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Debt is just one aspect, farming is almost a terminal disease in India

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Debt is just one aspect, farming is almost a terminal disease in India

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The core problems faced by farmers have not been taken seriously or been treated in an ad-hoc manner.

By Ranjona Banerji

The anger of farmers across India, which had now escalated since at least five have been shot dead by the police in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, will hopefully get some important people to take their problems seriously. However, I am not holding my breath on this one. The first response of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was to blame the Congress Party for the unrest and for the MP home minister Bhupendra Singh to claim that the farmers were killed by “anti-socials” and not by the police.

Since then, it has been established that the farmers were killed by police firings and the home minister had to admit to that. And political analyst Yogendra Yadav made a telling comment as far as Chouhan’s charge is concerned: If the Congress Party could mobilise so many people, it would have won more elections! But jokes aside, let us remember that Chouhan has been chief minister of MP since 2005. That’s many years without the Congress Party in power.

But after the bluster and lies which are signs of callous arrogance, comes the miscalculated sympathy. The first reaction is to offer money to the families of the farmers shot in police firing – after first denying that they had been shot by the police. Following a Cabinet meeting, loans will be waived, crop prices stabilised and so on. Evidence suggests that the anger of farmers has been brewing and escalating but government response is either slow or brutal and then too much too late.

Suicides by farmers across India have been rising. The reasons given by politicians have been bizarre and completely lacking empathy. Love affairs, drugs, dowry and impotency were some of the reasons provided for farmers’ suicides by Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Agarwal in 2015. Reports suggest that suicides by farmers went up by 42 per cent between 2014 and 2015. Government data also suggests that most farmers killed themselves because of being unable to pay bank loans rather than other reasons including affairs and sexual problems.

Incidentally, the Union agriculture minister – and the BJP is quick to educate us that Agarwal has no connection to the unhappiness of farmers in India, not even a show of sympathy, since agriculture is also a state subject – is learning yoga in Bihar from Baba Ramdev. From what I saw on television he was somewhat unsuccessfully trying to do the Vrikshasana, a balancing act which indeed all politicians should learn.

Unfortunately for years, and this includes all governments, the core problems faced by farmers have not been taken seriously or been treated in an ad-hoc manner. All farmers have also been lumped together in one category when in fact there is a big gamut from large and corporate farmers and marginal and subsistence farmers. Politicians use loan waivers to gain votes but do nothing to stop farmers from falling into the same debt cycle. Experts like Devinder Sharma ask for better understanding from agricultural scientists and policy analysts but little help is forthcoming.

There is also an issue with cost and pricing which again leads to accusations and counter-accusations. There is political wrangling at some point to protect other votebanks along the food chain – middlemen, agricultural produce marketing committees – which only ensures that the price difference between what the farmer gets for his produce and what the end consumer pays for it is enormous.

Across the world, farmers are given subsidies by governments. Sometimes these are counter-productive like the corn revolution that has led to a dangerous instant food industry in the US, explained in horrifying detail by Michael Pollan in his book, An Omnivore’s Dilemma. But in most cases, it is because governments understand the importance of agriculturalists and also the simple fact that people have to eat.

In India, we are caught in a trap not unlike the farmers’ debt trap. We pay them lip service at times. At other times, we call them goons who duck income and other taxes and who only want “sops” from governments. Neither of these attitudes help in getting even close to solving the problems affecting Indian agriculture. And let us remember that we are still largely an agricultural economy.

Pricing, farm-gate to market distribution, lack of storage facilities, ignorance of new advances in agricultural sciences, forced buying of seeds pesticides and fertilisers, uneven access to new techniques, large differences in types of farmers and farming practices – these are only some of the problems which affect farmers in India apart from the inevitable debt traps. Add to this political opportunism by most parties and ignorance or disdain of economists and the anger visible today was only inevitable.

But the past is passed. What is required is immediate – and it has to come from listening to protesters and understanding them. Surely shooting to kill by the police – whatever the provocation – is unwarranted, condemnable and completely counter-productive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Priyanka Gandhi asks for how long will BJP keep blaming Congress

Priyanka Gandhi today addressed public rally in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, where she asked BJP that for how long they will keep blaming Congress

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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday responded to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s frequently made accusation that nothing happened in the country during the decades the grand-old party ruled, claiming the party is being responsible despite having been out of office for the last ten years

How long will you continue blaming Congress? Priyanka said, the Congress has not been in power for the last ten years, during a public rally in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand.

