agrarian reforms important; Repeal of 3 farm laws setback for doubling farmer’s income: Niti member Ramesh Chand


Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog, said Sunday the repeal of three farm laws was a “setback” for farmers realizing higher prices

Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog, said Sunday the repeal of three farm laws was a “setback” for farmers realizing higher prices

Stressing that reforms are needed for the agricultural sector, Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog, said on Sunday the repeal of three farming laws is a “setback” for farmers realizing higher prices and may be a factor in reaching the target to achieve the doubling of farmers. Income by 2022.

He also suggested starting new consultations with states to restart the agrarian reform process, adding that some people have already approached Niti Aayog with requests to carry out the reforms.

“You see, reforms are important for the agricultural sector. Some farmers were against it (three farm bills)… I think what needs to be done immediately is to resume new consultations with states,” Niti Aayog’s member, who oversees farm policy at the government think tank, said PTI in an interview.

“People are already coming to us that reforms are necessary. But in what way, in what form, in what form, I think we will have to wait for some time,” he added.

Mr Chand answered a question on whether stalled reforms of India’s agricultural economy will receive another boost following the BJP’s victory in four states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – in recent general elections.

Asked whether it would be possible to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 without implementing the three farming laws, he said reforms were needed to allow producers to get better prices. So if no reforms take place, this is a setback for farmers to realize higher prices.

“So to that extent, there will be a setback for that target (doubling farmers’ income by 2022),” he said.

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government has set itself the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.

The center notified legislation on Dec. 1, 2021, repealing the three farming laws that thousands of farmers had been protesting for over a year.

These three agricultural acts were: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

When asked about growth in the agricultural sector, he said it will be around 3% in fiscal 2021-22.

Mr. Chand added that he expects the growth of the agricultural sector to improve in the current fiscal year if the monsoon and other conditions remain favorable and do not become unfavorable.

When asked about high inflation, the respected agricultural economist said it was always a government concern.

“The government is taking various measures so that we try to increase imports of legumes from cooking oils when there is inflation due to a real shortage.

“But in the case of the growth of vegetables, the seasonal factor also plays a very, very important role, and the prospect of importing vegetables is almost impossible,” he explained.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised its inflation forecast for the current financial year from 4.5% to 5.7%.

Retail inflation hit an eight-month high of 6.07% in February, remaining above the RBI’s comfort level for the second straight month, while wholesale price-based inflation surged to 13.11% on hardening crude oil and non-food item prices.

Mr. Chand also pointed out the impact of global factors on the rising prices of various commodities in the domestic market.

“So if the price of fertilizer goes up, the price of diesel goes up, which means the cost of transportation will go up too, the cost of production will go up, too,” he noted.

The Niti Aayog member claimed that the government is trying to mitigate the impact of these global factors.

Citing an example, he said that the rise in the price of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer has been largely absorbed by the government.

“And in the case of urea, the government absorbs all the price increase, but there will still be some increase,” he said, adding that it was due to the transmission of global factors.

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