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jaipur, rajasthan, India
retired Army Colonel

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Indian Farmer & his hope

Largely, agriculture in India, besides being an unorganised business sector is acutely capital-dry reducing farmers to zero sustenance. They, have no power to hold on to their produce even for a day and are heavily pressed against debt servicing. The distribution system is ruled by the middlemen who have the money power to control the rates leaving farmers high and dry. The case is no different than artisans starving and retailers making huge money. In an open market economy, the Capital controls the MRPs tactically, nullifying the strategic factor of demand and supply, which has slow and indirect effect. That explains flourishing Aadti (wholesale trader in Mandi) and starving farmer. We are not talking exceptions but generally speaking. Undoubtedly, world wide there is subsidy on agriculture because of various socio-political reasons and rightly so, but that is only to keep the system healthy and not as ventilators, what we witness in India.
 Since, farmers are poor, debt ridden and have no control over retail pricing suffer the most, to the extent of suicides and wildest of protests as we witnessed at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, or in Mandsaur(MP) or Maharashtra. It's now spreading like a wild fire despite a happy harvesting this year.
Subsidies, loan wavers are not the answers and these would be rather injurious to our national economy. Such measures are for compassionate healing and can be administered as immediate painkillers but not the remedy to the ailment.
Indian agriculture has to turn into a Corporate Business House, to become financially viable. That would necessarily require a structural changes in rules related to Revenue deptt, land holdings, land reforms, irrigation network, seed research and trade, taxation etc. More importantly, the need is of socio-economic transformation of farmers from land lords to businessmen/working hands.
Unless, we attempt to juxtapose socialism(public sector) or cooperative farming and refuse to learn from the world experience, the answer lies in turning farming into large  corporates. That will allow the satellite agro market and industry to flourish, generating employment and prosperity in rural areas, besides retarding human migration to urban areas. These have far reaching advantages.
Firing guns on Protesting farmers, politicising it for quest of power, blowing the wind for media TRP are criminal offences if argued by any jurisprudence.

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