Tag Archives: farm crisis

“Farmers’ crisis”: How the Leli (gang) would respond to this

Newsroom24x7 Network

I am still not clear about the issues involved in the Farmer’s agitation. So, I asked a friend of mine, who besides engineering is a farmer from Abohar – Fazilka region of Punjab. Now, after retirement he is a full time farmer. – Francois Gautier

We are inviting the Leli (Left-Liberal) gang to join the debate on the “farmers’ crisis. To set the ball rolling, Newsroom24x7 is reproducing from social media what the farmer from Fazilka, Punjab, told Francois Gautier 👇

“I have been actively farming for almost two decades now and I have witnessed many things happen at APMC’s.

I have seen classifications of C grade grain miraculously change into B grade grain.

Similarly I have also witnessed the weigh bridge weigh in the empty truck at 39 tons and the full truck at 55 tons and later found that the unloaded truck weighed 43 tons at another weigh bridge.

Yes I know, you know what I know. Yet, let me tell you more about what you may already know.

There are over 30,000 registered adtiyas in Punjab.

These 30,000 employ another 300,000 sub agents or sidekicks or people who wouldn’t have made it into doing anything anyplace were it not for the patronage network of these 30,000.

There are only 1500 farming villages in Punjab.

330,000 / 1500 is about 220 people on average per village doing the work of middlemen.

Why is this the case?

It’s a long story but someone needs to begin talking about this at some time.

We had a food shortage and a ship to mouth existence until the 1970’s.

Norman Borlaugh pioneered a variety of wheat which gave 10 X the yield but needed 3X the fertiliser.

The Punjab was chosen as the battleground against hunger. Enterprising Sikh farmers worked hard to Create what we know as the green revolution.

Since there were huge shortages. Laws were made which didn’t allow for stockholding or selling at farm gates.

Essential Commodities Act
APMC Act (farmers were compelled to sell only at APMC’s to licensed traders – remember license permit quota Raj?)

As an assurance to the farmer for his hard work. Minimum Support Prices were guaranteed.

No matter what the quantum. Sarkar would pick it up and provide farmers with a minimum amount as compensation per quintal or ton as the case maybe.

Getting money out of the sarkari treasury is a muck filled process. Thus was born the breed of middle men who walked the corridors of bureaucracy, government and worked corrupt sarkari babus.

political patronage networks flourished.

220 : 1 is the ratio of middlemen to a single village in Punjab today.

This business got integrated backwards.

Corruption was professionalised.

For instance, I have in my circle of influence or immediate family, folks who own very large tracts of land. (100 acre plus holding).

The thekedar comes and takes the theka of growing on the land. For those unfamiliar with the word, Theka it’s also referred to as contract. I know there are grumblings about corporates contracting with farmers directly now. I also know why. You should too.

Anyways; to cut a long story short.
Plenty Farmers do, not much except receive their due at the end of each cropping season.

What is grown?
What grade or quality?
For how much is it sold?
Would it have fetched the similar price in the open market?
Where is it sold?
How is it sold?
Who’s the end beneficiary?
Does anybody consume it or does it go to waste?
Was there a better way to do what’s being done?

All the above is none of my business or yours.

As long as you receive your cheque.
Why do you care?

The Jamkhedkar committee meanwhile reports that over 40% of the grain acquired under MSP by FCI is either unfit for consumption or is simply wasted.

All Told, One out of every Two kilos acquired is wasted.

Years of perfidy have today given birth to this.

MSP has ensured that there is no necessity to seek profitable enterprise.

It’s also given birth to the patronage networks which survive off the sarkari teat and refuse to breakaway.

It’s given rise to a political class which thrives and survives of being Specialist Corrupt Thugs.

There was no sunset clause on this. Nobody foresaw a time of surplus production on food grains.

Result; all other states such as Haryana, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan & MP all produce surfeits of Grain. They also have their own MSP mechanisms which have proliferated and created similar political patronage networks.

Since more is acquired at Mandis in Punjab. Remember the central government promise. Grain from UP and or Bihar also finds its ways into the mandi system of Punjab.

The trucks being under weight and over paid for and the grades changing are common place practise, you can go for a few days to the mandi and figure out how to make a killing by doing this. I don’t advise it, this is what the system is current day. I advise, Try doing truthful clean work. It’s more fulfilling.

Soon enough, you’ll also be one of those “know it all’s” in the mandi who doesn’t talk to others. After all information is power.

