Uneasy fields: on Kisan Mukti Morcha
Mains Paper 1: Economy
Prelims level: Kisan Mukti Morcha
Mains level: Agriculture relates issues and resolving the distress
- Tens of thousands of farmers reached Delhi for a two-day Kisan
Mukti Morcha and held the country’s attention.
- They sought a special 21-day Parliament session to discuss the
crisis in India’s agrarian economy.
- Their key demands included an unqualified loan waiver to mitigate
indebtedness levels in farm households and better remuneration for their
produce instead of promises on paper of high minimum support prices.
- These broad demands sum up the precarious livelihood of a majority
of farmers who work on small, fragmented land holdings.
- This is certainly not the first distress call from the farm sector
to Parliament and policymakers; several such stirs have taken place across
States over the past year alone.
- In March, when around 30,000 farmers and tribals from Maharashtra
walked for days to Mumbai, they drew appreciation for their restrained
conduct compared to the usually unruly protesters.
- They secured assurances from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of
tangible action on their demands over the next six months.
- Finding little movement on those promises, many of those who had
marched to Mumbai joined the rally in Delhi, which was by far the biggest
such gathering. Galvanised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination
Committee, it reportedly had participation from 200-plus organisations, with
farmers from 24 States.
Reasons behind this protests
- With rural distress palpable, elections for five State Assemblies
under way, and the Lok Sabha election just about six months later, farmers’
issues are bound to further dominate politics.
- Official data released last Friday show that the agriculture
sector clocked a growth of just 3.8% (on a gross value added basis) in the
second quarter of this fiscal, compared to the 5.3% recorded in the
- The farm sector output was growing strongly in the first three
quarters of 2016-17, before imploding in the aftermath of the demonetisation
- The latest number suggests that the semblance of recovery seen in
the previous two quarters has dimmed too.
- The government has done an about-turn on its responses to a
parliamentary panel that farmers were hit hard by the note ban, and sought
to reassure farmers by reiterating its own initiatives for the sector.
- Their neither has focussed on the big picture strategy needed to
reboot India’s hugely state-controlled farm sector.
- The Centre exhibits an aversion to inconvenient facts. And the
Opposition’s attempts to tap into their angst with breezy promises of loan
waivers (with both the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi promising
them in State election pitches) that over-simplify the crisis.
- Farmers are not just vote banks, but also critical economic actors
who aspire to live without handouts.
- Till that is clearly recognised, paying lip service to the humble
farmer will continue to distort the discourse.
Q.1) SATAT initiative was in news. The initiative is related to which of
A. Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing
B. Efficient municipal solid waste management
C. Boost employment opportunities for SC/ST youth
D. Periodically reviewing and refining the National Indicator Framework
Q.1) In order to address farmers’ distress, the entire agricultural chain
needs a reboot. Justifying it.