Agricultural policy continues to focus on production and not the living condition of farmers – which is what got us to this miserable position in the first place.
Instead of dismantling the regulated APMC mandis, the government needs to make them stronger and build supporting infrastructure like warehouses.
The fall in prices of agricultural commodities is always seen as nothing more than a game of numbers that is played routinely, year after year.
The corporate sector is responsible for 70% of the country’s NPAs, but their loans are being waived off while waiving farming loans is still being frowned upon.
To say that ‘agriculture’ has failed to keep up with the growth that the country has witnessed in the last 15 years is a clever ploy to cover up the neglect that has kept farmers impoverished.
Congress and AAP aim to write off farm loans if they come to power in Punjab. But such measures will only be useful only if accompanied by policy reforms like a sustainable farming system and assured monthly income for farmers.
Outsourcing food production to BRICS countries, and opening up the country to cheaper imports will only destroy food self-sufficiency – and the livelihood of millions.
Agriculture has become unviable not because it is unproductive or does not pay enough but because it has deliberately been kept impoverished for many years
The agricultural sector has been neglected when in fact it has the potential to reboot the economy. Arun Jaitley’s focus should therefore be on revitalising agriculture. Budget 2016 provides the opportunity to do this.