Friday, August 12, 2022

Modi’s Call for Dialogue

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 10, 2021 10:54 pm

In the greater interest of the nation, the agitating farmers should accept the olive branch extended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a recent statement, the Prime Minister invited the farmers for talks on the three controversial farm laws in-order to resolve differences amicably. At the same time, Modi had assured agitators that Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue. He tried to clear all confusions regarding the continuance of the supporting system by referring to the sanctity of the Parliament. The Prime Minister appealed the farmers to give the proposed reforms a chance and if shortcomings were found, they would be corrected.

Before delving into the Prime Minister’s call for a settlement with the farmers, a close study is needed to understand the genesis of the problem. For quite some time now agriculture which is regarded as the backbone of the Indian economy has appeared to not be as productive as was before. This is despite the fact that above 50 per cent of India’s workforce is engaged in agriculture. It’s contribution to the country’s GDP becomes more negligible with each passing year. Various reasons were attributed for the downfall of the agricultural industry in the country. Among them, the most important being that farmers were not receiving fair prices for their produce. So to ensure that the farmers get proper price for their produce, various reforms were suggested by experts during the last two decades. Some of the recommendations were implemented, while most are still awaiting implementation. Thus, sensing the urgency of the situation the Modi Government brought new farm laws with the primary aim to increase the income of farmers.

But a large section of farmers, especially big farmers expressed apprehension about the new laws and argued that the efforts to reform agriculture were nothing but a ploy to hand over the sector to large corporates. In support of their observations, the farmers further demanded that a law be enacted to guarantee the continuance of MSP. As the government was sternly against making any changes to the new laws, the farmers since November have been camping at various entry points into Delhi. Both sides have already held eleven rounds of talks, but the exercise appears to be futile; not to mention the Republic Day incident.

The uniqueness of democracy lies in its ability to solve disputes. So, the Prime Minister was right in requesting the farmers to continue the dialogue process, notwithstanding their differences. Each demand and apprehension should be discussed and resolved, including the law on MSP. The farmers should also come forward to reciprocate the gesture made by the Prime Minister. The farmers are demanding that the farm laws be repealed, the government on it’s part has agreed to keep the laws in abeyance for 18 months. So, there is enough time to reach a solution before the laws actually come to force. Both sides should use the time in hand wisely to rejuvenate India’s sluggish agricultural sector.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 10, 2021 10:54:02 pm