Waiving the outstanding loans of the farmer is trumpeted as a great achievement in India by the politicians. Is it really a “gift” to the distressed farmers as politicians and parties call it? In this mass deception, the leftist parties- communists of all shades, socialists of varying degree, Congresses of more than a dozen distinct descriptions, Janata Dals of secular brands, regional outfits thriving on exploitation of sub-nationalities and their allies under differently registered names claim to be the “first” to fight for the farmers interests. This is in the 72nd year of India’s independence.
So, in the past 71 years, all that could be done for the ‘poor’ farmers had been only this much!
Should the enlightened communists and socialists and social justice champions be proud of it?
They can’t blame the Crown government for it!
The new head wearing the crown lies on their shoulders. They are the new monarchs of the country and they have kept the real farmers in debt, chains and darkness.
The wearers of the new crown call themselves farmers for two reasons essentially: (1) to acquire farm land at throwaway price or illegal allotment or encroachmentand, (2)to convert the proceeds of bribe, crime or drugs etc. into good money without paying any income tax for it is declared as agricultural income. They borrow heavily from commercial and co-operative banks for agriculture and never pay back.
They put pressure on the government to wave the principal along with interest in the name of the ‘poor farmers’ and reap benefit for themselves.
Millions of bogus farmers floated by them get additional free funds for them. After all, they are the new “sovereigns” of the country.
These parties have been dishonest and insincere to the farmers keeping them tightly in poverty, indebtedness and distress.
Is it not enslavement? Is it not bondage?
Is that all they could have done for the farmers?
Is waiver of loan enough relief to the distressed farmers who will again be in trouble for the same reasons they had ended up in default in servicing the loan.
These questions demand serious response.
Farm distress is no disease but a mere “condition”, but one curable.
First of all, farming should command the same, if not more, respect as industry or salaried jobs.
For reasons social, economic and political largely, farming has been relegated to the lowest status in the last millennium when invaders reduced the farmers to unpaid labourers.
The term used for it was “Begar” (prohibited under the Constitution of India, Article 23 and made punishable). Shockingly, invaders easily recruited soldiers locally from farmers by promising to pay salary.
The history of the last millennium for India is a painful account of exploitation, atrocities and subjugation of the farmers! Unfortunately, the ugly practice has continued in independent India too. Still worse, it is sought to be continued for as long as it can be by ill-conceived measures like waving the loans of the farmers.
India started with a solemn promise to distribute equitably all means of production and income. It was the vision of the government of new India that it would be ensured that control on means of production, wealth and national assets would not go into the hands of a select few. Improvement of agriculture, irrigation and land reforms were promised. It is because of such policies that India became a food grains exporter from an importer soon. Still, necessary investment in agriculture has suffered discrimination. Largely due to loot by the politicians referred above, but also for vote bank politics.
It is easy to fool the poor than the well fed.
For any political party to win any election, from a village Panchayat to parliament election, the farmers play the decisive role. No person can hope to become the Prime Minister of India or Chief Minister of a state without winning the farmers’ vote.
If the farmers are freed from the distress of loans, they will take to leadership rather than continuing as followers of the leaders or parties that promise to waive their loans!
The political parties learnt their lessons the hard way when they were charged for “criminalisation of politics”.
It is the misfortune of democracy that criminals are needed for fighting elections. In the beginning, they helped the leader but became sagacious after watching him for a few years and entered politics. After all, it was their influence on the voters which brought success to the leaders which they decided to use for their own victory.
That meant small loss of a few constituencies, but the farmers mean 80% constituencies. Waiving farm loans is lollypop for five years of power with prospects of another term and possibly another term. Democracy in India is sought to be converted in to dynasticism with all the trappings of the old feudal tradition of the royals.
So, the dynasts “give” “gift” or simply “do” for the voters favours but quietly keep them in perpetual bondage.
The remedy though demands review and reform of farm economics.
The cost of inputs must be recovered along with remunerative prices for the farmer at the same rate of return as applied to industry.
Farming too should be treated as industry and provided funds from commercial banks.
In fact, it is a critical industry in comparison to all other industries. Everybody can’t take to farming as everybody can’t start an industry. But the state must realize the value of farming – a hazardous self-employment venture comparable to any industry and the special talent required of the farming entrepreneurship etc. and ensure decent income to make the venture lucrative enough to impart it respectability. Unfortunately, it has been treated only as a means of “livelihood”. There lies the root cause of neglect of agricultural sector of the economy. No industrial development is possible without sound agricultural base of the economy in a large country like India. No other economic growth is possible in India without robust farm sector. Nobody can promise mass employment to Crores of working population in India. Nobody can promise to bring unemployment to zero or 50% in India by any kind of industrialisation. If this economic logic is fully understood and policies are formulated accordingly, there would be no need for loan waivers in future.
Is the Indian political class prepared to treat the farmers as equals and start honest transactions with them? Meanwhile, the socialist brigades must stop making a nuisance of themselves by taking out processions, instigating mobs and thriving on the misery of the ordinary Indians. The state governments should stop calling it loan waiver. Instead they should call it restructuring or rescheduling farmers loans and allow the farmers to recover the losses themselves and turn the red to black in their books of accounts in a few years.