJP leaders don’t depend as their monitor document in fulfilling guarantees is abysmal. Apparently, even their very own ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), doesn’t consider in these verbal statements, or so that they declare (although the Akalis’ double-speak on this subject has completely uncovered their lack of sincerity for the farmers). As for Sushma’s remarks, the BJP is justifying its shameless deviation from its earlier said stand on the grounds that farmers now have Jan Dhan and financial institution accounts. As if these are sufficient to assist them out in an emergency!
Naturally, the farmers of Punjab are indignant and upset with the BJP and its allies, together with SAD, and don’t have any confidence of their verbal assurances. The well-established system by which Punjab’s farmers have operated all these a long time has labored superbly, with the state authorities addressing their considerations as and when required. Only recently, my authorities made mandatory amendments within the Punjab APMC Act to offer for organising of regulated mandis even within the priFarm payments protests, parliament monsoon session, opposition on farm payments, opposition on centre, opposition on centre insurance policies, farm payments protests, parliament monsoon session newest updates, farm payments newest information, indian categorical newsvate sector for particular produce, thus making certain that the personal markets don’t overwhelm the present, tried and examined procurement and advertising and marketing processes. We realised that the personal sector mandis couldn’t be given a free run of the farm sector, as that may spell the demise knell for the small and marginal farmers, in flip ruining India’s agriculture and its meals safety, which is what the federal government of India will find yourself doing with its ill-conceived laws.
However does the ability hungry and grasping BJP-led authorities care? Evidently, it doesn’t, neither for the farmers, who’re out on the roads, nor for the views of the elected representatives in Parliament or of the states who would be the worst affected by these arbitrary and ill-intentioned adjustments. And it positively doesn’t care about Punjab, the small border state whose contribution to the nation’s safety, via its meals godowns and on the borders, is exemplary. I’ve warned the central authorities repeatedly that if there may be farmer unrest on this subject, Pakistan will attempt to make the most of the identical to foment additional hassle in my state, which is able to do no good to the nation’s safety both. However, fairly clearly, they merely don’t care.
The author is Chief Minister of Punjab
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