‘Nation being pushed towards agrarian crisis’
Farmers’ plight: Expert on rural affairs P Sainath flays government’s apathy, says inequality rising.lucknow Updated: Feb 13, 2018 14:31 IST
Senior journalist and expert on rural affairs P Sainath slammed the central government on Monday for being ‘indifferent’ towards farmers. He said the attitude was fast pushing the nation towards an agrarian crisis.
Addressing a seminar here on ‘Vikas ka Kamal: Kisan Behal, Desh Bahaal’, Sainath said, “We are heading towards an agrarian crisis and the saddest part is that the whole country is mum on the plight of the farmers who are dying a slow death due to the government’s apathy and its stringent policies.”
Sainath also called the government’s budgetary allocations for farmers and rural economy a ‘farce’. He said though the government made tall claims to double farmer income by 2022, how effective it would be was yet to be seen. “The allocations are neither practical nor effective,” he added.
He said it was not just an agrarian crisis. The cumulative effect would result in civilisation crisis, water crisis and land crisis too.
He said the rich were becoming richer while poor farmers were either committing suicide or suffering silently. “The number of billionaires in India has gone up from zero to 101 between 1992 to 2017. In stark contrast, in the past 20 years, more than 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide,” he said, adding that the country had registered highest rate of growth in terms of inequality.
In his over 30-minute speech, he also criticized the government for demonetisation and beef ban and blamed it for saffronisation of the country’s advanced institutions. “It is sad that there is still a bunch of intellectuals which often proves steps like demonetisation, that ruined the lives of many, a perfect move,” he said.
Sainath said a bunch of people who were least aware of the importance of livestock in a rural economy, took decisions like beef ban that left many hand to mouth. “Dalits, particularly, were the worst affected due to unavailability of hides,” he said.
He said the beef ban not only hit Muslims who were the target but also the farmers who were forced to leave their old cattle in the jungles, rather than sell them in cattle markets.
Also present on the occasion was Ramesh Dixit, state president, Nationalist Congress Party.