Falling Indian Economic Indicators in Modi 2.0
Indian parliament’s lower house Lok Sabha on Thursday, Sept. 17 passed two key bills pertaining to the agriculture sector during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The legislations, Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, were passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha. Earlier on Tuesday, the House passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which seeks to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onions.
The getting node of Lok Sabha, the bills has triggered public outrage in India’s different states such as Punjab and Haryana. Protests erupted in Punjab and Haryana against these measures, with farmers claiming that the legislations will 'corporatise' agriculture sector and further cripple them financially. Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce Bill aims to promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade in agriculture produce. The govt, however, maintains that these bills will help farmers get better prices for their crops, by legalising contract farming, for instance.
Due to the passage of bill and anti-farmers policies, The lone minister of Akali Dal Party from Haryana has resigned, citing the bill against the interests of farmers. Opposition parties argues that the proposed laws will "destroy" the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector. The resignation of Union Minister from Haryana is a setback for the BJP and shows growing disagreement within the govt circles.
Several agricultural experts had criticised the fine print of the ordinances. The bill has created differences between the opposition and govt. Few allies of BJP led NDA govt have refused to support the bill. The mounting anti-BJP sentiments after the passage of bill is exploitable as farmers have shown their resentment in the shape of agitation. These ordinances are targeted at usurping state powers, and overriding state laws and market committee. The trust level between central and state governments is likely to be affected, which needs maximum exploitation. Despite govt’s claims, not one of these ordinances benefits farmers in any way.
This is not the first time that Indian government has undertaken anti-farmers or anti-agriculture policies. Since the inception of PM Modi in the power corridor in India, BJP led government going all to out to undertake tough agrarian policies. For example, on 8 November 2016, the Government of India announced the demonetization of all 500 and 1,000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series. The announcement was made by PM Modi in a televised address to the nation. At that time, Indian agrarian society suffered huge set back as they were cashless. Premier Modi announced banning of note in a sudden move without having alternative solution. Entire Indian political and economic fraternity condemned the move citing worst ever step taken by any government to deal with the economy.
In addition to this, the move had left entire Indian political spectrum in doldrums vulnerable. The leading international financial institutes also raised severe concerns about the move and called it destructive move for Indian economy. The economic indicators of India went to down drastically. Economic growth has fallen down since then. Instead of taking steps to recover the fallout of economy, Modi government went ahead to further tightening of policies and tax slabs in the agriculture sectors. The nationalist approach of Modi government is not only hurting political spectrum in India, it is derailing the economy of the country as well.
Now this is the time where leading international financial institutions must press Indian government to change its approach when it comes to the growth of economy. Because, the likely collapse of Indian economy will have severe and destructive consequences for not only India but entire region. In last couple of years, Indian economy has reached at the point of collapse. To stop that from taking place, international community must have to come forward over the discriminatory approach of belligerent Indian government. The only option left with the hawkish Indian government is to cooperate and engage with other regional and international states. The regional and integration of India will be beneficial for entire region.