The government says the new laws are part of the much-needed reforms in the agricultural sector that will improve the lives of farmers in the long run. However, the government said it was ready to make amendments to address the genuine concerns of the farmers, but ruled out repealing the new laws.
Several experts believe that the farm laws are a step in the right direction. However, there are many others who do not support the new laws.
‘Laws useful, but great communication failed by Center’
Ashok Gulati, Former member of the Economic Council of Prime Minister
Well-known agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, who was a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Council from 1999 to 2001, says the three farm laws will benefit farmers. However, he believes that great communication has failed from the Center to explain to the farmers how these laws could help them. He says political parties and social activists have exploited this communication gap and launched a misinformation campaign.
Gulati feels that the farmers of Punjab who are at the center of this agitation should diversify their production instead of protesting for MSP on wheat and rice.
He says: “Over the last 50 years, Punjabi farmers have mostly produced wheat and rice and then sold it to the government and Food Corporation of India (FCI) .Before the GST (goods and services) reforms, almost 14.5% were in tax etc in addition to MSP, so no processor wants to buy it from the mandi in these states.After the GST reforms, tax etc is still at 8.5% which means profit margins are thin and increases the intermediate cost. Punjabi wheat. completely uncompetitive. So only the government can keep the shares. ”
He also pointed out that rice cultivation lowers the groundwater level to 0.7 meters per year in central Punjab and will be the question of unsustainable agriculture in the state.
02:43Why Haryana and Punjabi wheat farmers do not compete in the market, explains Ashok Gulati
‘Convince farmers that they are misled by opposition’
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, TOI columnist
Well-known commentator Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar says Modi-led government reforms are “eminently prudent” and the government should wait for the agitators. The Center must convince the peasants that they are misled by the opposition, he says.
He thinks that the farmers of Punjab have benefited a lot from government procurement of wheat and rice, but now they should be encouraged to diversify into precious fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
He blames the Punjabi farmers for lowering the groundwater level by growing waterlogged crops like rice in low rainfall.
Quoting Ashok Gulati, Aiyar writes “Punjabi farmers receive annual power subsidies of Rs 8,275 and fertilizer subsidies of Rs 5,000, averaging 1.22 lakhs per farm. In addition, they receive subsidized credit and donations from Prime Minister Kisan. Their high farm income translates to high land resources. Rs 50-100 lakh / acre Industries do not invest in Punjab because land is too expensive.
“India’s average farmland is only one hectare, so prosperity requires farmers to move out of agriculture to industry and services. But in Punjab one hectare is worth 1.25-2.5 crore! Maybe they don’t look like it, but the agricultural agitators surrounding Delhi is lakhpatis in annual grants and crorepatis in assets. ”
Blog – Farmer: Use an iron fist in a velvet glove
‘Reforms must, only dispute is over which strategy to follow’
Andy Mukherjee, opinion columnist for Bloomberg
Bloomberg columnist Andy Mukherjee agrees on the need for agri-reforms and says the only dispute is over which strategy to follow. However, he fears the “profitable companies”.
Mukherjee writes: “No one doubts that in order for India to get out of its middle-income trap, farming must get out of its sub-3% growth routine. Productivity of labor, land, manure and water must improve. Massive private investment must take place. in storage and processing to increase the country’s share of global agricultural exports by 2%. ”
“The dispute is over which strategy to follow. Markets or organizations? That’s an old dilemma, made famous by economist Ronald Coase in 1937. Modi leans toward markets, promising to make the whole country a free trade area benefiting 119 million farmers and 144 million farmers, plus their families. A large and growing number view this move as an end to institutional state support, which they fear will allow for-profit companies to rush into the resulting vacuum, ”he says.
Andy feels the government has failed to explain the laws correctly to the farmers, whose fears are not “completely irrational”. He says: “A compromise solution would need consultation – something sadly missing when the Modi government tricked the bills with a dubious vote in parliament in September. Even those who advocate the reforms agree that both their intent and alleged benefits should be more well explained. But it’s too late for public relations. A more tangible concession will have to be made: an additional law, perhaps. ”
Blog – PM Modi needs an additional farm law to end a crisis: Bloomberg
‘No disadvantage for the farmer, only a significant disadvantage’
Arvind Panagariya, former vice president, Niti Aayog
Arvind Panagariya, who served as vice president of NITI Aayog between January 2015 and August 2017, strongly supports the new farming laws. He says for the farmers that there is no disadvantage and the advantage is “significant”.
He writes: “The purpose of the recent APMC (Agricultural Product Trade) laws enacted by the central government is to free the farmer from the stifled APMC and allow him to sell his products directly to the highest bidder. It can be understood that the commissions agents who guaranteed revenues from APMC transactions and the state government that collects taxes on the sales in the yard, especially procurement of grains paid by the central government and therefore the Indian taxpayer, would be concerned about the reform.for the farmer, no there is a disadvantage and the advantage is significant. ”
Accusing the wealthy Punjabi farmers of vested interests, he writes, “A more credible explanation is that wealthier farmers, especially from Punjab, see an opportunity in the protests to extract a legal guarantee for a profitable minimum support price (MSP) on all sales, whether to the government or private agents. Most likely, it is this intention that has led them to assert that the real intention of the government behind the reform is to finally withdraw purchases at MSP, when in fact such a link has never existed. ”
Strongly opposing any compromise, he says “Any return of the reform is likely to encourage self-interest to rise up against other reforms.”
Blog – Bringing back this reform will encourage self-interest to beat every reform
‘New farm bills are flawed’
Kaushik Basu, former chief economist of the World Bank and former CEA, GOI
Kaushik Basu, who served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India from 2009 to 2012 during the second term of the United Progressive Alliance, feels that the new farm bills are lacking.
“I have now studied India’s new farm bills and found that they are lacking and detrimental to farmers. Our agricultural regulation needs change, but the new laws will end up serving corporate interests more than farmers. Hats off to the sensitivity and moral strength of Indian farmers , ”he wrote sharing his thoughts on Twitter.
I have now studied the new bills of India and realize that they are missing and will harm farmers. Our agriculture … https://t.co/3PmhvdFXSI
– Kaushik Basu (@kaushikcbasu) 1607657642000