PM Says 3 Farm Laws To Be Cancelled

Tatvamasi

Well-Known member
Jan 5, 2018
902
874
India

7 reasons why Modi govt is in retreat on farm reform laws​


Cop-out, mission abandoned, cold feet, tactical retreat, stalemate. You choose the description for the Modi government’s predicament on its farm reform laws. It is a setback if not an outright defeat or surrender. Which is tragic, because these laws are reformist, bold, and would help farmers by and large, rather than harm them.

Nevertheless, all substantive reform has to be marketed politically. The days of incremental reform by stealth are over. There isn’t any low-hanging fruit left in the reform orchard. That’s why it is important that we understand what went wrong here. Because, an idea is only as good or as bad as those most affected find it.

In our view, here are the seven main reasons why the Modi-Shah BJP has failed to convince the farmers.

– They cannot accept that there is a non-Muslim state in the north where Narendra Modi doesn’t hold the same magisterial sway over public opinion as in the Hindi heartland.

– Because they do not accept it, they never saw the need for a local ally. That’s why they dumped the Akalis so contemptuously. The Sikhs of Punjab are not like the Hindus of Assam who will vote for Modi even when you marginalise their pre-eminent regional party and steal its leaders.

– We have said this before, they do not understand the Sikhs. They see them essentially as Hindus if sartorially different. Fact is, they are, and yet they aren’t. But understanding subtleties isn’t exactly the Modi-Shah BJP’s strong point.

– They never appreciated the deep Left influence among the Punjab peasantry, going back to the early 20th century, since even before Bhagat Singh. Sikhism, the institution of the gurdwara, has a unique tradition of community mobilisation. Add to that the organisational skills and political savvy of the Left. That is what Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal face session after session.

– It is because of a combination of these that the Modi government didn’t bother to market the reforms ideas early on. You do not tell surplus-producing farmers of the Green Revolution states that the very regime under which two generations have prospered is broken, and make three laws to fix them.

– You cannot use force against the Sikhs. To put it more rudely, you can’t treat them like Muslims. And you can’t question their patriotism. You do the first, the entire country will protest. You do the second, the Sikhs would laugh at you and the rest of the country would ask what’s wrong with you. This crisis denies you all your usual weapons: Force, agencies, propaganda, hyper-nationalism and so on.

– And finally, there is the Modi-Shah BJP’s hallmark: Contempt for history. Because, you presume history of the Republic only began in the summer of 2014 and anything that happened before that was a disaster and not worth learning from.

Let’s discuss the seventh point in some detail. If the post-2014 BJP leaders had not been so caught up in the headiness of power and adulation, they would have asked somebody to fill them in on some earlier experiences of India. Besides all the supposed follies of Jawaharlal Nehru they’d been taught about in the “Sangh”. They would then have known how a supremely powerful leader, at the peak of her popularity, can go wrong and be forced to retreat.

Because then, Narendra Modi would have known how Indira Gandhi erred in 1973, by nationalising all of India’s grain trade. This was her socialist peak, she was riding her post-Bangladesh ‘Durga’ crest and could do nothing wrong. This is also when the economy, reeling from the ravages of war, her dictatorial socialism and then the oil price shock following the Yom Kippur War, was in a tailspin and inflation had reached 33 per cent. A good account of the period is found in historian Srinath Raghavan’s essay in Builders of Modern India, edited by Ramachandra Guha.

This was also when Mrs Gandhi had ushered in her perfect world — a Soviet-style socialist utopia in which prices of everything, including cars, were fixed. Business Standard’s editorial chairman T.N. Ninan described this period in this 2014 article, and called grain trade nationalisation Mrs Gandhi’s greatest folly.

The short version of the story is, she was persuaded by her deep pink counsels, especially her chief commissar and Planning Commission deputy chairman D.P. Dhar, that the best way to control prices was to take the markets out of grain trade by nationalising it. Of course, no public opinion was built. What’s the point of being a strong, supremely popular leader if you still have to do those tedious things?

