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Why Modi Government should focus more on farmers' issues?
Nationwide strikes and bandh calls by all sections of famers across states has put pressure on our policy makers to focus on the agricultural sector.

The latest GDP data has shown a 7.1% (y-o-y Q2 FY 18–19) decline in agricultural sector. Also, there has been a constant decline in farm sector output for many years.

In the recent past, many agitating farmers have held protest marches not only in the national capital but also in state capitals, despite threat or warnings from administration.

For example, in Orissa, thousands of farmers marched towards state capital Bhubaneswar November 2018 with the slogans in hands – Prize, Prestige & Pension. There is complete frustration among the farmers for years together over their demand to be heard.

Yes, to some extent the political bias on these agitations may not be ruled out. This may happen for scoring political mileage against the respective governments by the opposition.  But on a larger issue, are we really listening to farmers, the distress on agricultural sector, though it a very important constituent for incremental GDP growth on economy.

In Nashik, the similar situation has arrived. Farmers have held demonstrated on roads over onion prices. In other parts of Maharashtra the situation is even worse. There are serious instances of lakhs of farmers taking to the streets of Mumbai with similar kinds of demands. Madhya Pradesh also faced a similar situation. And more recently, the national capital saw a similar protest march. One thing is clearly evident, the agitation is similar across all the states. Farmers need improvement in quality of life by way of more earnings.

Even after all this, are we really concerned about the agricultural sector? Is simply increasing the MSP, as the Government of the day has done, is the solution? What is the long-term solution for farmers or the agricultural sector which is the greatest contributor to national employment?

More than 50 per cent of India's population is dependent on agriculture. It also contributes around 17-18 per cent to the country's GDP. Contribution of the agricultural sector to India's economy is much higher than the world average.

Many committees and economic surveys have been done in the past. How many have been implemented? What about Swaminathan Committee's recommendations and its implementation in all aspects? All these burning questions need detailed deliberation, discussion and implementation?

Are our parliamentarians not concerned about these ill effects of non-implementation of agricultural recommendations? As a nation, there should be detailed and fruitful discussion and debate in the Parliament over all these issues. It should be above party politics. Political mileage /advantage should stop on farm loan waivers.

As of today, competition is rife in making promises on the quantum and number of farm loan waivers as the main manifesto agenda during elections.

Widespread use of modern technology may be one way forward for increasing farm productivity. Reduction of middlemen for better pricing to the ground level farmers should also be channelized. Use of effective supply chain management with technological advancement can also be looked at on priority. Both single and multi-brand FDIs may be one way forward as step in the right direction.

Above all, we must debate and analyze the real issues of the agricultural sector for a better future for generations.

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 In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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