Political will needed to benefit farmers and real economy

(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)

Economic downturn, lack of political will in decision making, rising prices of essential commodities, corruption in public life and natural disasters like floods and drought are seriously impacting the livelihood of farmers in this country.

The continuing global slowdown aftermath 2008 financial crisis and the recent Eurozone crisis has definitely impacted the country's economy. It is true that India cannot be isolated from its impact as we have consciously chosen to integrate with the global economy.

Hence we have to bear the burden of distress the world economy is passing through. But given the situation, no sincere efforts are made to insulate the Indian economy from the ill effects of global slowdown.

Whatever the government has done so far is to protect the industry by rendering to them fiscal sops. The Government believes that survival of industry at any cost would help revive the economy which is slowing down. The Government has not yet come out of the illusion of the 'trickle down' theory.

But recently doubting the effects of the 'trickle down' theory it has know started talking in terms of 'inclusive growth'. But the mindset of the Government needs to change from being a saviour of Corporate Houses to custodian of the common man by fostering growth in the "real economy". It must talk in terms of 'pouring down of benefits' and not 'trickle down'

The Government has expanded the indirect tax net to an maximum extent to cover a billion people in this country. The Service Tax has been extended to cover almost all essential services. The Government's coffer is being filled by collection of indirect taxes which was paid by the common man.

In fact the revenue collection from indirect taxes is much more than the collection of revenue from Corporate Houses. This justifies that the common man need to get more benefit from the Government than the Corporate Houses. But the situation is unfortunately different.

Not only the Corporate Houses are pampered but also whatever meager subsidy and allocation for schemes are being earmarked to benefit the farmers and the common man are being considered as "charity". Some co-called intellectuals are talking in terms of the need to phase out this subsidy as it is a fiscal burden.

The Government should know that the revival of the economy can take place only if it plans to foster the "real economy" which represents the farmers and people at the bottom of the ladder who create real assets for the country and not mint money by gambling.

The public money mobilized by the Government by way of tax collection are filling the pockets of the corrupt people and no sincere political will is there in this country to nip the corruption in public life in the bud. The farmer and the common man are hemmed between the rising prices of essential commodities and natural disasters like floods and drought.

Floods have occurred in some parts of the country, while in major parts drought like situation is emerging on account of poor rainfall. The cost of cultivation has gone up as farmers are resorting to the use of diesel pumpset and electric power for irrigation.

There is also no political will to hold the price line by cracking down on hoarders, stockists and black marketeers. The prices of essential commodities are allowed to shoot up to any extent. The Corporate Houses are ready to cash on any benefits rendered to farmers. Recently the Government hiked the Fair and Remunerative Price for sugarcane to Rs 170 a quintal. The mill owner immediately hiked the price of sugar by Rs 4 a kg.

This is totally unjustified as the sugar in stock was produced from cane grown in the last kharif season when the cane prices were lower than Rs 170 a kg. Besides the system of estimating Fair and Remunerative Price for sugarcane benefits the mill owner more than the farmers. The farmers stood to benefit when the system of estimating Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) for canes was in place.

Only a strong political will is needed to alleviate the livelihood of farmers and the common man by fostering real economy



(Editorial : Kisan Ki Awaaz Magazine)