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Eminent Policymaker & Strategist Dr Krishan Jha Offers Valuable Inputs To Resolve The Current Farmer Crisis

With nearly 50% of India’s population engaged in the agriculture sector, one would think that the sector would be a massive contributor to the country’s overall economy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The agriculture sector’s contribution to the GVA (Gross Value Added) for 2019-20 is a mere 16.5%, down from 18.2% in 2014-15. If nothing else, this shows the kind of gap between the input and output that exists in this sector. To bring agriculture at par with other industries, the Government of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, envisioned a silver lining for the agricultural economy in the form of three bills passed recently. However, these bills have created a furore of sorts in the country, with lakhs of farmers from the state of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, gathering at the borders of the National Capital Region, demanding that the Union govt. either take back the bills or incorporate their demands before implementing the same.

Pained by this conflict, Dr. Krishan Jha, eminent strategist and policymaker, who have delivered more than 50 policies to GoI, big corporates like KPMG, Tata Group & founder of world's biggest NGO Aggregator, Anti Corona Task Force (ACTF), thinks that meaningful dialogue is impossible amidst the cacophony of sounds emerging out of the multiple farmers’ unions that carrying out the protest. However, since this situation demands a reasonable solution, Dr. Jha has come forth with a couple of steps that could resolve this stalemate that emerged after the December 1st  meeting between the govt. and farmers’ representatives. But before that, Dr. Jha asks how a meaningful dialogue can be achieved with as many as 70+ farmers’ unions from Punjab and other states clamoring for talks and discussions.

Nevertheless, Dr. Jha suggests the following as a measure to assuage farmers’ concerns and bring this agitation to a quick end –

1)Make Minimum Support Price (MSP) a legal right of farmers; and

2)Direct all the states to set up a Kisan Mandi Authority to ensure that all the Mandis (farmer markets) function properly and in an egalitarian way with all the necessary infrastructure facilities.

Dr. Jha is of the opinion that implementing these two suggestions was enough to take the steam out of the current farmers’ protests.

In addition, he goes on to suggest that in order to save the farmers from the private players and middle-men, the govt. could ensure the following –

a)Encourage the private players in farming to pay 3-5% extra crop price to the farmers, and

b)Ensure that the mandis are freed from the stranglehold of Middle-men whose presence led to increasing of corruption in the system.

To sum up, Dr Jha says that the GOI must take immediate steps in this direction and not allow this protest to escalate into something uncontrollable in the future. He said, “India is at the cusp of a new future, under the able leadership of PM Modi and we simply cannot afford our progress to be derailed by issues that have the potential to be hijacked by vested interests.”

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