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Decoding the Indian Agrarian Crisis and Fake Farmers Facade

Gaurav Tyagi believes half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

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farmers
An increasing number of farmers in India are committing suicide due to debt pressure. To tackle the issue, the government has come up with farm loan waivers. (VOA)

– By Gaurav Tyagi


New Delhi, September 18, 2017 : 
Indian and International media is full of articles regarding large number of farmers in India committing suicide due to debt pressure.

Instead of going to the root of the problem and analyzing the reasons for this phenomenon, Indian politicians have come up with an absurd idea of farm loan waivers.

Majority of Indian farmers under debt trap own very little land. Farming on such small piece of land is not economically feasible. This sector is highly unorganized. Most of the time, no planning is involved in cultivation, irrigation and harvesting.

Middlemen exploit farmers by buying their produce at a very low price and then selling it at a premium to the end consumers.

The irony is that a large number of Indian politicians claim huge incomes from agriculture while farmers starve.

In the province of Madhya Pradesh 24 farmers committed suicide this year over crop loss and failure to repay loans but 18 of the 20 cabinet ministers of the state have shown ‘agriculture’ as their main source of huge incomes.

How come politicians are earning in Billions through farming while the real farmers are struggling to make both ends meet?

Let’s examine the issue in-depth.

The income earned from agricultural land is exempt from income tax under section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act 1961. Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in India launder their money misusing the above income tax clause.

Normally, one cannot own agricultural land in India unless their forefathers have been agriculturists. Rich and influential people in the country obtain agriculturist certificates by ‘greasing the palms’ of the local land officials.

Farmers are not required to maintain detailed records in India. This provides an excellent loophole to pass off unaccounted and undeclared cash as agricultural income. It is done by showing fake sales cash receipts of agricultural produce, which like other certificates can be purchased in India through bribes.

Approximately 800,000 tax declarants in India state exorbitant amounts as agricultural incomes while filing their annual income tax returns.

This income, a whopping INR. 874 Lakh Crores was eight times more than the cumulative GDP of India for the financial years 2011 and 2012.

The average annual income declared by these assesses comes out to be anywhere between Rs. 30-80 Crores, on which they don’t pay any taxes.

It’s obvious that the aforesaid is not agricultural earning instead it’s declared as agricultural income by these assesses just to avoid paying taxes.

According to National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Delhi, with hardly any farming land has more farmers indulging in agriculture than Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal provinces.

Delhi’s so called ‘farmers’ received Rs. 22,077 Crores in agricultural loans during 2009. In reality, these ‘self proclaimed farmers’ are the owners of big farm houses on the outskirts of the capital.

The authorities are well aware of this malpractice. The Tax Administration Reform Committee in its report in November 2014 said, “Agricultural income of non-agriculturists is being increasingly used as a conduit to avoid tax and for laundering funds, resulting in leakage to the tune of Crores in revenue annually”

The Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley on 26th April said that the government of India does not plan to tax the farm income.

farmers
Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley, wikimedia

It reveals that Indian politicians cutting across party lines indulge in this malpractice, 27% of the winning Lok Sabha M.P’s in 2014 elections have declared wealth of over Rs. 1 Crore, majority of which has been mentioned as agricultural income.

Indian opposition politicians blackmail the political party in power by indulging in spurious farmer agitations.

If there is a bumper crop then the opposition parties start shouting that prices have crashed due to over-supply in the market. When farming cultivation fails due to the vagaries of nature, then they start throwing statistics about farmers suicide.

A group of ‘self proclaimed’ farmers from Tamil Nadu province camped at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the Indian capital city during March this year and indulged in cheap theatrics to draw attention to their protests.

The leader of this group, P. Ayyakannu is demanding that all farmers should be given loan waivers from banks and quoted highly inflated figures of farmers suicides in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government on 28th April, 2017 conveyed to the Supreme Court of India that no famers committed suicide in the state and clarified that a few, who took this extreme measure did it due to personal reasons.

