Editorial/17 Aug 2023
Modi Government has failed miserably on its promise of doubling the farmers income. It has failed to the level where it does not even have a data to show by how much they have fallen short of target. In addition to it, the Reporter’s Collective report has exposed that the three farm laws in 2020 were introduced by government were not meant to double farmers’ income but were actually an act of corporates to destroy farmers. The report shows Niti Aayog bypassed government’s committee that was set up to study and suggest ways to double farmers income. A BJP-friendly NRI businessman Sharad Marathe, who runs a software company and isn’t an expert on agriculture and farming sent a proposal to Niti Aayog which resulted in creation of a task force that pushed for corporatisation of agriculture as a way to double farmers’ income. The proposal should have been ideally sent to the committee but Niti Aayog acted secretly to push it on its own for a policy where farmers lease out farmland to corporate-style agribusiness companies and effectively work as their workers. It also appointed the businessman on the task force, which consulted mostly big corporations involved in agriculture commodities trade, such as the Adani Group, Patanjali, Big Basket, Mahindra Group, and ITC. The consequences were the three farm laws that government got passed in Parliament without allowing any discussion and which farmers saw as harming their interests. In one of the laws, Adani Group lobbied with the government to remove restrictions on hoarding agricultural commodities
The deceitful way in which NITI Aayog and corporates colluded with the help of BJP people should be seen as a conspiracy against farmers. Government should rather clarify and give statement on this report. It is a question of trust of the farmers because the farmers protest against the three controversial laws saw over 700 farmers dead before the laws were repealed. It’s, not only the economists, but also the government and corporates that’s failing agriculture and farmers.
The larger question is, how wisely opposition tells this to farmers especially when the next general elections are due next year in 2023 around April.