This led to a disaster. Farmers, traders and consumers were all furious. Further, prices went up, grain shortages were back and farmers were driven deeper into poverty. The one person in her ‘system’ who saw the looming disaster and tried to caution her was a noted economist and, predictably, a Punjabi: B.S. (Bagicha Singh) Minhas, a graduate of Khalsa College, Amritsar, who also studied at Panjab University and got a PhD from Stanford. He knew the farming business and the farmer’s mind. But he was overruled.

This was the only major decision that Mrs Gandhi was forced to withdraw, when she had no political challenge. Once she blinked, it gave impetus to her opponents, and Jayaprakash Narayan’s Navnirman Movement picked up momentum.

We do accept the contrasts in the two situations. Mrs Gandhi tried to take the private markets away from farmers and lost. Modi is bringing more markets to the farmers, and they don’t want them.

In terms of the philosophical direction of the economy, the two situations are contrary to each other. But there is no contradiction politically. In each case, unassailable, supremely powerful and popular leaders failed to see their limitations. Mrs Gandhi, then, of 352 seats in the Lok Sabha; Modi, now, of 303.

Even in a classical dictatorship, like China or Russia today, there are limits to a leader’s powers. India is nowhere near that league. In a diverse democracy, there are also limitations to any leader’s popularity. That’s why leaders have to know the art of persuasion.

Which Modi knows well. That’s why his government talks of ‘nudge’ economics. Or, to put it more accurately, a ‘nudge’ approach to political economy. Modi did it where it was easy, as say with the ‘Give It Up’ LPG campaign, when much larger populations were involved, including his base. He neither enjoys the same popularity in Punjab nor the unquestioning trust that he’s used to in Gujarat and the Hindi heartland.

If his dispensation wasn’t so overconfident, if there was still a culture of his political aides and bureaucracy intervening with some counsel and caution, he might have understood that this situation was different. And the need for persuasion, nudge, preparing the ground. In politics, if your objective is only winning elections, just Chanakya neeti (strategy) might do. For governance, you need both Chanakya neeti and Ram rajya (listening to others, give-and-take). You can neither beat up the farmers into submission, nor dismiss them as ‘Khalistanis’. We cannot answer these questions. But it is evident that this ground work was missing.

It is from this lack of patience and non-understanding the limitations of personal popularity in Punjab that we face this looming disaster over farm laws. This explains the first six points listed by us.

This deserved to be the high, reformist point of Modi’s second term after a messed-up economy in the first. But, as we well know, what is economics in a democracy if not politics by another name?

This article has been updated to correct the fact that D.P. Dhar was the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission during grain trade nationalisation and not P.N. Haksar. The error is regretted.

 
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STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
6,724
4,185
Cop-out, mission abandoned, cold feet, tactical retreat, stalemate. You choose the description for the Modi government’s predicament on its farm reform laws. It is a setback if not an outright defeat or surrender. Which is tragic, because these laws are reformist, bold, and would help farmers by and large, rather than harm them.

Nevertheless, all substantive reform has to be marketed politically. The days of incremental reform by stealth are over. There isn’t any low-hanging fruit left in the reform orchard. That’s why it is important that we understand what went wrong here. Because, an idea is only as good or as bad as those most affected find it.

In our view, here are the seven main reasons why the Modi-Shah BJP has failed to convince the farmers.

– They cannot accept that there is a non-Muslim state in the north where Narendra Modi doesn’t hold the same magisterial sway over public opinion as in the Hindi heartland.

– Because they do not accept it, they never saw the need for a local ally. That’s why they dumped the Akalis so contemptuously. The Sikhs of Punjab are not like the Hindus of Assam who will vote for Modi even when you marginalise their pre-eminent regional party and steal its leaders.