Many farmers died due to old age and other medical issues. Ayyakannu clubbed all of them together to gather national as well as international attention.

ALSO READ Farmers welfare: What Indian agricultural sector needs to learn from Denmark?

Ayyakannu called off this whole play in Delhi on 23rd April after 40 days, when the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu came to meet these protestors.
He said that their group is giving a one month’s time-frame to the government in order to fulfill their demands otherwise, they would resume their protests in the national capital from May 25 on a bigger scale.

This impostor farmer leader Ayyakannu again came back to Delhi again on 16th July with his gang of ruffians to continue their drama.

Ayakannu as per media reports is not even a farmer, but a lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money through out of court settlements and personally owns hundreds of acres of land.

He and his bunch of hooligans all look quite healthy and well-fed. They don’t appear like destitute farmers as claimed by them.

Fake farmers like the aforementioned Ayyakannu are just the front faces of this façade in the name of farmers.

The remote controls of such characters remain in the hands of politicians, who use them for their narrow, selfish, corrupt agendas depending on the political situation at the state and national level.

The governments of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan & U.P. provinces have waived off agricultural loans worth Billions. This has set up a very bad precedent for the rest of the country.

ALSO READ Exclusive: Angry Farmers and Distressed Leaders

There are no ‘free lunches’ in this world. These half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

The following steps would go a long way in helping the real distressed farmers;

  • Scientific soil and climate testing should be done across all farming regions in India. Farmers can then be educated about which crops to grow profitably, in how many cycles; depending on the soil conditions and climate of the region.
  • Implement agricultural reforms like farming co-operatives, where farmers having small agricultural land holdings can be encouraged to come together and pool their land plus resources together.
  • Crop storage infrastructure should be built and maintained in every village so, that farmer can store their surplus produce rather than sell it desperately at a low price.
  • Crop insurance must be compulsorily introduced all over the country wherein, farmers by paying a nominal amount need not bother about their crops getting destroyed through excessive rain or drought.
  • Organic farming needs to be encouraged instead of over-reliance on chemical fertilizers. The food waste produced by an entire village can be easily turned into biodegradable compost, through innovative schemes like Vermicomposting.
  • Vermicast can replace fertilizers in the agriculture fields. This would save money for the farmer and provide high quality chemical free crops.
  • The APMC’s (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) have created a coterie of middlemen, who along with the complicity of these committees, form a virtual barrier between the farmer and the consumer, paying the former a pittance for his produce and charging the latter exorbitant amounts for fruits and vegetables.
    Vegetables are purchased at Rs. 2 or 3 a kg from farmers and then sold at 30 to 40 rupees per kg to urban consumers.
    This setup has been going on for decades in every town and city of India. Millions of urban Indians pay artificially higher prices and majority of farmers are underpaid due to this flawed system.
    The profits are made by middlemen, who do not pay taxes on these huge earnings. It is a common practice for them to store money in cash and not in banks.

These APMC’s must therefore be abolished immediately. Farmers should get direct access to the end consumer through the elimination of middlemen. This would ensure a better monetary return for farmers.

  • Private moneylenders in and around the villages charge a very high rate of interest from farmers. This unscrupulous sector should be bought under government regulation by bringing down the rate of interest to a rational level.
  • Government schools in villages are in shambles. They need to be upgraded so, that quality education at an affordable price is available to every child in the village.
    This would uplift farmers children through educational empowerment. It will enable them to make a transition to non-agricultural professions in future and enhance their family earnings considerably.

The aforementioned steps would cost the government far less than what it is losing in the absurd loan waiver schemes, which anyways don’t help the poor marginal farmer at all.
As regard dealing with the fake farmers of India.

The solution entails; no farm loan waivers and bringing the agricultural income above a certain threshold under the tax bracket.

The aforesaid measures would prevent the fake farmers façade spreading rapidly all over the country, while resolving the agrarian crisis of India by assisting needy farmers of the country.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China. 