All this is paid for by you dear tax payer.

The annual bill for this is approximately 8 lakh crores.

Why don’t the farmers grow something else.
Something more profitable.

If I’m being paid for doing precisely nothing.

Why bother with competing.

Where is the incentive to compete?

I would rather go and picket the roads leading into Delhi to ensure that the existing system isn’t threatened.”
Quite a racket ! What a shame.”

भारत बन्द से किसानों का भला नही होगा

ललित शास्त्री

हम सभी अपने को कृषि विशेषज्ञ, अर्थशात्री, परमज्ञानी बन तरह-तरह के सुझाव देते रहते हैं, संसद में कानून बनाते रहते हैं और किसानों के हित के लिए झंडा लेकर छत पर चढ़ चीखते रहते हैं । यह सिलसिला स्वाधीनता के बहुत पहले से चला आ रहा है। जरूरत है सभी कृषि से जुड़े मुद्दों पर समग्र दृष्टि से विचार किया जाय। इतिहास से भी सबक लेने की आवश्यकता है। यूरोप में औद्योगीकरण के आरंभिक काल मे किसानों की स्थिति और किस प्रकार लाखों-लाखों किसानों का दो विश्व युद्धों में नरसंहार हुआ। कैसे रूस में किसानों की बलि चढ़ाई गई। अमेरिका में 1930 की महामंदी और कैसे किसानों की परिस्थिति और कृषि के क्षेत्र में वहां सब कुछ बदल गया। चीन का भी उदाहरण सब के सामने है।

यहां मैं एक संस्मरण सुनाना चाहूंगा। इटली में जब पिछले 3-4 दशक पूर्व खेती घाटे का सौदा हो गई तो वहां गाँव से शतप्रतिशत युवा शहरों की ओर पलायन कर गए। एक बार 20 साल पहले जब में उत्तरी इटली के एक गांव में एक सभ्रांत किसान के निवास भोजन के लिए गया तो उन्होंने बताया क्षितिज तक जो लहलहाते खेत दिख रहे है, वे उन्ही के हैं । मैने उनसे पूछा कि रविवार का दिन है सभी भोजन के लिए बैठे हैं तो उनका वयस्क पुत्र कहाँ है, इस पर उन्होंने बताया कि वह तो आज फैक्ट्री ( इटली में छोटे वर्कशेड को भी ‘fattory’ -फैक्ट्री कहते हैं) जो कि घर के पीछे ही है, वहां मोटर की आर्मेचर वाइंडिंग में व्यस्त है। किसी भी तरह आज उसे यह काम पूरा कर ग्राहक को मोटर देनी है। इसपर मैने उनसे पूछा इतने विशाल खेत के आप मालिक हैं तो बेटे को अलग से काम क्यों करना पड़ रहा है, तो उन्होंने जवाब दिया: “हमारे खेत पर काम करने के लिए मेरे दो हाथ ही काफी हैं। मेरे बाद तो सब बेटे का ही है पर अभी तो उसे खेती के अलावा और भी कौशल में निपुण होकर आर्थिक रूप से आत्म-सम्पन्न होने की आवश्यक्ता है”। इसी के साथ मैने देखा इटली में एक महत्वपूर्ण नियम। वहां हर साल चाहे वह गांव ही क्यों ना हो, हर व्यावसायिक केंद्र चाहे वह हॉटेल, रेस्टोरेंट हो या कोई दुकान हो, वहां के कानून अनुसार सभी के लिए आवश्यक है साल में एक बार सारे पर्दे बदलना व भवनों को नए सिरे से रंग करना। इस प्रकार, वहां लगातार, गांव-गांव, अलग-अलग माल की मांग और आपूर्ति होती रहती है, और साथ ही साथ कौशल-केंद्रित कारीगरों को व्यवसाय के साधन भी उपलब्ध रहते हैं। यह सब जब श्री शिवराज सिंह चौहान पहली बार मुख्य मंत्री बने तो मैंने उन्हें बताया था। इस पर उन्होंने हामी भरते हुए कहा था कि गुणवत्ता आधारित शिक्षा, कौशल विकास और आर्थिक ढांचा सुदृढ़ करने की दिशा में प्राथमिकता से पहल की आवश्यकता है। यह बात भाजपा के नेतृत्व में केंद्र में 2014 में NDA शासन आने और उनके द्वारा कौशल विकास की नीति के क्रियान्वन के अनेक वर्ष पूर्व की है।

