This refers to ‘Farmers fears must be dispelled, fast’ (January 1). The biggest reason for the continued stand-off between farmers and the government is the lack of communication with critical stakeholders, first with the Opposition and then with farmers, on the three farm laws. The government should have clearly communicated to farmers that it is only beneficial for them to move away from foodgrains and explore other crops and assuring them that the MSP is here to stay. Farmers must see the larger picture as longer this stalemate continues, the worse it is going to be for both farmers and the general public.
The article ‘Brewing new ideas to sustain tea sector’ (January 1) explains the maladies that have infected the tea sector and the available means to mitigate the same. One crucial point to be noted is for the sector to focus on improving productivity, which will help help bring down the cost of production per kg. Cost-cutting has its limitation and beyond a point it tends to be counter-productive.
Yield per hectare enhancement is the only way out to contain the galloping costs. East African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda do face severe concerns on the cost front, but the incremental costs on a year-on-year basis are more than offset by the increase in yield. The yield of tea plantations in India is far lower than that in East Africa.
This is with reference to the editorial ‘A new dawn’ (January 1). The government should focus on investments in infrastructure, health, education and research which are foundation stones to creating a healthy and strong economy. China’s surge as an economic superpower can be curtailed only by reducing the use of Chinese goods and shifting to locally-made goods.
The lockdown has taught us that many jobs can be done from home, thus reducing crowding in banks, offices, streets, etc. Work from home should be encouraged with more focus on technology as this can help save overhead costs like office space, electricity, water, etc.
Though Covid-19 has affected the people health-wise and monetarily, both the Central and State governments have been able to control the spread of the virus quite well. In this context, research organisations should study the chances of any such viruses affecting human-beings in future and suggest steps to prevent such occurrences.
As the government has agreed to the decriminalisation of stubble burning and the safeguarding of power subsidies, it should also agree to the repeal of the three new farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support prices without procrastination. Farmers have deferred the New Year celebrations till the repeal of these laws. In 2021 a volatile situation is the last thing we want.
The new farm laws have been brought in unilaterally to tie farmers to a laissez-faire economy against their will and enable big agribusiness to monopolise the agri-market. They are likely to result in collapse of the public distribution system (PDS) and food insecurity. These are strong enough reasons for farmers and the wider society to be resolutely opposed to them. These laws are wholly inimical to the interests of food growers and food consumers, and are not amenable to being amended.
Farmers cannot be forced to accept the so-called big-ticket reforms that put them in a vulnerable position. The giant silos built by corporate behemoths appear to be a foretaste of what is to come. Those who dub the protesting farmers as rich and affluent should tell us if they want us to regard the corporates as penurious and destitute.
The onus is now on the government to dispel the general public perception that the new laws are payback for corporate funding.
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
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