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World Development

Farmers need to have assured access and control over basic resources, which include land, water, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.

of facilitating corporate penetration in agriculture, which are against the interests of farmers and people at large. To protect farmers, the government needs to be bold enough to reject the pressure from the WTO.

For India, the corporatisation of agriculture would mean the Latin Americanisation of agriculture sector in India where increased market based exploitation of natural resources have resulted in rise of rural inequality and violence. It must be rejected and alternatives must be found. At present, in India much of agricultural produce, especially food grains and vegetables, is sold at rates that do not reflect the real value of these commodities. There is a huge self-exploitation by farmers (of themselves and their family labour), and the real value of natural resources (of soil, water and biodiversity) are underestimated. The government should assist farmers in terms of payment for conservation activities and eco-services and for larger parity payments to rural and agricultural sectors in terms of better infrastructure and regulatory and supportive institutions.

Farmers need to have assured access and control over basic resources, which include land, water, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets. The Congress government did setup a commission in 2004 (known as the Swaminathan Commission) to study the distress of farmers and to provide suggestions for improvements to the agricultural sector. The Swaminathan Commission presented its findings in 2006, and suggested “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers, and contained suggestions for the inclusive growth of farmers and the agriculture sector. It aimed for a system of food and nutrition security, sustainability in the farming system, enhancing quality and cost competitiveness of farm commodities and also recommended measures for credit and other marketing related steps. However, nearly fourteen years have passed since its findings were presented to the government, and still its recommendations have not been implemented.

The present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government policy is guided by the ideologues of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is an upper caste Hindu extremist organisation of which Mr Modi and the previous Prime Minister Mr Vajpayee were lifelong members. The RSS and its affiliates are merely interested in playing with people’s emotions and using religion to organise people,

58 The World Financial Review January - February 2021

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