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Political populism spoiling farmers: Niti Aayog member

The Niti Aayog is aggressively pushing states to carry out reforms for liberalisation of the agriculture sector to improve farmer income and agriculture

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Published: June 7, 2017 1:46 am
Niti Aayog, farm loan waiver, india agriculture, india economy, india news, latest news, indian express Farmer demands turning more unreasonable: Ramesh Chand. (PTI)

Farmers in India are being spoilt by politicians through populist measures such as loan waivers, and this can have an adverse impact on the agriculture sector in the long run, Niti Aayog member Prof Ramesh Chand said on Tuesday.

Delivering the first Dadabhai Naoraji lecture on the issues of inequality and growth in the agricultural and rural sectors, at the National Institute for Advanced Studies here, Chand called for adoption of reforms by states, including a model contract farming law proposed by Niti Aayog, to accelerate agricultural growth and reduce inequities.

“Expectations of farmers are becoming more and more unreasonable,” Chand said. “They want free water, free fertiliser; they want loan waivers, and they want governments to pay 50 per cent of price of the cost of production. No country can meet these kind of things.”

According to Chand, farmers are not “as excited about increasing agricultural production as they were at the time of Green Revolution”. He said, “Largely, farmers of this country are being spoilt by politicians through their commitment to populism. This will be adverse for this sector.”

Farm income per cultivator in India as per Niti Aayog estimates is Rs 9,761, and if a farmer has no other sources of income then as many as 53 per cent of farmers are below the poverty line, Chand said. “This speaks of a need to take farmers out of agriculture, or creating norms for employment for them. Even if we consider non-farm income of farmers, 22.5 per cent of farmers on an average are below the poverty line. In some states it is as high as 45 per cent,’’ he said.

The disparity in income between agricultural sector and other sectors has aggravated after 1991 due to lopsided reforms, which have not touched the agriculture sector, he maintained.

“After 1991, non-agriculture growth began accelerating and agricultural growth remained at around 2.8 per cent. If you take the co-relation between growth rate of the two sectors over a 10-year period, we see that it was 0.9 (per cent) till 1991 and a constant…it has now suddenly dropped, and is now 0.4 per cent,’’ Chand said.

“Reforms were done in the non-agricultural sector but not in agriculture. As a result, there is no modern capital or new ideas coming into the sector. There is no competition, and between the producer and consumers there are five to six intermediaries,’’ he said.

The Niti Aayog is now aggressively pushing states to carry out reforms for liberalisation of the agriculture sector to improve farmer income and agriculture.

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  1. S
    Sathyanarayana G
    Jun 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm
    B it State Government or GoI, none likes2go wid a robust long term solution2solve farmers' owes. Governments are always happy2announce loan waivers &make farmers slaves of freebies &doles. Enterprise Farming Model supported by robust agriculture insurance ecosystem is the solution for farmers' owes. Dis combination will make agriculture professional &formal &will get D prevai under employment in D sector eased out. Similarly it will ease out prevai informal& casual nature of agri workers, wage labour etc. & make these categories of agri employment more formal &organized. 4 Eg: Telangana State has announced freebie of Rs.8K/acre (no max cap)for 65 lakh of its farmers. Imagine: If D same was given 2 each of these 65 lakh farmers as agri insurance premium/year 4 five years@Rs8000/- /acre/year what great results it wud bring in? Insurance covers from ploughing2havesting. BUT of course no votes. Right premium &prompt Claims settlement R heart&soul of Robust Agri Insurance
    1. Ganesan Rp
      Jun 8, 2017 at 9:38 pm
      Very sorry to say sir, Not much constructive reforms for tree growing. India import 90 of wood, for Rs 36000 cores. Still no action, will take a decade to get some. I have been representing the hurdles of tree growing in dry lands also, based on many govt reports itself. But for decades no chance. You are also continuing the same. Represented to MoA, PMO, NITI Aayog also. s: www.slideshare /GanesanRP/red-sanders-facts-presented-to-nba-10102016 Do not just blame others.
      1. S
        S Srinivasan
        Jun 7, 2017 at 11:37 am
        It is none but the middlemen spoil the entire economy.Centre and State should encourage farmers co-operatives run by young blood is the need of the hour.But the young blood are tricked by Cinema,Cricket,TV and other wayward gimmicks,so turning them from these is very essential.The youth should wake up and lead from the front.Nothing is lost and the Centre/State should encourage the youth of the nation and the rest fall in place.
        1. A
          Anand Prakash
          Jun 7, 2017 at 10:11 am
          Rsmesh Chand should first chide his idol, Feku, who promised the moon to voters. Second, he needs to explain whether the writing off the NPAs of the large corporate houses (who are undoubtedly the financers of Feku's election campaigns) is not a populist measure. What has the Niti Aayog contributed so far to the development of the country. This organization is an apologist for the harebrained schemes of the NDA government.
          1. Kunal Wagh
            Jun 7, 2017 at 7:45 am
            What about loan waivers of NPA? Govt gives bailout package to seek industries. What Too big Too Fail concept means? Why it does not qualify under populist measures? Does it not have adverse impact in the long run? The farmer is being spolit by everyone except him/her? He/she does not understand the complicated economics behind it. RBI governor and Arundhanti Bhattacharya say that farm waiver loans would impact credit cycle? few days ago she asked DOT to work out bail out package of 4 lakh crore. Why this selective approach? Where it will impact economy/normal taxpayer or money will drop from sky? Please have some practical use of pen.
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