Skip to main content

Marathwada voices: Farm laws still at 'nascent' stage, lack clarity, transparency

By Vinay Karwa* 

Roti, kapda and makaan are the basic needs of mankind and India is a country with more than 50% of its workforce employed in agriculture to cater to the need of food. This makes the recent three farm laws extremely important for every individual in the country.
Interacting with farmers in Marathwada region of Maharashtra and social activist Yuvraj Gatkal, I found, there are many apprehensions amongst the farmers regarding the farm laws. Regarding the contract farming, the farmers are expected to use the raw materials (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides) at their own cost and the ones recommended by contract firm.
There is no clear mention about whether farmers will be paid in advance to buy them or they have any decision stake in crop choice, irrigation methods, fixing the prices. The security or insurance in case of calamities or unfavourable weather conditions is ambiguous.
The farmers are more aware about soil quality and fertility, crop rotation patterns of their land based on years of experience. A sudden interruption by a contract firm might lead to conflict or decline in productivity (as the firm’s recommendations will be based on market research and theoretical knowledge).
Raghu Pawde, a farmer in Maharashtra, said, “What if the mechanisation in our fields increase, that raises the cost for small farmers and creates unemployment for many villagers, for whom harvest season is the only source of income?”
Regarding the Minimum Support Price (MSP) another farmer said, “What if the farm produce is hoarded for a season, and artificial scarcity is created raising the price bar for essential cereals and pulses? How can we afford it? Or the hoarded stock is brought to market next season, lowering the prices for current harvest?”
It can basically be a case of supply more than demand or vice-versa. There were also questions about viability of a small scale farmer to travel to different states for selling his/her produce. There is further risk of carrying cash from distant places. (many still don’t use the existing banking services for agriculture transactions).
As there are no economies of scale and there are transportation costs involved, will it really benefit small farmers? Moreover, the illiteracy and lack of technological resources (smartphones, internet penetration, digital banking) create hindrance for farmers to know the prices on national level.
Around 25% farmers in India don’t have their own land and work on other’s land on agreement basis popularly known as bataai (sharecropping) system. (many a time it is verbal and non-documented). Having contractual farming will add one more level of authority and communication which may create more confusion and chaos for them.
Around 74% farmers produce only for self-consumption and prefer barter system for grains their counterparts/other farmers in village produce. Understanding these new laws and implementing them will be a challenge for them.
Considering all the data and interactions, it seems, these laws should be explained in detail to farmers answering their “What If” questions, like clarity on one and a half times the cost of production, contract farming clauses on both parties, security to farmers if MSP system is removed and so on. Also majority of this community is here to seek a basic livelihood. So it’s extremely important to ensure the farmers are benefitted.
I believe the laws are still in nascent stage (two laws are merely eight pages each and the third law is just two pages) and information transfer till the common man is not so clear and transparent. Also there needs to be a sequential implementation and in phases. This will let the government measure the impact appropriately and make necessary amendments at the earliest. There needs to be more documentation and in detail explanation for these laws.
Also, “collective farming” should be promoted, where farmers in neighbourhood are farming together, reaping the benefits of “Economies of Scale”. Clusters and Cooperatives (FPOs) of farmers should be formed, agro-based small industries can be started at village level to strengthen the “Anna-Data” of this nation.
---
*Second year MBA, Indian Institute of Management, Indore

Comments

TRENDING

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.