The 17th Lok Sabha election will be once again fought on several issues. However, much focus would be on agricultural crisis, which seems to have intensified in the last two years. The agrarian economy has actually seen a decline in the real incomes.
The slowing down in wage rate has been badly hit in the last three decades, thus marking the longest period of low wage growth. This clearly defines that the fall in income in agriculture and the stagnant wages have contributed to rural demand decline which seems to threaten the larger economy.
Agriculture crisis cannot be ignored politically as it was evident from the last round of state legislative assembly elections in November-December 2018 Farmer discontent was the major reason for the defeat of Bharatiya Janata Party in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Whereas, the political distribution of Rs. 4,000 per acre to farmers as part of the Rythu Bandhu scheme also known as Farmers’ Investment Support Scheme hurled the then current officer of Telangana Rashtra Samithi back to power in Telangana.
The farmers are any day the largest section of voters, so no political party can ignore the crisis in agriculture. There seems to be no solution to the crisis in the near future as well since the earlier implemented loan waivers have not reduced the intensity of the crisis.
The opposition, Congress party has already promised a nationwide loan waiver. There seems to be a limited incremental gain to the farmers in states where loan waivers have already been implemented.
The income transfer as promised by the central government might benefit farmers in the short run and may even have some impact on rural demand in the medium to long run.
These situations clearly ascertain why the agrarian crisis is going to be a major issue.
Image Credit: The Wire
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