Skip to main content

Blast from past: BJP 'followed' Congress to corporatise, destroy rural economy

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 
 In 1991, when I was 12 years old and in 8th class in my village high school, the Government of India led by the Congress Party launched new economic reform programmes. I vividly remember reading local newspapers, which carried news on the reduction of agricultural subsidies on seeds, fertilisers, electricity and irrigation. It also started dismantling the universal approach to food security and public distribution system in India. 
My father who was an active farmer then and used to be the district leader of BJP (secretary of Kishan Morcha) but supported liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies of the Congress government in New Delhi. He argued that these policies will bring economic boom and there will be trickle-down effect on all sectors of Indian economy. The agriculture sector and farmers will benefit from such policies. 
This was also the silent understanding of BJP and RSS but made piecemeal opposition to the reforms led by the Congress Party. The national and mainstream media heralded the new economic reforms as the best policy option for a powerful and developed India. The theological promise of neoliberalism is like deceptive salvation in Hindu religion. 
After three decades, my village is witnessing the declining of agriculture. The new economic reforms were slow poison for the agrarian economy. The new economic policies ruined agriculture in my village. The fertiliser corporations get subsidies. The industries get water and electricity subsidies but the farmers in my village nearly abandoned agriculture as a source of their livelihood. 
There are a very few farmers left in my village due to lack of availability of alternative livelihoods for them. As Modi government follows the footprints of the Congress Party in implementing more ruthless agricultural policy reforms, my father (my best friend) opposes these polices and he argues that corporatisation of agriculture will destroy agricultural economy and take away farmer’s livelihood in short run and farmer’s land in long run. 
Such a transformation of my father gives me hope and shows greater transformation waiting for India in political and economic terms. The democratic debate between the father and son continues as farmers protest against an authoritarian regime led by Narendra Modi. 
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government and his Hindutva henchmen are claiming that agricultural reforms are necessary to expand trade and investment in agriculture. The goal of the reform is to increase wholesale agricultural market for the growth of agricultural exports. The Modi government claims that farmers will get greater freedom within liberalised agricultural market and maximise their profit. 
It would result in higher standard of living and higher quality of life for Indian farmers. It is important to burst these myths propagated by Modi and his ignorant Hindutva capitalist cronies. These claims are blatant lies and agricultural reform policies are unsustainable. The Modi led agricultural reform policies would make farmers vulnerable to market forces. 
The deepening of capitalist market forces have ruined agriculture, agricultural communities, farmer’s lives and livelihoods. The market led industrial approach to agriculture drives farmers out of business and reinforces agrarian crisis which forces farmers to commit suicide. 
The American farmers have become vulnerable to corporate exploitation and abuse because of similar reform policies. The liberalised agricultural policies have helped in the growth of very few corporations that controls American agriculture today. The deepening of market forces and growth of industrial agriculture led to the growth of four corporations that controls forty percent of agricultural market in USA. 
It destroyed the livelihood of small and medium farmers, rural communities and swallowed family farms in America. The corporations suppressed the price of the farm produce and increased its selling price. Both American producers and consumers suffer heavily due to such agricultural transitions. It also destroyed small businesses affiliated with agriculture in US. The American farmers are fighting back and defeat corporate control over American agriculture. 
The European Union (EU)’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has created a system in which the large farmers and landowners in UK, France and Germany are the beneficiaries of its subsidies whereas the small farmers are marginalised. It has created a wholesale agricultural market where prices of agricultural products are different in different parts of EU member countries. 
The price fluctuation within agricultural market is created by the market forces within EU and the small farmers face the crisis. The EU-led CAP has huge negative impacts of developing countries in Africa. The subsidise overproduction of food, milk and poultry is destroying local production and local markets in Africa. 
The big farmers and agricultural corporations in Europe are the net beneficiaries of such agricultural policies driven by market forces. These policies ruined the rural communities and destroyed the livelihoods of small and medium farmers in Europe. Therefore, Land Workers’ Alliance is not only opposing the CAP but also demanding subsidies to small farmers and family farms in UK. 
It is also strongly demanding the British government to exempt agriculture from all free trade agreements. Many European countries have also realised that industrial agriculture led by corporations destroy the environment. So, there are many social and political movements against corporate takeover of agriculture in Europe today. 
India and Indian farmers need socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically rewarding agricultural policies and egalitarian land reforms
Many developed countries have witnessed to the landgrab by the big corporations and big farmers with the growth of corporatisation of agriculture. The Congress Party governments have started the policies of corporate land grab in the name of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). After agricultural policy reforms, the Modi-led BJP government is planning to liberalise land laws further by which the corporates can take over land ownership from the small and medium farmers in India. 
The BJP government is preparing itself to provide vast stretches of land to the capitalist cronies and friends of Narendra Modi. The corporate led industrial agriculture in India will create conditions of industrial feudalism and corporate landlordism in one hand and consumerist individualism on the other. 
The corporatisation of agriculture destroys social fabric in agricultural and rural communities. The cooperative culture is converted into competitive culture that ruins rural communities with the growth of individualist consumerism. The market forces do not believe in diversification. 
The market forces promote economies of standardisation which is dangerous for the diversity within Indian agriculture. Therefore, the market led industrial agriculture dominated by corporations can never be an alternative for India and Indian farmers. The Government of India need to find ways to invest in agricultural cooperatives to empower farmers and generate employment in agriculture by diversifying it. 
India and Indian farmers need socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically rewarding agricultural policies and egalitarian land reforms to increase farmer’s income and expand market led agricultural economy, where agricultural producers can directly interact with their consumers. Such an agricultural market economy would be really open, free and fair. 
---
*University of Glasgow, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.