MG is a keen political observer and commentator who has a ringside seat to the turbulent years of the present political scenario
The farm laws
In 2014 Narendra Modi led the BJP to victory and the general impression among the Indian people was that here is the man who would lead India forward, away from the policy of appeasement and divide and rule of the Congress party.
In 2020 Modi promulgated three Farm laws which were approved by both houses of parliament. The laws were revolutionary as they tried to put 2000 years of practices in Indian agriculture on the back burner and gave the farmers new avenues for advancement. They also opened the door to investment from the private sector in agriculture which has so far been a big zero. Indian farmers were living in the same age and time as it existed hundreds of years back. These farms laws were absolutely revolutionary and for the benefit of the nation and the farmers.
For the first time, the farmer who was earlier forced to sell his produce either to the government or the money cartels at the price fixed by them could now sell products anywhere in India to the highest bidder. It was going to be like a free market with a rider that the minimum price would be regulated by the government. Therefore it was a win-win situation for the farmers.
Modi buckles under pressure
When the farm laws were passed the mass of Indian farmers (almost 85 to 90% of who are extremely poor and have small holdings) welcomed them but the rich landlords and cartels realized that they would lose their clout and money. The government and the Supreme Court allowed the agitators a free hand and traffic to and from the capital was greatly restricted. This was the time for action by the Modi government but for some reason, he developed cold feet. The agitation which was basically led by the rich Sikh farmers was soon infiltrated by the Khalistan movement, who have been demanding a separate Sikh state. There were cases of rapes and murders as well but for some reason, the Modi government was just sitting on its haunches. It failed the nation badly.
With the advent of state elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh from where the bulk of the agitators had come, the prospect of losing power in these two states loomed before the BJP and Modi.
This set the alarm bells ringing and Modi in a speech on the birthday of Guru Nanak announced that he was withdrawing the bills. He repeatedly made reference to Guru Gobind Singh but then here the comparison ends. The great guru sacrificed his 4 sons in his battle against the Mughals. Modi could not sacrifice the loss of a few seats in Punjab and Utter Pradesh and promptly backtracked.
Modi has opened a dark tunnel for india
The decision to repeal the farm laws is a retrograde step. The laws would have benefited almost 70 to 75% of the Indian population( as the majority of the Indian people subsist on agriculture). The portent for the future is very ominous because it means nobody will have the courage now to reform the biggest sector in India that is agriculture. No investment will come in and the old policies which are in existence for tens of years will continue. If agriculture is not modernized India cannot move forward and the question that we will be able to match China just does not arise.
it also opens Pandora's box whether Modi will continue on the path of reform in other fields like the uniform civil code and doing away with the reservations based on caste.
His backtracking speech reveals desperation in his character. He himself says that the majority in India have accepted the farm laws but a minority did not accept and so he's withdrawing the law. This is extremely silly because in a democracy there will always be a minority that will not accept a particular law but democracy is the rule of the majority and by making such a statement does Modi mean that he will withdraw article 370, triple Talaq bill, the citizen's national register just because of a minority opposing it?
He has just led India into a dark tunnel and I am definitely of the few that the sobriquet 'great' does not apply to him. He appears to be an extremely mediocre person.
What is going to happen in the future? the repercussions are indeed ominous and with one stroke what he had done during the last seven years does not appear to be permanent. There is agitation against the national register of citizens. Will Modi backtrack on that also? as things stand there is a possibility.
As many political commentators and observers have commented the repercussions of withdrawing the farm laws is going to echo far and wide on the Indian economy. Agriculture is the main occupation of the Indians and if that is not modernized how does India move forward? Mr. Modi has shackled the Indian economy for a generation. Now the government will have to subsidize agriculture again as no investment is going to come in and that means using taxpayers' money and resources for unproductive expenditures.