For millions of Landless, Jobless, Clueless Indians, focusing on their food plates will give them an insight, why Farm loan waivers are not that bad.
Day before yesterday, State Bank of India Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya expressed her reservations or concerns over farm loan waiver schemes. According to her, such loan waivers (or in Hindi, “rinn Mafi”) is a populist measure or sop which disrupts credit discipline among borrowers. That’s those who benefit from such loan waivers get into a habit of defaulting on their loans.
Just a day before Bhattacharya, Chief Economic Advisor of Modi Government, Arvind Subramanian, said in Kochi Kerala that sometimes in a Capitalist Economy it becomes necessary for the Government to waive loans of big borrowers among Companies. Although what Subramanian said was very favorable to the Corporate Sector, he tried to disguise his talk with many things inconsequential. But in between, he said something which said much about Note Bandi (or many a times translated to demonetization). What he said was something the Government is not accepting till now. According to Subramaniyan, the action of demonetization can only be called successful if the use of Cash decreases with time and tax compliance increases.
Ahead of the recently concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP had promised to bring in a loan waiver scheme for farmers in the state, if it’s voted to power.
So what can we make of all these divergent views and claims.
Overall, we can say that the Government will remain inclined to the Corporate sector.
The Loan waiver for farmers will take place in Uttar Pradesh. But will it be symbolic one? It depends on how agricultural land in a particular region is viewed by the Government. If the land is seen from a land bank purpose, then loan waiver may be just symbolic. As farmers in these belts have also realized the value of real estate they are sitting on. The Corporate are eyeing that land as well. One such belt is Western Uttar Pradesh, where agricultural loan waiver was not an issue in recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Elections. For them, agriculture itself is an industrial activity.
If the comments of SBI Chairman are taken into account then it seems that the Modi Government is going to waive loans of small farmers in various states. There will be some riders, but loan waiver will surely take place.
If you look at the BJP’s promise, Chief Economic Advisor’s advice and SBI Chairman Bhattacharya’s seemingly divergent views in line with each other, then you will surely make some sense it. If you get to the understanding, good, if not, then it will still be there to make a tantalizing situation for many people who want to see some logic behind Government Actions. They can take solace in Bhattacharya’s other remark which said it is important to support farmers but it has to be done in a way which does not disrupt credit discipline among them.
Focus on your Food Plate to understand Government Policies
As Arvind Subramanian emphasizes on, India has not remained a socialist Economy anymore. But with due respect to him, we’ve not become purely capitalist either. We are still a mixed economy.
Hence, whenever anyone is clueless or confused as to how he must look at a Government policy decision, then the simplest way to do that is to — Focus on or Look at his/her Food Plate.
This becomes more important the person is jobless and landless.
If the food in his plate is getting costlier by each passing day, then it’s time to rethink about the political view and World view he/she is holding.
If a person is worried about the increasing cost of food and other household expenses, then he must think about it. Irrespective of what anyone tells him, his food and other household expenses are increasing simply because he is voting on issues other than food.
If political views need support groups, then farmers (including big farmers) can surely be the friends of majority of Indians .
For our food plates to remain affordable, the farmers need to continue the farming activity. If they discontinue farming, then the food will become expensive. Very expensive. We must note that without any doubt. There must be no hatred for big farmers either because they are the ones contributing largest to the country’s food basket.