“Lack of Faith,” says Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Farm Laws, Stopped Talks

Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee spoke to NDTV about the farm laws and the Covid pandemic


  • Mr Banerjee advised the center to temporarily repeal the farm laws
  • “A pandemic is not a good time to make this conversation,” he said
  • Numerous negotiations between peasants and government failed

New Delhi:

The coronavirus pandemic is not a good time to talk about farm laws, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee told NDTV on Monday evening as he highlighted a “deep lack of trust” between farmers and the center as one of the reasons for the interruption of talks.

Mr Banerjee advised the center to temporarily restore farm laws until the economy shows signs of recovery and more “parliamentary discussion” could be held – especially with farmers who fear the new laws will leave them under the power of corporate interests.

“I would say the pandemic is not a good time to have this conversation (about farm laws). The economy has declined. People don’t know what will happen to agricultural prices … whether in the world in the coming years, or especially in “India. It makes sense that the economy is falling for free. All these macroeconomic concerns are resurfacing to the insecurity of people,” he said.

Asked why talks between the farmers and center have so far failed (with the center unwilling to accept the farmers ’demand to withdraw the laws), Professor Banerjee listed two reasons.

“One part of the problem is that the government’s proposal is not fully explained. Farmers think of a scenario in which one or more companies hold them as a ransom. Whether or not that happens, anyone guesses … but the proposal need details on how the government will handle such contingencies.Will they promise to intervene in any situations? ”Professor Banerjee said.

“The other part is more serious. Overall, I think there’s a deep lack of faith and that’s still being expressed. It doesn’t think, ‘Well, the government will finally make it good for us,'” he said. Said, adding, “And that is not irrational. “

Professor Banerjee pointed to the confrontation between center and states over the payment of GST compensation, and said the center’s attempt to “abruptly cancel” its compensation duties did not help.

He also told NDTV that due to the state of the economy due to the Covid pandemic, the center must consider temporarily withdrawing the laws.

“People feel insecure … and with a deficit crop and a demand deficit, this may be a good time for the government to say, ‘We hear you. We don’t agree, but we hear you and we will withdraw this. Until we have a parliamentary discussion ‘, “he said.

Thousands of angry peasants protest against the farm laws; on Monday the protests entered a 19th straight day, with farmers holding a hunger strike and agitating outside district offices across India. Last week the peasants held a “Bharat bandh” and hundreds remained encamped around Delhi.

Numerous negotiations failed. Farmers are not convinced by the center’s many (certain) assurances that MSPs and government grain purchases will continue and want the laws to be repealed.

The center says it will only modify problematic sections, and has accused the opposition and separatist elements of disguising farmers as an engineer of the protests.