– We have said this before, they do not understand the Sikhs. They see them essentially as Hindus if sartorially different. Fact is, they are, and yet they aren’t. But understanding subtleties isn’t exactly the Modi-Shah BJP’s strong point.

– They never appreciated the deep Left influence among the Punjab peasantry, going back to the early 20th century, since even before Bhagat Singh. Sikhism, the institution of the gurdwara, has a unique tradition of community mobilisation. Add to that the organisational skills and political savvy of the Left. That is what Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal face session after session.

– It is because of a combination of these that the Modi government didn’t bother to market the reforms ideas early on. You do not tell surplus-producing farmers of the Green Revolution states that the very regime under which two generations have prospered is broken, and make three laws to fix them.

– You cannot use force against the Sikhs. To put it more rudely, you can’t treat them like Muslims. And you can’t question their patriotism. You do the first, the entire country will protest. You do the second, the Sikhs would laugh at you and the rest of the country would ask what’s wrong with you. This crisis denies you all your usual weapons: Force, agencies, propaganda, hyper-nationalism and so on.

– And finally, there is the Modi-Shah BJP’s hallmark: Contempt for history. Because, you presume history of the Republic only began in the summer of 2014 and anything that happened before that was a disaster and not worth learning from.

Let’s discuss the seventh point in some detail. If the post-2014 BJP leaders had not been so caught up in the headiness of power and adulation, they would have asked somebody to fill them in on some earlier experiences of India. Besides all the supposed follies of Jawaharlal Nehru they’d been taught about in the “Sangh”. They would then have known how a supremely powerful leader, at the peak of her popularity, can go wrong and be forced to retreat.

Because then, Narendra Modi would have known how Indira Gandhi erred in 1973, by nationalising all of India’s grain trade. This was her socialist peak, she was riding her post-Bangladesh ‘Durga’ crest and could do nothing wrong. This is also when the economy, reeling from the ravages of war, her dictatorial socialism and then the oil price shock following the Yom Kippur War, was in a tailspin and inflation had reached 33 per cent. A good account of the period is found in historian Srinath Raghavan’s essay in Builders of Modern India, edited by Ramachandra Guha.

This was also when Mrs Gandhi had ushered in her perfect world — a Soviet-style socialist utopia in which prices of everything, including cars, were fixed. Business Standard’s editorial chairman T.N. Ninan described this period in this 2014 article, and called grain trade nationalisation Mrs Gandhi’s greatest folly.

The short version of the story is, she was persuaded by her deep pink counsels, especially her chief commissar and Planning Commission deputy chairman D.P. Dhar, that the best way to control prices was to take the markets out of grain trade by nationalising it. Of course, no public opinion was built. What’s the point of being a strong, supremely popular leader if you still have to do those tedious things?

This led to a disaster. Farmers, traders and consumers were all furious. Further, prices went up, grain shortages were back and farmers were driven deeper into poverty. The one person in her ‘system’ who saw the looming disaster and tried to caution her was a noted economist and, predictably, a Punjabi: B.S. (Bagicha Singh) Minhas, a graduate of Khalsa College, Amritsar, who also studied at Panjab University and got a PhD from Stanford. He knew the farming business and the farmer’s mind. But he was overruled.

This was the only major decision that Mrs Gandhi was forced to withdraw, when she had no political challenge. Once she blinked, it gave impetus to her opponents, and Jayaprakash Narayan’s Navnirman Movement picked up momentum.

We do accept the contrasts in the two situations. Mrs Gandhi tried to take the private markets away from farmers and lost. Modi is bringing more markets to the farmers, and they don’t want them.

In terms of the philosophical direction of the economy, the two situations are contrary to each other. But there is no contradiction politically. In each case, unassailable, supremely powerful and popular leaders failed to see their limitations. Mrs Gandhi, then, of 352 seats in the Lok Sabha; Modi, now, of 303.