पाठशाला जाते इस बालक का यह चित्र मध्यप्रदेश की राजधानी भोपाल के समीप एक गांव के बाहर लिया गया था। चित्र © ललित शास्त्री

इस परिप्रेक्ष में देखिए, भारत मे पीढ़ी दर पीढ़ी जोतने वाली भूमि, अर्थात खेत, विभाजित होते जा रहे हैं, और किसानों की बहुत बड़ी आबादी (जो तेजी से बढ़ रही है) ऐसी है जहां कृषक परिवारों की औसत खेतिहर भूमि का आकार सिमटता जा रहा है और उनके (marginal farmers) लिए खेती जीवन निर्वहन का अब माध्यम हो ही नही सकती – फायदे का सौदा तो बहुत दूर की बात है।

इन सभी बातों और इसके अलावा भी हर जुड़े विषय एवं दूरगामी परिणाम को ध्यान में रख, राजनीति से ऊपर उठकर, कृषि नीति बनाने कि और उसे अन्य क्षेत्रों (सेक्टर्स) के साथ एकीकृत करते हुए क्रियान्वयन की आवश्यकता है। मुझे पूरा भरोसा है नरेन्द्र मोदी सरकार इसी दिशा में आगे बढ़ रही है।

Farm crisis: Shivraj breaks his fast

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today ended his indefinite fast, which he began yesterday to restore peace as the farmers’ agitation had turned violent in many parts of the State and 6 persons had died after the Police opened fire on agitating farmers at Pipalia Mandi in Madsaur district on June 6.

Vetaran BJP leader and former State Chief Minister Kailash Joshi ggave coconut water to Chouhan as he broke his fast at Dusshera Maidan here.  After breaking his fast, the Chief Minister collected petitions from the farmers who had come to meet him from various parts the state.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said that those who have broken peace in the name of farmers have tried to defame the state. He said that no case will be registered against farmers, but such people will not be spared. He said that he will continue to serve the citizens of the state till his last breath. Do not allow anti-social elements to disturb peace, he said and asked the farmers to identify such elements and remain cautious in future. He said that those who have suffered loss of property will also be given relief.

The Chief Minister said that the Madhya Pradesh governent has even gone gone beyond the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission which was set up in 2006. The Commission had recommended loans to farmers at 4 percent interest rate, wheres the state government was giving them loans at minus 10 per cent for fertilizer and seeds. Loans for farming are being given at zero per cent interest.

The Swaminathan Commission had asked the states to make arrangements for irrigation. Today, 40 lakh hectare agricultural land is irrigated in Madhya Pradesh and water from Narmada is reaching the Malwa region and other areas.

Chouhan said that to eliminate the role of intermediaries, farmers’ markets will be built in all the towns of the state so that farmers can sell their produce directly to the buyers. He also said that state land use counseling service will be started so that farmers get the right advice at the right time about the quantity of crop to be sown. Under n o circumstances, agricultural land will be acquired forcibly for urban projects. Farmers’ opinion is important, he said addind they will be provided free of cost copies of Khasra / Khatouni at their doorstep once a year.

Chauhan said that two lakh “tribal brothers” have been given land rights. There will be no poor without land and a law will be made for this. Today, the agricultural growth rate of Madhya Pradesh is highest in the world. Earlier, the standing crops used to dry up and perish. Madhya Pradesh has been the first State to implement the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme. Road network has been expanded for the farmers’s benefit. The farmers were also being given relief without any survey if their soybean crop was getting destroyed.

Chouhan said that many schemes have been made for the farmers’ children, whether they were studying or were self-employed. Earlier, the tahsil was the unit for extending relief but now the farmer is the unit. He said that a Rs. 1000 crore price stabilization fund is being created. Onion is now being purchased at Rs. 8 a kilo. Agricultural Production Cost and Marketing Commission is being set up. He said that urad, tur and moong will purchased at the support price.

Chauhan announced that procurement by the Government will not be done below the minimum support price and buying below the support price will be considered a crime. Responding to another issue raised by the farmers, he said that the best model of milk procurement is that of Amul Dairy. The purchase of milk will be arranged on the same model. There will be a Samadhan Yojna” (scheme for solution) for the defaulting farmers so that they could continue to receive loan.

Chouhan thanked the farmers for withdrawing their agitation and supporting the state government in restoring peace. Assuring them that all their problems will be resolved, he appealed to the farmers to participate in the plantation program on the banks of Narmada on July 2.

