An Evaluation of the Farmers demand- Feasibility, and Implications

Poonam Sharma
Poonam Sharma

Poonam Sharma
In response to the ongoing farmers’ protests,what can be inferred from  the main demands put forth by the farming community. The demands encompass a wide range of issues from MSP guarantees to debt waivers and even international trade agreements. Here’s an observation.

1. Law Guaranteeing MSP: While the demand for a Minimum Support Price (MSP) law is seen as crucial for farmers’ income security, economists caution against the potential for runaway food inflation. Suggestions include imposing a tax on wealthy farmers to fund the MSP corpus or exploring income support schemes like PM KISAN or Price Deficiency Payments.

2. Full Debt Waiver: The demand for a complete debt waiver is viewed as a quick fix but economically unsustainable. Studies indicate that such waivers may lead to non-productive use of loans and discourage financial discipline among borrowers.

3. Justice for Lakhimpur Kheri Killings: The demand for punishment for the perpetrators of the Lakhimpur Kheri killings is seen as politically expedient, especially with the matter already before the Supreme Court. Experts note that legal avenues are available for seeking redressal.

4. Withdrawal from WTO and Free Trade Agreements: The demand to exit the World Trade Organization (WTO) and freeze free trade agreements is met with skepticism. Experts highlight India’s economic growth and agri-export success under the current global economic order, cautioning against isolation and protectionism.

5. Pensions for Farmers and Farm Labourers: The demand for pensions raises concerns about government revenue allocation and potential competing claims. Experts warn that increased pension payouts could strain development expenditure and fiscal targets.

6. Extended Employment under MGNREGA: The call for 200 days of employment under MGNREGA is seen as a necessary step given rural distress and limited job opportunities in other sectors. While budget allocation would increase, experts argue that income security for rural workers is paramount.

As the farmers’ protests continue to shape the discourse on agricultural reforms, the evaluation of these demands sheds light on the complexities and implications involved. Balancing the needs of farmers with broader economic considerations remains a challenge for policymakers seeking sustainable solutions.

*Poonam Sharma is Political Analyst, Author & Journalist based at Guwahati, Assam

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