The Modi govt’s Farm Bills represent the Electoral Bond moment for the Indian Agriculture!

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By Nalini Ranjan Mohanty, New Delhi

The Modi government had institutionalised crony capitalism in 2017 by ushering in the Electoral Bonds in the garb of a poll funding reform measure. The ruling BJP could spend an estimated Rs 30,000 crore in the last General Election thanks to this sleigh of hand.

The current Farm Bills — which face the Rajya sabha test today — are also being touted as a great reform initiative for the Indian Agriculture. But look behind the glib talk of Prime Minister Modi: the Union Government has ensured that the crony capitalists will be able to seamlessly invade the rural agricultural space, unimpeded by the state governments.

Here is the clever game the Government is playing: It says that while the private players will have the free play to enter into contracts with the individual farmers about the price of the agricultural produce, the MSPs will still be there as an option for the farmers to sell their paddy\rice to the government agencies.

But the Government does not say where will the farmers have to carry their produce for the interface with the government agencies once the APMC Act is scrapped and regional mandis are dismantled?

Will it be viable for the small farmer to carry his produce, using his own transport to a distant place — possibly hundreds of miles away — to get the minimum support price guaranteed by the Government (will that be economical, is the question) or will he be constrained to give his produce away to capitalist farms knocking at his door offering him a much lower price than the MSP?

It would have been a win-win situation for the farmer had the Government set the ground rule: that the MSP has to be the floor price and the capitalist farms could compete with each other to give the farmer a better deal.

That would have been a real pro-farmer step; that would have opened up a new era of certainty for the small farmers. But what the Government seeks to do through these bills? Without specifying a minimum price, It leaves the poor farmer virtually with a Hobson’s choice: it is a cruel choice to make when you are left to decide you want to fall a prey to which of the capitalist wolves snapping at your feet!

By introducing the Electoral Bonds, the Modi Government had mortgaged the nation’s Electoral Process to the Big Business three years ago. Through the current farm bills, it is seeking to do the same to the Indian Agriculture.

Do you agree?

There are many symptoms before any major disaster. These are those symptoms. They have already done lot of damage and shall certainly do bigger damage before the public uprising. Remember, hunger is bigger issue compared to religious card. I am hopeful that all these people shall be held accountable not in very distant future. Let’s hope that the day of judgement comes sooner. Both torture and patience have limits.

This is going to have a disastrous effect on the poor farmer – the marginalised. How can such an anti people measure pass through? There’s enough damage to the MSMEs due to badly implemented GST. Now agricultural sector and we are primarily an agricultural country.

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