Government of India has introduced farmer’s reforms. The intention is to double the income of farmers by 2022. Over 70% of the population is involved in farming however the income is very less. Due to less income, families of farmers are unable to progress. To resolve the issue, India had introduced AFMC so to allow the farmers to sell their products in Mandis. This was done so to remove the middleman from the process.
However, it became hurdle in it’s own as the farmers could were barred to sell their products outside Mandis and had to sell their corps in Mandi only. This has further allowed the condition of famers to deteriorate. To overcome this issue, states came out with an administrative action named MSP i.e. Minimum Support Plan. State could fix the MSP for respective products in their states. Aim to bring MSP was to provide minimum price for a product to the farmers.
In these years, even MSP couldn’t solve the issue. States with good infrastructure availed the MSP while the others couldn’t, resulting in gross difference in the income. Example given: Farmers of Punjab/Haryana could earn Rs 2500-3000 for wheat while it is only Rs 1200-1400 for Bihar/UP. To stop this inequality, Government has introduced farm reforms which has allowed farmers to sell their products outside Mandi as well. This reform will help the farmers to sell their products at a place of higher rates.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana are protesting against it as they feel that the reform is unjust for them as it is taking away their MSP. However, farmers from around the country have not came in support of these protestors because prima-facie, the reform looks good and beneficial for them. Farmers who had to rely on Mandis for their products to sell can deal on their own in both national and international market. Moreover, the Mandis are still existing and functional for those who are willing to sell their products there. This way, Government has not taken away anything but have rather introduced a new channel to support the farmers.
Farmer protests look more like a region issue rather than a pan India issue and the reasons are very obvious. At a time, when farmers couldn’t think for their betterment and any progressive manner to increase their income, there is a Government which is trying to help in a big way.
Farmers of Punjab and Haryana are also Indian farmers and it is good to see a fruitful dialogue between them and the Government of India. Hopefully, the dialogue become fruitful and get satisfaction among the farmers. However, Government must not accept any such demand which may let farmers from other states to come to Delhi and protest. Any law formulated by the government goes through a lot of scrutiny, and laws should not be moulded merely because there is a protest. For any new thing, there is a protest from a section of community or another. A strong Government is one which deals with such protests logically and patiently. Government must also use social media and other mode to communicate with the people of the nation because in an era of digitalisation, perception plays a vital role.
With India excelling in ease of doing business, many MNCs will start investing in agriculture sector. Policies of the nation should be in such a way that it promotes not only socialist nature of the farmers but also satisfies the expectations of capitalist mindset of the companies. India is a developing nation, and to become a developed nation, it has to allow the investors to invest more in each and every sector including agriculture.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com