Even in a classical dictatorship, like China or Russia today, there are limits to a leader’s powers. India is nowhere near that league. In a diverse democracy, there are also limitations to any leader’s popularity. That’s why leaders have to know the art of persuasion.

Which Modi knows well. That’s why his government talks of ‘nudge’ economics. Or, to put it more accurately, a ‘nudge’ approach to political economy. Modi did it where it was easy, as say with the ‘Give It Up’ LPG campaign, when much larger populations were involved, including his base. He neither enjoys the same popularity in Punjab nor the unquestioning trust that he’s used to in Gujarat and the Hindi heartland.

If his dispensation wasn’t so overconfident, if there was still a culture of his political aides and bureaucracy intervening with some counsel and caution, he might have understood that this situation was different. And the need for persuasion, nudge, preparing the ground. In politics, if your objective is only winning elections, just Chanakya neeti (strategy) might do. For governance, you need both Chanakya neeti and Ram rajya (listening to others, give-and-take). You can neither beat up the farmers into submission, nor dismiss them as ‘Khalistanis’. We cannot answer these questions. But it is evident that this ground work was missing.

It is from this lack of patience and non-understanding the limitations of personal popularity in Punjab that we face this looming disaster over farm laws. This explains the first six points listed by us.

This deserved to be the high, reformist point of Modi’s second term after a messed-up economy in the first. But, as we well know, what is economics in a democracy if not politics by another name?

This article has been updated to correct the fact that D.P. Dhar was the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission during grain trade nationalisation and not P.N. Haksar. The error is regretted.


If and When Supreme Court Upholds the Constitutional Validity of these laws ,the protests would loose their steam

The Rest of the Work that remains is convincing the Non Punjab Farmers that these laws are meant to increase their income

Punjab is firmly in the vice like grip of "Arhatiyas or Middlemen "

Politically , socially and economically
They are the dominant group
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
6,724
4,185
Should have done before enacting the law. The narrative has shifted too much.

From what I have read , Maharashtra and MP farmers are supporting these
Laws

It is a battle of Narratives

If the opposition can convince the farmers , that the Govt is cheating them then BJP's 2024 election is fooked up
 

vstol Jockey

Professional
Dec 1, 2017
5,960
11,626
New Delhi
From what I have read , Maharashtra and MP farmers are supporting these
Laws

It is a battle of Narratives

If the opposition can convince the farmers , that the Govt is cheating them then BJP's 2024 election is fooked up
These so called farmers are cheats of the nation and even of govt repeals the laws, they will still not go back. Its not the farm laws but the Chinese aggression along LAC which has brought them to Delhi. The entire lot of these guys are communists who have taken money from CCP.
 

Ankit Kumar

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
2,566
2,351
Bangalore
So my TDS will keep on going to waste. We are not willing to improve as a society. For the youngsters in high school right now, either you become a government servant and take bribes or get out of this country.
 

Saaho

Senior member
Dec 27, 2019
1,926
1,402
Earth
So my TDS will keep on going to waste. We are not willing to improve as a society. For the youngsters in high school right now, either you become a government servant and take bribes or get out of this country.
Welcome to the club.


"धोती शिवरिंग is real!"
 

Ankit Kumar

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
2,566
2,351
Bangalore
Welcome to the club.


"धोती शिवरिंग is real!"
In the interst of Environment the Government should blast all the modern infrastructure away. Scarp every car.

Lets all go back 250 years and live in mud houses with thatch roof and use bullock carts.
If you are a big company, your loan gets waived off, if you are poor and unwilling to grow economically then again your loans will get waived off and you will get everything free.

But if you want to grow economically, build assets, pay taxes to the government so that you are ensured good infrastructure, security and other necessities.

Alarms, you are an idiot.
 

