Submit :
News                      Photos                     Just In                     Debate Topic                     Latest News                    Articles                    Local News                    Blog Posts                     Pictures                    Reviews                    Recipes                    
  
What exactly went wrong which made India's agriculture sector to suffer?
The two articles titled, 'Here's why Indian farmers are committing suicide' and 'Why farming in India is no more an attractive profession to opt' published here on merinews.com were purely based upon farmers' feedback instead of opinions from economists or agricultural experts.
The feedback I got on their pathetic condition, if compiled will lead to a voluminous edition on the plight of Indian farmers and agrarian sector. In this article, I will try to detail how the nation has wrongly cornered farm sector and the farmers.

Before that let's be very clear that the terms villagers, farmers and poor are synonyms. Farmers generally live in village. No farmer lives in city and does farming at country side. Thus 95 per cent villagers are farmers (farm land owner, the marginalised farmer who cultivates on others' lands and farm labourers). Thus there is no difference between farmers and villagers.

Technically villagers are poor. The urban poor concept came after India started economic liberalization in 1990 when large scale villagers started migrating to urban centers and cities for earning livelihood by becoming the part of the industrialisation of the country. City dwellers are always considered as advance whereas villagers are considered as backwards.

Mahatma Gandhi understood the above concept that villagers, farmers and poor are synonymous. As 80 per cent of the population belongs to villages, Gandhi had the opinion that India can never be a proper developed nation, unless the villages' problems are addressed. That's why he always advocated for Gram Swaraj citing that villages should be units of the polity. He wanted that the democracy should work in such a way so that the decisions, recommendations and powers should flow from bottom to up, instead of flowing from top to bottom.

The villages must deliberate what their issues are, how to address those issues and what could be the solution. All their aspirations must be acknowledged by the top leaders and actions, responsibilities and accountabilities should have flowed from top to bottom. If top starts imposing policies on bottom (read villages) then it could be a dictatorship in the guise of democracy.

Nehru and Ambedkar were deeply in disagreement with Gandhiji over this point. According to the both, villagers are illiterate, prone to violence (semi-barbaric as per Karl Marx's comment in 1883), indulge in petty politics, culturally backward, narrow minded and having all sorts of devious attributes. If power and authority are given to them, then those will be misused and create national loss. (Nehru's letter on 9th October 1945 to Gandhiji in response to latter's letter on 5th October 1945 where Gandhiji alerted that if the villagers are not taken aboard in policy decisions, the nation can't be peaceful and developing as people in cities and towns can never understand the issues of villages).

Gandhiji also formally wanted a debate on it, which Nehru avoided saying that such debate should be done in independent democratic India. Panchayati Raj was insisted by Gandhiji so as to empower the villages, but Ambedkar although accepted it but kept in the unenforceable schedule. The reason Panchayati Raj finally implemented in 1995, thanks to P.V. Narasimha Rao, but because of political opportunism, no power, authority and responsibility is transferred to those PRIs.

After Gandhiji's death, the debate never happened. Under Neharuvian socialistic policy many projects and industries were made. But as villagers or farmers never consulted what would be their suggestion, agrarian sector didn't improve at all. Indira Gandhi's twenty-point program of poverty alleviation in 1975, which was restructured again in 1982 and 1986 too fail to realize that poor included farmers and villagers. In the 1975 structure it has at least rain, agriculture and irrigation as points but in subsequent re-structures the farmer and agricultural issues were omitted.

Then there was economic liberalization in 1990. No doubt that's an important period as the prosperity of Indian middle class and urban centers started sky touching. But the important mistake again occurred. Then the leaders at the top thought that industrialisation and urbanising India could be the best solution for poor in India. They forget that farmers too are poor and villagers, all of whom can be employed in industries and developmental work.

There was definitely employment generation at urban centers, but the largest employer, the farm sector got serious drubbings in this liberalisation era. People from villages started migrating to urban centers. Shortage of farm labourers and high labour rate started making condition of farmers worst.

The money power of urban centers increased in manifolds, whereas financial condition of farm sector and villages reduced significantly. Had the liberalisation also focused on improving the farm sector considering it as the largest employment generation sectors things would have been different. But then government thought GDP is most important and agriculture is the least.

There was no improvement in agrarian sector since independence up to 1990. But after 1990, the agrarian sector got serious setbacks under pressure from urban rising and this is the period from where farmer suicides started.

Had Gandhijee's suggestion been accepted, had Panchayati raj been established since 1950, had the basic education, basic health care, rural development, cultivation (at panchayat, block and district level) and other basic departments handled by three tier Panchayati Raj having power, authority, responsibility and accountability, the agrarian sector would have been different by now. This too proves how practical were Gandhiji's vision.

During his election campaign, Modi too promised different measures to save the agrarian sector. But still he hasn't come out with any solid policy or vision. It appears that he too now believe that poverty alleviation can be done in generating employment through infrastructure development. As I explained above there is no difference between villagers, poor and farmers. Thus unless there is significant improvement in agrarian sector, poverty can't be alleviated.

In conclusion I can say that it's Indian politicians and policy makers who for their whims and ego, didn't go deep into the farmer's problem, neither consulted them and simply ignored them through a cultural bias since the independence. 

Farmers who are villagers and poor, despite being the majority population (irrespective of caste, creed and religion) got a raw deal from the beginning right after the suggestion of Gandhijee is denied. Not accepting Gandhijee's suggestion by Nehru made the country's agriculture sector suffer.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
COMMENTS (1)
Guest
Name
Email Id
Verification Code
Email me on reply to my comment
Email me when other CJs comment on this article
}
Sign in to set your preference
Advertisement
merinews for RTI activists


Advertisement
Not finding what you are looking for? Search here.