Apart from the fresh amendments, the Centre must consider a legal guarantee for MSP
The Narendra Modi government has a declared policy of ensuring farm prices that are at least 50% more than the input costs. This has remained more an intent than reality, and the discussion has also been muddled by the government’s refusal to include rental value of the land in input costs. Agriculture has to remain environmentally sustainable and remunerative for farmers. Significant challenges have emerged with regard to these benchmarks, though India has ensured substantial food stock and a robust distribution mechanism that covers the entire country. There is a strong case for reworking the incentive structures and cropping pattern in order to account for changes in water availability and changing dietary requirements. The problems faced by farmers are by no means the same across India. But a sense of hostility from the state and market is now pervasive. Changes in land acquisition laws and the general thrust towards industrialisation together with the pressure on agriculture subsidies have increased the feeling of vulnerability of farmers in recent years. The abrupt changes in the sector brought in through the three laws have aggravated the trust deficit of the government. The combative attitude of the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party towards criticism worsened it further. Food security is considered a component of national security by all countries. The Union Agriculture Minister has said the government has no ego. The Centre must strive for reaching an agreement with the farmers that addresses their concerns.
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