Calcutta Notebook (Vol. 47, No. 46)
I. Mallikarjuna Sharma*
In response to Calcutta Notebook [this time on support to farmers] my suggestion is that government should fix a minimum support price to every agricultural produce - tomatos to rice, etc. and it should be like a minimum wage to the workers. No private person can buy the goods from the farmers at less than that rate and any bargaining can be only above that price. Also, alternatively, government should make arrangements to immediately and without hassles buy any agricultural produce brought to it by peasants or persons on their behalf at minimum support price if it is of the required minimum quality - of course with no delay in assessment and any exceptions on generally pro-peasant criteria. The godowns and purchase centers of the government should also be located near the peasant mandis [markets] to which all farmers bring their produce to sell. Any losses incurred by government in this process should be taken as part of subsidy to the peasants - and, after all, the peasants would come there only if they cannot get better price in open markets and so may not come always. In case of essential agricultural produce the government can/may even impose a levy [generally at not more than 25% of produce of the farmers] at the minimum support price - to be done from case to case in a democratic manner. I think this will go long in relieving the farmers' misery than announcing this or that any other sops.
I. Mallikarjuna Sharma may be contacted at <firstname.lastname@example.org
May 26 2015