- Clarion call given by many farmer unions for Bharat Bandh vehemently opposing the three Agri laws passed recently evoked a less than enthusiastic response from many states. Though efforts were afoot when the opposition parties attempted at eliciting widespread support for the move, almost tepid retort conveyed the message loud and clear that the country is divided on the matter. No state could lay claim to having observed complete stalling of activities on the day. Thus, it can be safely construed that rolling back of agricultural reforms does not have extensive backing.
PC: Negi Shalini
- What the general lack of support cutting across the broader categories of farmers on the reformist Agri laws indicate states have either failing to see Minimum Support Price (MSP) munificence in the first place or where crop patterns have tended towards greater diversification and market linkages are simply not in the same boat. Delving further, note that the state that once boasted the highest per capita income, Punjab’s overdependence on public procurement of wheat and paddy has gradually made it uncompetitive.
- No wonder, this is reflected in Punjab’s decline in prosperity rankings and fearful of further decline, the protesting farmers from the region desperately want to stop change being projected via reformist laws. The farmers are suspicious of the agribusinesses which the new farm laws envisage will begin sourcing directly from farmers. The irony is not lost here if their demands are finally acceded to, it will only further diminish their future, and most importantly, of the entire country’s farming community.
PC: Adnan Abidi
- Reports suggest that out of India’s 146.5 million farm families, a mere 1.09 million are in Punjab and as is witnessed over the last few days, they are most vociferous in demanding rollback by laying siege to the national capital. Without mincing words here, the Modi government faltered in pushing these farm bills through Parliament circumventing conventional democratic routes. By deviating from embracing profound communication/dissemination of information on the issue, it allowed the opposition to gain ground. Rather than going full throttle with a deluge of information, it chose to essay a subdued role.
- As expected, the opposition senses blood to corner the ruling dispensation and this has been the bane for a long time where hypocrisy, ambiguity, and doublespeak takes center stage as parties are more comfortable accusing opponents of threatening farmers’ livelihoods than collaborating to uplift farm incomes by supporting reformist measures. On its part, the government should not compromise on MSP or the farm laws under pressure from the protesters without letting go of the option of engaging farmers in continued talks to come around.
PC: Nandini Marwah
- Any rolling back would signal that reformist efforts in India can be sabotaged by some interest group’s opposition. As we are aware, many countries support families with direct subsidies, and India has initiated nascent steps in that direction with greater momentum awaited though. Reformist moves alone would deliver growth and opportunities. On it hinges our dreams of becoming a $ 5 trillion economy as also doubling farmers’ income. Therefore, stick with the Agri laws and convince the protesting farmers about the long term benefits.