“Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”
A phrase that resonates with every Indian. The words were coined by former Prime Minister Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri to encourage two of the most hardworking yet often underappreciated professions of our society. In just four words he caught a nation’s imagination.
The recent protest by farmers in parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh has again brought to forefront the perils of being a farmer. The fact that a median farm household in India earns a sorry sum of Rs 1600/- per month sums up a farmer’s woes.
The anger in the farming community was palpable from the actions. Milk was spilled. Fruits and vegetables dumped on roads to rot.
It felt like father killing his own baby.
Surely something is very wrong somewhere and it needs to be addressed without much ado. The fact that farmers are agitating after a season of bumper crop and normal rainfall make these strikes all the more intriguing.
The demands by the farmers are simple and straightforward. They are asking the chief minister of Maharashtra Mr. Devendra Fadnavis to wavier farmer loans.
The newly formed government in Uttar Pradesh waivered sums of around $5.6 Billion farmer loans.
This reminded farmers of Maharashtra their long unfulfilled demands.
Why Farmers take loans?
Government lends farmers money either to invest in land or buy equipment. Once the crops are harvested the farmers are supposed to repay the loans.
The system works well when harvest is good. There are times though when disasters strike and farmers fail to fulfill the promises.
In such a scenario, the Center or the state governments can waiver loans, either a part of it or completely.
Does loan waiver help?
Loan waiver is a short term solution. Its long term effectiveness has been debated for a long time now.
Agriculture sector in India is troubled on various fronts:- Poor irrigation, low producing seed varieties, ever spiking input costs, poor soil quality are few of the countless others.
When government starts taking steps on all these fronts then loan waiver becomes a comprehensive solution. Remember “The whole is greater than sum of its part”.
A lot needs to be done before an Indian farmer starts feeling happy again.
We should realize that anything that concerns a farmer concern us as well. Isn’t that the best way to hail the farmers of our country?