The great R. K. Laxman, in one of his cartoons, communicated the plight of Indian farmers very strongly and showed where farmer was standing (aside) in the agriculture policy. Things have not changed since then and farmer is still being made to stand (aside). One thing found common in so many conferences related to agriculture is that they never discuss farmer and never discuss what is not being given to farmers. Only thing that is discussed is – how industry can make profits out of farmer and agriculture.
Things haven’t changed for farmers but time has changed. Farmers made this Union Budget for 2017-18 a historic one, for the fact that Jai Kisan Andolan and other farmer organizations organized a ‘Kisan Sansad’ at Jantar Mantar and presented their own farmers budget parallel to Union Budget 2017-18. It was a symbolic exercise but an important one in democracy. It sent a message that farmers have started feeling ignored by governments and there is a need for separate Agri Budget. If taken, it will be a good step as the agriculture sector employs almost 55 percent of India’s population. Person who feeds us can’t be left to die.
With this budget, government has attempted to craft a pro farmer image for itself. It has announced big schemes for agriculture and allied sectors and increased funding for rural and agriculture sector by 24 percent for the fiscal budget 2017-18. This has brought farmer for a while, at least for this fiscal, at the centre stage. As the year progresses, the policies will be set in motion and we hope that there is a result, a smile on farmer’s face. Government must seize the opportunity and respond to farmers by announcing a separate Agri Budget from next year.
From this month, we have launched our Hindi edition. Enjoy it, pass it further, it must reach every farmer.
If you ate today, thank a farmer !