India’s newly-enacted agricultural rules have the potential to improve farmers’ income, but there is a requirement to give a social safety web to the weak farmers, IMF’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath has said. Indian agriculture needs betterment, she said. There are various fields where the changes are required, including infrastructure, the Chief Economist of the Washington-based global financial institution stated on Tuesday. The three agri laws, established in September last year, have been extended by the Indian administration as significant reformations in the farming area that will eliminate middlemen and enable farmers to market their goods anyplace in the country.
Gita Gopinath said: “These particular farm laws were in the area of marketing. It was widening the market for farmers. Being able to sell to multiple outlets besides the Mandis without having to pay a tax. And this had the potential to raise, in our view, farmers’ incomes. Every time reform is put in place, there are transition costs. One has to make sure and pay close attention to that it’s not harming vulnerable farmers, to make sure that the social safety net is provided. Clearly, there is a discussion right now and we’ll see what comes out of it.” Thousands of farmers in India, principally from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been tenting at various Delhi boundary limits since November 28 last year, necessitating a reversal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops.
So far, 11 courses of discussions have taken place between the government and farmer heads with both parties strengthening their statuses. In the final round of discussions, the government proposed to exclude the laws for 1-1.5 years and create a joint committee to find solutions, in return for protesting farmers moving back to their own residences from Delhi boundaries. Farmer leaders said they would reconcile for nothing less than a total withdrawal of the laws, which they find pro-corporate, and a legal guarantee for the acquisition of crops at government-fixed MSP.