Indian political belligerence has for the longer run of the century influenced the flux of Indian economy. The rather problematic (predominantly due to negligence) situations of Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka or Gujarat is not only a unidirectional trade-off between politicians and farmers; it also consummates itself into a megalith- that of a decaying agrarian economy and a decadence in the standard of living for the farmers.
The government claims to have upped the bar of the modern day agrarian limbo stating that the ₹38,500cr. given to NREGA in this budget is the highest ever while the farmers of the day still hunch their backs to droughts, repressive loan augmentation and an undesirable, panegyric political facade.
The [Poli]Ticking Time Bomb:
The government has to be disillusioned of its belief that its investment has in any way been an ingenious step towards the betterment of the condition of farmers. The final disbursement towards NREGA was approximately ₹40,000cr. in 2006, when the policy was rather new. What then was the need to inflate such an incompetent vision into an altruistic measure? The fact that the government in power needed (especially after the inappropriate politicking of communal clashes), a personality makeover.
Nonetheless, how did a measure, or ‘any’ measure that was specifically developed for the agrarian mass miss the mark? Specifically due to the reason that the policy was short-sighted in its vision. The government chose to overlook the perforations in the cobweb- most of the assessment in villages where MGNREGA could be employed are done by the patwaris.
These local overseers can over/under-estimate the damages from drought, for the ‘right pay’ by the farmers. The poor farmers, already boiling in the cauldron of the drought and loans are therefore nihilated from the very equation that was supposed to solve their problems. Most of the policies in this respect are either palpable or completely laughable.
In one of the most direly affected department- that of cotton farming, the short-sighted inculcation of GM varieties brought in further complications. Initial promises of high-yield of the seeds later morphed into low-resistant crops and left the farmers debilitated.
The only way to sustain themselves, therefore, was to resort to taking loans. The problem would have been innocuous as soon as the harvest began, but 2 successive drought seasons left their lands barren and pocket empty. Most of the people had to move to the urbanized locales in search of petty jobs and the others that remained, succumbed to the compressing factors of debt and government insensitivity. Any sensibly empathetic judgement of the situation would conclude- that the government needs to stop sensationalizing and start brainstorming for the longer run instead of only employing policies laden with immediate but unsustainable solutions.
A Lesser Quagmire of Solutions:
The problem is not a bludgeoning novelty, is definitely an old one. That the farmers now consider suicide over fighting for better provisions as their only resolution, is already a matter of national shame; but the fact that policy makers in the upper echelons are only interested in ruthlessly hankering vote-points over the formulation of sustainable policies and ideas for a veritable and just end is devastating.
How much more farmers before the political spit-and-speak realizes the Gordian knot? We don’t know. How many virtues required to solve this conundrum? Just two- empathy and sensibility.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.