Optimist

Active member
Oct 31, 2021
139
102
Australia
So my TDS will keep on going to waste. We are not willing to improve as a society. For the youngsters in high school right now, either you become a government servant and take bribes or get out of this country.
I was talking with a Panjabi girl, on a student visa. Who will get a PR on completion. She told me her entire school class has gone overseas, mostly Canada, US and Australia. I was amazed at that. For many years we have immigrated India's nurses and doctors. There are obviously other professions. We don't have unskilled immigration. It's a complete brain drain. It will affect Indian society.
 

jetray

Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
1,601
1,007
India
I was talking with a Panjabi girl, on a student visa. Who will get a PR on completion. She told me her entire school class has gone overseas, mostly Canada, US and Australia. I was amazed at that. For many years we have immigrated India's nurses and doctors. There are obviously other professions. We don't have unskilled immigration. It's a complete brain drain. It will affect Indian society.
Worse thing is that the India provides better education wrt cost but ends up not utilizing them well. Imagine investing in ppl for 14-15 years and then they go on to be productive & pay taxes to some foreign country. (Even though there might be remittances sent back it does not help the country much in long run)

Then we buy products from the same foreign companies where Indians get employed , it is a double whammy.
 
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Tatvamasi

Well-Known member
Jan 5, 2018
902
874
India
So my TDS will keep on going to waste. We are not willing to improve as a society. For the youngsters in high school right now, either you become a government servant and take bribes or get out of this country.
Ironically, this proves the process of democracy is working. The majority didn't want this (positive) reform. Also, the government failed to convince them.

Welcome to the club.


"धोती शिवरिंग is real!"
Obviously, You are an NRI. Go outside and bitch about India. Work against anything positive in India.

Farm laws are the perfect example.
 

Tatvamasi

Well-Known member
Jan 5, 2018
902
874
India
I was talking with a Panjabi girl, on a student visa. Who will get a PR on completion. She told me her entire school class has gone overseas, mostly Canada, US and Australia. I was amazed at that. For many years we have immigrated India's nurses and doctors. There are obviously other professions. We don't have unskilled immigration. It's a complete brain drain. It will affect Indian society.
Its a characteristic of the state. A few decades back Punjab was the most progressive and high-growth state now its at the bottom.
 

jetray

Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
1,601
1,007
India
the government failed to convince them.
Exactly govt can only expect ppl's cooperation when ppl think it will benefit them. But the problem here is that govt ( & their invisible corporate supporters) image is seriously dented that every good decision gets a push back. To make things worse there is a huge line of ppl waiting to jump onto the opportunity to oppose any thing govt does.
 

Tatvamasi

Well-Known member
Jan 5, 2018
902
874
India
A car might be working, doesn't mean it's going to take us to the destination we eventually want to.
Its the only working car in this part of the world. We have already chosen the car and there is no going back.

Exactly govt can only expect ppl's cooperation when ppl think it will benefit them. But the problem here is that govt ( & their invisible corporate supporters) image is seriously dented that every good decision gets a push back. To make things worse there is a huge line of ppl waiting to jump onto the opportunity to oppose any thing govt does.
Socialistic instincts cannot be fixed in a generation. And the RW is not helping be demonizing everyone who questions.
 

Ankit Kumar

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
2,566
2,351
Bangalore
Exactly govt can only expect ppl's cooperation when ppl think it will benefit them. But the problem here is that govt ( & their invisible corporate supporters) image is seriously dented that every good decision gets a push back. To make things worse there is a huge line of ppl waiting to jump onto the opportunity to oppose any thing govt does.
BJP if succeeded anywhere since 1990s it's more or less the 39% which keeps voting for them. And BJP needs to stand for those 39% and be a Hindu, be a Nationalist and a Capitalist. All three equally important. Anything else done to impress the other 61% will never ever work for them. This is the sad reality.
 

jetray

Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
1,601
1,007
India
A car might be working, doesn't mean it's going to take us to the destination we eventually want to.
you are half correct , motion is often confused for progress. But does the current govt know how use the democratic & parliamentary procedures efficiently to make things work ?