She said, the BJP has had a complete majority in government for the last 10 years, but they now claim that they want 400 paar, or an even larger majority. They claim that in 75 years, nothing has changed. Priyanka said, in Uttarakhand, the home of IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS, how have these capabilities grown if nothing has changed? Was it feasible that Chandrayaan landed on the moon if Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hadn’t constructed these? she continued.

Priyanka criticised the Modi government for abandoning youth who put in a lot of effort to enlist in the Army, using the contentious Agniveer project as an example.

The Congress leader said, in his speech, Prime Minister Modi mentioned soldiers, but who introduced the Agniveer scheme? A sense of patriotism drives thousands of young people to dedicate years of their lives to enlisting in the army. They believe that by continuing in their work, they will support both their parents and the nation. But by introducing a plan like Agniveer, Modi ji broke the dreams of the youth, she claimed.

She further claimed that PM Modi and the BJP had abandoned Devbhoomi (Uttarakhand) after the  terrible disaster.

Priyanka took aim at the Prime Minister, by saying that he believes everyone is corrupt while he is not. They have forgotten about jobs and inflation because they are too preoccupied with using the ED, CBI, and IT to win over leaders to their party and overthrow the government. The question of accepting donations and conducting business came to light once the electoral bond was disclosed, she added.

Earlier this month, the Congress party presented its Nyay Patra, or Lok Sabha election manifesto. Among other things, it calls for a minimum support price (MSP) for farmers crops.

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Latest Politics News

Hema Malini gets trolled on social media after she poses with farmers as part of her election campaign

The actor-turned politician took to X and posted that today she went into the farms to interact with the farmers who she has been meeting regularly for the past 10 years.

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As the Lok Sabha elections 2024 approach, BJP leader and Mathura constituency candidate Hema Malini faced backlash after she posed with farmers as a part of her election campaign. The actor-turned politician took to X and posted that today she went into the farms to interact with the farmers who she has been meeting regularly for the past 10 years.  She said the farmers loved her interaction with them and they also insisted that she should pose with them which she did.

The post has gone viral on social media with 604900 views on X, 1200 retweets and 7200 likes which are only increasing. Large number of X user commented on the social media post. One X user Priyamwada criticized Hema Malini and said that she thought the work of an MP is all about posing for pictures in a farm. She further added that Hema Malini should not mock the farmers. She failed to understand that why did people even bother to vote for her in the first place.

One X user Professor Abhishek Asthana asked how could people fall for such election gimmicks even in the 21st century?

One user Vishwajeet said the last time he had seen Hema Malini with the farmers was exactly 5 years ago. He asked wasn’t this act of Hema Malini be termed as being an opportunist.

One X user Anu said Hema Malini was wearing Kanjivaram saree , open hair in the month of April. She was the opinion that Hema Malini should definitely fire her PR agency.

One user Ganesh Kumar joked farmers can harvest their crops once in 5 years because of Modiji as the crops can wait till their MP arrives.

One user asked Hema Malini how many times had she visited the farmers in the last 5 years without a chopper. He further added that she did not deserve to contest the elections.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi slams Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Yadav for eating mutton during holy month of Sawan, compares them to Mughals

PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a scathing attack on senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav for allegedly eating mutton during the holy month of Sawan last year. He claimed that they do not care about the sentiments of the majority of people of the country. PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

PM Modi was referring to a viral video which was released in September last year in which senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav were seen cooking mutton together. PM Modi was speaking at an election rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur.

He said the opposition and INDI alliance do not care about the sentiments of the majority of the people of the India. He added Congress party enjoys playing with the sentiments of the people.

Talking about RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, PM Modi said a person who has been sentenced by the court and who is on bail – Rahul Gandhi visited the house of such a criminal and enjoys cooking mutton in the month of Sawan and a video was also made to tease the people of the country.  The Prime Minister claimed the intention of INDI alliance is to tease the people of the country and he even compared them with the Mughals.

PM Modi said the law does not stop anyone from eating anything but the intentions of these people are something else. He cited the example of the Mughals and said that when they attacked here, they were not satisfied until they demolished the temples. So just like Mughals, the Congress wants to tease the people of the country by showing the video in the month of Sawan.

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