India is sold in the hands of US and European economy. This is the new slogan which might be used across the nation from Monday 17th September 2012 onwards. Every political party will come up with various types of activities like Traffic Jam, and Violence Activities in order to protest against the reform which has been declared on last Friday by the Indian Government.

Much of the debate is concentrated towards the FDI in retail business. The topic has been described as a most sensational topic from the time the concept was printed on an paper. Various states at the same time have welcomed this move like Assam.

But the most astonishing thing is these that will FDI eradicate the retail business or will eradicate the political based middle man engaged in the process of this business.

Farmers will be derived from their rights is the most common verdict being spread across the country right from the time the concept of FDI in retail came into papers. Well those who are saying that farmers suicide cases are increasing and government is not doing anything to save the lives of the farmers for them FDI in retail is the best policy action being provided. Moreover till date Indian farmers were struggling to make a living. Over the past year with 18 of the 28 states reported more suicides among the farmers. The farmer suicide graph has been steadily rising. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2009, more than 216, 000 farmers have killed themselves since 1997. Add the figures for 1995, 1996 and 2010 and the total crosses 250,000. That is, two farmers a day for the past 15 years. Well where are those political parties who have been crying today protesting against the FDI in retail.

Now please don’t pass on the blame of the suicides on the UPA government. The state governments were the prime players behinds such activity. Farmers’ demands were not taken into account while preparing the relief package. Neither were civil society organizations, local government bodies, panchayats etc. consulted. All these are being designed at state levels and then it’s being sent to the Central Ministry who governs at that point of time. Hence now one can understands why political parties are crying over the FDI in retails. The relief packages were mostly amalgamations of existing schemes. Apart from the farmer helpline and the direct financial assistance, there was scarcely anything new being offered. Pumping extra funds into additional schemes shows that no new idea was applied to solve a situation where existing measures had obviously failed. In total no one ever heard the voices of the farmers. All these political parties who are against of FDI in retail are due to loss in their business of being an middle man.

Manny of my friends will come up and say that Indian retail is an huge unorganized market. Did anyone tried to make the market organized so that middle man management got eradicated. Keeping an market unorganized gives immense opportunities to the middle man to make stupendous return at the cost of farmers and common people.

Inadequate storage facility is one of the biggest blessings for the farmers along with ruthless low prices being offered to a farmer for his productivity. For example we all know that a piece of a cauliflower cost an farmer Rs.2 whereas the same is being purchased by us at Rs.20 ten times of what the earnings being made by the farmers is being pocketed by the middle man. Those political parties who are saying that farmers will be deprived can any one of them explains till today how much they have already being deprived. When the farmers struggle with lack of irrigation facilities and when they are not getting justified money from their hard works how the political parties who are crying will justify the same. Veteran journalist and The Hindu Rural Affairs editor P. Sainath said that India have been undergoing the largest catastrophe of our independent history — the suicides of nearly a quarter of a million farmers since 1995. We are talking of the largest recorded rate of suicides in human history. In 2007, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, had said that there were more than 149,000 farmer suicides between 1997 and 2005.

If the FDI comes at least to some extent this middle man management will get eradicated and some real benefits will pass on to the farmers. These political parties who are crying for the same has the biggest vote banks which comprises from these middle man management segment. The political parties made billions of money being a simple middle man management fellow. NREGS and such other type of job opportunities were created since farmers were unable to make proper living from farming. Did any single political party come against of NREGS and other schemes? No they never came since middle man was present their also to make their own livings from such government policies and schemes.. Then what happened with FDI in retail and why is this being objected so highly. The answer is simple middle man will be removed and direct contact will be established with the farmers. Loan waiver was executed by UPA1 to Rs.60000cr (defined in books) and also an equivalent number over the last decade. The government provides this waiver at the cost of tax payer’s money. Hence further waiver will increase the tax slab of the common people. Those political parties who are crying are the ones who live at the cost of common people.

Agriculture employs 60% of the Indian population today, yet it contributes only 20.6% to the GDP. (Isaac, 2005) Agricultural production fell by 12.6% in 2003, one of the sharpest drops in independent India’s history. Agricultural growth slowed from 4.69% in 1991 to 2.6% in 1997-1998 and to 1.1% in 2002-2003. (Agricultural Statistics at a Glance, 2006). There is a significant drop in the agriculture productivity and gen-next is moving to other sectors and shifting to urban areas since farming and agriculture does not provide them living. An NSSO2 survey in 2005 found that 66% of all farm households own less than one hectare of land. It also found that 48.6% of all farmer households are in debt.

Where was these political parties at that point of time who are raising voices against FDI in retail. A food price has gone up and we have to cut down on other segments to manage with our daily expenses. As more famers move out from agriculture import bill of India will keep on increasing since we have no productivity at home. Indian political animals need to be educated so that new ideas and policies get understood by them.

Above all these the movies Called Peepli Live gives an better picture of the Indian farmer story. Well now we have to wait to see a movie opposite to Peepli Live.

Indraneel Sen GuptaIndraneel Sen Gupta ([email protected] )

Global Macro Economic Researcher and Business Strategist

Master of Economics, MBA in International Business Management, ICWAI (Final)/CWM Final/Journalist

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  1. Arvind H Mittal says:

    Alas you understood the designs of the rulers of the day. If FDI is considered “reform” what about improving the existing system of PDS? The Country has seen the rule of Congress for most part of its independence, then why does Congress not improve upon that? If reform is only inviting foreigners to India, yes Mr. SenGupta you should make a full throat speech, but is that the case really? Why does the Govt. not bring reforms to rid the system of corruption and inefficiency? Why is the Govt. not motivating the banking sector to lend more easily. It seems neo-economists have not understood the dynamics of Indian society and are not free from the “slave-mentality” hence craving for foreign investment as a form of modernity and “reform”

    God bless you all

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