Anil Yadav, Vice Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Farmers’ Union, announced on this occasion that the agitation was being called off as the Chief Minister has accepted all the demands. He said that the Government has accepted the long standing demand to offer the cost of production. This demand has been accepted for the first time since independence.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister of Panchayat and Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, National Vice President of BJP Prabhat Jha, BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Member of Parliament and State BJP President Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, State Cabinet Ministers and a large number of farmers and their representatives were present.

 

Abject failure of the government to address the farm crisis

Lalit Shastri

What is at the root of the farm crisis leading to massive protests and agitation by the farmers, particularly in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, has been summed up to a great extent by the Reserve Bank of India in its Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 -Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Reserve Bank of India.

The RBI report says:

Propelled by significantly higher arrivals in mandis relative to the seasonal pattern, prices of vegetables also fell markedly from July and bottomed out in January 2017, with fire sales during the demonetisation period accentuating the fall. The seasonal uptick that typically occurs in the pre-monsoon months has been muted so far. In the fuel group by contrast, inflation surged across the board. Prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene rose in sympathy with international prices even as the subsidy was set on a path of calibrated reduction. Fuel used by rural households rose for the third month in succession, narrowing the wedge between fuel inflation facing rural and urban households. [10th para]

The RBI takes into consideration higher arrival in mandis and fire sales during the demonetisation period as two major factors leading to falling prices. On a similar count, the prices of vegetables also fell sharply.

Madhya Pradesh Government’s advertisement to commemorate Government of India’s Krishi Karman Award to the State

In Madhya Pradesh, the Government has been in the overdrive mode over last few years to keep the agriculture production rising. In the process, the State BJP Government has continued to bask in the glory of the “Krishi Karman Award” it has been receiving year-after-year from Government of India for leading in agriculture growth. The glory of this award notwithstanding, what beats imagination is that the “sarkari babus” (bureaucrats) and advisers to the government and the chief minister in agriculture related matters failed to appreciate a simple economic principle that agricultural output or productivity, recognised as total factor productivity (TFP), is supposed to be measured not in terms of weight but should be calculated by comparing an index of agricultural inputs to an index of outputs.

Unfortunately, the mandarins in the corridors of power in Madhya Pradesh have failed to do justice when it comes to projecting agricultural output figures and what has compounded the problem is that even the Government of India has not bothered to demand more pragmatic projections by the State Government.

It beats imagination when some officers, at times, keep previous year’s figures as a reference point and even resort to fabricating figures for the successive year’s performance. This exercise gets completed in a jiffy especially when bureaucrats receive instructions from the Chief Minister’s secretariat to provide figures with a special tagline that the figures are needed immediately as the Chief Minister has to fly to New Delhi for an important meeting.

Farmers’ strike got aggravated after 6 persons died in police firing in Madhya Pradesh

The Government has continued to pat its back for the Krishi Karman Award but ignored the plight of the farmers who are now finding themselves against the wall and have been forced to agitate to force the government to accept their demands.

Madhya Pradesh is witnessing a farmers’ agitation that has gone violent. What came as most shocking were unconfirmed reports stating that six persons were killed in police firing during the farmer’s agitation in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh on 6 June. After the authorities had kept asserting that the Police had not opened fire, came the state Home minister Bhupendra Singh’s admission that 5 farmers had died in police firing.

The State farmers are pressing for rural loan waiver and a hike in support prices to ensure they do not succumb to economic pressure due to rising input prices. Everyone knows that farmers, finding themselves trapped in debt, were even committing suicide.

What also needs serious attention is that with population growing in geometric proportion in the countryside, agricultural land is getting progressively fragmented. Consequently agricultural land holdings are becoming uneconomical and can barely sustain the family of a marginal or poor farmer.

There has been plenty of talk of skill development. But the goal on this front would remain a mirage until the education system, at least at the primary and higher secondary level, gets revamped with total political commitment to prepare hands that could be channelised into different streams under the skill development plan that has to be backed with infrastructure and put in place keeping in view the region-wise objective requirements.

Another big problem, also associated with population bursting at its seams, is that we have too many people trying to make a living out of agriculture and as a result we are confronted with disguised employment. It is a catch 22 situation because the politicians will neither talk of reducing population nor will they address the issue of skill development by addressing it on a war mode. To achieve any worthwhile result in this direction would require absolute transparency and a corruption-free administration.

Click here for Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Reserve Bank of India