November 17, 2020
India is indubitably an agrarian nation, the agricultural and farming sector makes up 18% of India's GDP and is responsible for the jobs of 42% of Indians. Ergo this sector is at the cusp of policymaking and politics in India. In India we routinely hear about myriad bills, and policies put forward by politicians who allegedly envisage ameliorating the lives of farmers and the agricultural sector but the question is do they actually end up aiding their stakeholders?
A survey conducted by The Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) found that these policies disproportionately benefit the larger and well off farmers.They found out that only 10% of farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres (0.4 to 1. 6 ha) have actually ended up benefiting from the government's policies. Moreover, something the Indian Government prides itself for, the Minimum Support Price (MSP)- which is an a form of state intervention in agricultural markets wherein if there are sudden drops in the prices of crops the government purchases them from the farmers at a set price - has also astonishingly not benefited the farmers. Over 62% of the farmers surveyed claimed they we’re unaware about the existence of the MSP system, additionally out of the farmers who knew 64% of them remained unsatisfied with the MSP. Evidently, the farmers remain unsatisfied with the rather futile government policies. Lastly, 74 per cent of those interviewed stated that they do not get any farming-related information from officials of the agricultural ministry
Farmers make up a large amount of the indian labour force ergo population and voters therefore we often see politicians promise farmers a utopian world under their administration however we rarely see these promises get fulfilled.There is no question that the issue of farming has always been a very politicised one, and the farmers have on myriad occasions found themselves caught between political kerfuffles.For instance, as per the Indian National Congress the current administration during the last election had promised to double farmers incomes however failed to do so. Conversely, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the current ruling party claims that the opposition has made several attempts to misguide farmers due their vested interests, for instance during the recent revolts regarding the farm bills of 2020.
Clearly, due to how politicised the issue is on myriad occasions the farmers are unfortunately used as political pawns. Their inability to understand esoteric policies which effect them ergo gullibility towards politicians has been clearly detrimental for them so far.
In a nut shell the policies as well as the politicians which claim to aid them in actuality do not end up doing so.As a result they find themselve rather helpless.
From our standpoint, a mannerism through which this issue can be remedies is representation in politics. Since this way they would have a seat at the table which decides their fate. Moreover, this would give them a voice so that people can truly comprehend their situation instead of only seeing the situation through the politically motivated lenses of politicians.