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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Another failure 

Saturday, 07 October 2017 12:33
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The manner in which the government's decisions on demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) have impacted growth of the economy and lowered the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), India appears to be heading for another agrarian crisis in the near future. In fact, the demonetisation has dealt a severe blow to the rural and agriculture economy of the country. The farmers have been pushed to the wall and low return on their produce has only contributed to a larger number of agrarian people to commit suicides due to mounting debts and diminishing returns. Coupled with all these factors, the attitude of the rulers has been totally insensitive to the needs of the agrarian workers which constitute almost two-thirds of the total population of the country. The deficient monsoons, which are big factors in the agrarian sector for the agriculture produce, have also contributed to the worsening crisis in the country. Unfortunately, the farmers in most parts of the country, in the central heartland have been forced to migrate to other areas in search of water and employment due to drought in their home villages and towns. The employment opportunities have already been going down due to slowdown in the Indian economy continuously for the past three years since the NDA regime took over the reins of the central government. Much touted employment guarantee programmes have not borne the desired fruits for the rural as well as the urban poor under various schemes launched under UPA and NDA regimes during the past over two decades. It is sad that the number of unemployed has risen by more than half during the past three years and new job creation has almost been zero since November last year. The tall claims of the central government that it has been quite successful in containing inflation have fallen flat post-demonetisation because of the fact that food inflation has continued to go up while the returns to the farmers have been minimal. Tragically, the farmers have been forced to sell their fresh vegetables and fruits at throw away prices because of shortage of cash in the markets. The purchasing power of the common masses has been on the lowest ebb n the post-independence history of the country. The demonetisation has in a way robbed the common masses of their personal financial liberty, which amounts to loot from their pockets of their resources.

Apart from what has been happening to the Indian economy, the manner in which compensation cheques have been issued to the people for failure of crops and top reduce their debts, it whole process appears to be playing a cruel joke with the farmers of the country. In Uttar Pradesh alone, thousands of farmers have been issued cheques amounting to less than a hundred rupees to less than a rupee for depositing in the bank accounts which have witnessed mounting debts. The centre has passed the buck to the states for writing off the debts of the farmers and asked them to generate their own resources for meeting the demands of the farmers despite making promises to farming community in electoral campaigns in 2014 parliamentary elections. The promises will remain unfulfilled at least for the next few years to come and the rulers will continue to push the farmers to the brink of disaster because of its approach and attitude towards the agrarian sector. After an uproar was created by the farmers and the news spread in the media, the UP government's argument was that the goof up was the result of 'no link up of Aadhaar Card' of the farmers with their bank accounts. But as such there is no evidence to suggest that low denomination cheques were issued due to this discrepancy because the Supreme Court has not ruled in this way if the recent judgements are to be taken into consideration. Moreover, most of these farmers are yet to get an Aadhaar Card in their areas due to the reasons best known to the government and its agencies. The process for covering the entire population under Unique Identification Number was suspended on various occasions due to non-payment of wages to the people and contractors involved in the enumeration work. The fate of the farmers is still hanging in balance due to short-comings of the government and not the beneficiaries.

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