From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Economic and political implications of repeal of farm laws
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will repeal the farm laws in the Winter Session of Parliament.
- Agri-growth rate to remain constant: The agri-GDP growth has been 3.5 per cent per annum in the last seven years.
- One expects this trend to continue — there might be minor changes in the agri-GDP depending on rainfall patterns.
- Cropping pattern to remain skewed: Cropping patterns will remain skewed in favour of rice and wheat, with the granaries of the Food Corporation of India bulging with stocks of grain.
- Increase in food subsidy: The food subsidy will keep bloating and there will be large leakages.
- Environmental impact: The groundwater table in the north-western states will keep receding and methane and nitrous oxide will keep polluting the environment.
Suggestion on increasing farmers income
- Average agri-household income: The latest Situation Assessment Survey of the NSO reveals that the income of an average agri-household in India was only Rs 10,218 per month in 2018-19.
- This is not a very happy situation and all out measures need to be taken to increase rural incomes in a sustained manner.
- How to increase farmers income: Given that the average holding size stands at just 0.9 ha (2018-19), and has been shrinking over the years.
- Efficient functioning value chain: Unless one goes for high-value agriculture — and, that’s where one needs efficient functioning value chains from farm to fork by the infusion of private investments in logistics, storage, processing, e-commerce, and digital technologies — the incomes of farmers cannot be increased significantly.
- Reforms: This sector needs reforms, both in the marketing of outputs as well as inputs, including land lease markets and direct benefit transfer of all input subsidies — fertilisers, power, credit and farm machinery.
- Demand for legal status to MSP could strengthen: Farmer leaders are already asking for the legal guarantee of MSPs for 23 agri-commodities.
- Their demand could increase to include a larger basket of commodities.
- Demand for privatisation: There could be demands to block the privatisation reforms of public sector enterprises — Air India, for instance — or to scuttle any other reform for that matter.
- The net result is likely to be slowing down the economic reforms that are desperately needed to propel growth.
Consider the question “The latest Situation Assessment Survey of the NSO reveal the low average agri-household income in India. All out measures need to be taken to increase rural incomes in a sustained manner. In the context of this, suggest the measures to increase the farmers’ income and challenges in it.
The most important lesson from the repeal of the farm laws is that the process of economic reforms has to be more consultative, more transparent and better communicated to the potential beneficiaries. It is this inclusiveness that lies at the heart of democratic functioning of India.