Government vs. farmers: What do experts think about the new India News agricultural laws

NEW DELHI: Thousands of farmers they have been protesting for almost three weeks on the outskirts of the national capital against the three new ones farm laws adopted by the Center. Several rounds of negotiations between the government and the protesting farmers failed to break the deadlock.
The government says the new laws are part of much-needed reforms in the agricultural sector that will improve farmers’ lives in the long run. However, the government said it was ready to make changes to address the genuine concerns of farmers, but ruled out repealing the new laws.
Several experts believe that agricultural laws are a step in the right direction. However, there are many others who do not support the new laws.
“Laws are beneficial, but the Center’s failure to communicate is great”
Ashok Gulati, former member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council
Well-known agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, who was a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council from 1999-2001, says the three agricultural laws will benefit farmers. However, he believes that there has been a significant failure in communication from the Center to explain to farmers how these laws could help them. He says political parties and social activists have exploited this communication gap and launched a disinformation campaign.
Gulati feels that farmers in Punjab, who are at the center of this unrest, should diversify their production instead of protesting for MSP on wheat and rice.
He says: “In the last 50 years, Punjab farmers have been producing a lot of wheat and rice and then selling it to the government and the Food Corporation of India (FCI). Before the GST (goods and services tax) reforms, there were almost 14, 5% in taxes etc. in addition to MSP, so no processor wants to buy it from mandi in these states.After the GST reforms, taxes etc. are still at 8.5% which means that profit margins are “This makes Punjab wheat totally uncompetitive. So only the government can keep stocks.”
He also stressed that rice cultivation depletes the groundwater by up to 0.7 meters per year in central Punjab and there will be the problem of unsustainable agriculture in the state.

2:43Why wheat from Haryana and Punjab farmers is uncompetitive in the market, explains Ashok Gulati

“Convince farmers that they are misled by the opposition”
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, chronicler TOI
Commentator Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar says Modi-led government reforms are “eminently sensitive” and the government should wait for the agitators. The center should convince farmers that they are misled by the opposition, he says.
He believes that Punjab farmers have benefited greatly from public procurement of wheat and rice, but should now be encouraged to diversify into high-value fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
He blames farmers in Punjab for lowering the water table by raising water-soaked rice crops in a state of low rainfall.
Quoting Ashok Gulati, Aiyar writes: “Punjab farmers receive annual energy subsidies of Rs 8,275 and fertilizer subsidies of Rs 5,000 crore, averaging 1.22 lakh per farm. In addition, they receive subsidized loans and PM Kisan grants. at high land prices of 50-100 lakh / ac. Industries do not invest in Punjab because land is exorbitantly expensive.
“India’s average agricultural holding is only one hectare, which is why prosperity requires farmers to withdraw from agriculture in industry and services. But in Punjab one hectare is worth 1.25-2.5 million rupees! , but the agitators of the farms around them Delhi has annual lakhpatis subsidies and active in crorepatis. ”
Blog – Farmers’ agitation: use your iron fist in a velvet glove
“Reforms are needed, only the dispute is over the strategy to follow”
Andy Mukherjee, Bloomberg columnist
Andy Mukherjee, a Bloomberg columnist, agrees with the need for agricultural reforms and says the only dispute is over what strategy to follow. However, he fears “profitable corporations”.
Mukherjee writes: “No one doubts that in order for India to be hit by the low-income trap, agriculture must break out of the routine of growth below 3%. Productivity of labor, land, fertilizers and “Massive private investment needs to take place in storage and processing to increase the country’s share of global agricultural exports by 2%.”
“The dispute is over what strategy to follow. Markets or organizations? This is an old dilemma, made famous by economist Ronald Coase in 1937. Modi leans toward markets, promising to turn the entire country into a free trade area, benefiting 119 million farmers and 144 million farmers, plus their families, and a growing number see the move as an end to state institutional support, which they fear will allow profiteering corporations to benefit. hurry up in the resulting vacuum, “he says.
Andy believes the government has failed to firmly explain farmers’ laws, whose fears are not “entirely irrational”. He says: “A compromise solution would require consultations – something without suffering when the Modi government defeated the bills by a dubious vote in parliament in September. Even those who defend the reforms agree that both their intention and and the alleged benefits should have been better explained. But it’s too late for public relations. A more tangible concession will have to be made: maybe an additional law. ”
Blog – Prime Minister Modi needs another agricultural law to end the crisis: Bloomberg
“No disadvantage for the farmer, but only a significant advantage”
Arvind Panagariya, former Vice President, Niti Aayog
Arvind Panagariya, who was vice president of NITI Aayog between January 2015 and August 2017, strongly supports the new agricultural laws. He says there are no disadvantages for farmers, and the increase is “significant”.
He writes: “The purpose of the recent APMC (Agricultural Commodities Marketing Committee) laws passed by the central government is to free the farmer from APMC control and allow him to sell his products directly to the highest bidder. It can be understood that the commission agents which guaranteed revenue from APMC transactions and the state government, which collects taxes on yard sales, in particular the purchase of grain paid for by the central government and therefore by the Indian taxpayer, would be upset by the reform. and the increase is significant. ”
Accusing wealthy Punjab farmers of vested interests, he writes: “A more plausible explanation is that wealthier farmers, especially in Punjab, see an opportunity in protest to extract a legal guarantee for a minimum lucrative support price (MSP). to all sales of the Government or private agents. Most likely, this intention led them to claim that the real intention of the government behind the reform is to eventually withdraw purchases from the MSP when, in fact, there has never been such a link. ”
Strongly opposing any compromise, he says “any withdrawal of the reform is bound to encourage vested interests to rise up against other reforms.”
Blog – The return of this reform will encourage vested interests to undo all reforms
“New agricultural bills are defective”
Kaushik Basu, former chief economist of the World Bank and former CEA, GOI
Kaushik Basu, who was chief economic adviser to the Government of India from 2009 to 2012, during the second term of the United Progressive Alliance, believes the new agricultural bills are flawed.
“I have now studied India’s new agricultural bills and I realize that they are defective and will be to the detriment of farmers. Our agricultural regulations need change, but the new laws will end up serving corporate interests more than farmers. Farmers in India.” he wrote sharing his thoughts on Twitter.