India’s repeal of farm laws won’t resolve our real crisis of farming

News: The repeal of Farm laws is unlikely to end farmer worries. The need of the hour is to reform agriculture.

What are the issues being faced by the agricultural sector?

Farming in India is faced with many problems that makes farmers livelihood unsustainable. For example, the sector is faced with rising input costs and low-price realizations, with demand in decline across our economy since 2016-17.

These concerns have got aggravated over the past year, with input expenses on diesel, electricity and fertilizers rising faster than output prices.

Recent rural-wage data of farmers confirm declining rural wages and income from crop cultivation.

In this context, farmers’ demand for a guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) is in line with commitments by successive governments to fair remuneration for farmers, and the Swaminathan panel recommendation

What are the areas that need to be reformed?

There is a need to reform our MSP system. The problems that need to be addressed include,

– Political interference in MSP-setting

– Crop-wise and regional imbalances in MSP-led procurement operations,

– Inefficient distributional and stocking policies,

– Undue and ad-hoc interference in tariffs and trade restrictions.

– Similarly, reforms are needed in case- research priorities, extension services and investment priorities. Most of these have seen drops in public expenditure and support, with little institutional reform of regulation.

Source: This post is based on the article “India’s repeal of farm laws won’t resolve our real crisis of farming” published in Livemint on 3rd Dec 2021.

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