 

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Rise of PM Modi and roar of subversive forces

To counter PM Modi opposition leaders are desperately getting aligned with anti-India forces

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Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Wikimedia commons)

– By Salil Gewali

If your son makes friendship with the difficult and longtime enemies of your own family/clan then how do you describe him and how do you feel about your future? Will it not be likely to open the door to countless tragedies? But in India, such thing is now being openly celebrated. For past couple of years or more the political leaders of certain parties have been taking the wrong step forward in having closed-door meetings with the leaders of Pakistan/China. What transpires among themselves is obviously against the present government and the nation’s fundamental ethos. Those leaders have often been heard to be sympathetic towards the terrorists or those who “roar against the nation” or against its patriotic values. Yes, those leaders jump forward to defend them who wreak havoc with the “peaceful citizens”.   Some leaders are apologetic that certain NGOs/media/religious bodies should not be harassed in the name of fighting the terrorists and ISIS. This is how country’s leaders defend the dangerous postures of dangerous outfits. Will this trend not invite greater troubles to the nation in future?

One wonders how the apex judiciary of the country just allow the political parties to pour out their pent-up anger before the leaders of neighbouring countries who are always aggressively in the combative mood. Why is the Supreme Court silent on such blatant subversive activities?

Very recently, one senior leader of the national party even scoffed at Prime Minister Modi by calling him a depraved being “Neech”. What are the criteria for one being morally low? Has PM Modi fallen short any standards of the integrity since he works sincerely hard and formulates innovative plans and schemes for the greater welfare of the nation? Well, has he not been constitutionally elected by the people of this country? Why the media is less aggressive and more defensive for those “transgressors” who wield daggers behind the cloak.

Whatsoever be the political dispensation at the center, such open rebellion against the government will not augur well for the nation and its 1.25 billion citizens.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter Handle @SGewali

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Interesting facts to know about Pranab Da : Ex President Mukherjee turns 82 today

Happy Bday Pranab Da! Here are some facts about our Former President Pranab Mukherjee

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Pranab Da
Pranab Mukherjee India Economic Summit 2009 (Wikipedia)

Ex-President Pranab Mukherjee turns 82 today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sends wishes

Today social media was flooded with good wishes for Mukherjee from all over the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wished Pranab Mukherjee and said he prayed for his long and healthy life. Pranab Da was born this day in 1935 in Mirati, a village in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in Birbhum district, West Bengal).

President Ram Nath Kovind also wished Pranab Da on Twitter. “Birthday greetings and best wishes for a long and happy life to former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, whom we affectionately call “Pranab Da”,” he tweeted. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also wished him long life and good health. He said he admired him for his statesmanship.

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President Mukherjee
Former President Pranab Mukherjee (Wikimedia Commons)

Here are few facts about Pranab Da to know on his birthday :

1.Before joining politics Pranab Da was a professor in Vidyasagar College in South 24 Paraganas in 1963.

2. It was year 1969 when Pranab Mukherjee got his break in politics under mentorship of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi also got him elected as a member of Rajya Sabha.

3. Pranab Mukherjee had also worked as a journalist with a local Bengali newspaper, named Desher Dak.

4. Pranab Mukherjee served as Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012 and the Congress party’s top troubleshooter before being elected as President of India.

5. While Presidentship, as the 13th President of India, he taught school children the political history of India on Teacher’s Day.

6. After the demise of Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee quit the Congress and formed his own political party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party.

7. Pranab Mukherjee has served as Finance Minister in both Pre-Liberisation and Post-Liberisation eras

8. After his appointment as the 13th President of India, Mukherjee has rejected seven mercy petitions including that of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab.

9. Pranab Da is also an avid book lover who used to read books for a long time and also written many books, including them the most famous was “The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years”.

May Pranab Da live a long and healthy life and keep guiding us! Wish him a very happy Birthday.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Absurd Theatrics of Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat Assembly elections campaign

Why Rahul Gandhi should do himself and the nation a favor by retiring from politics

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Rahul Gandhi Gujarat elections
Rahul Gandhi (Wikimedia Commons)

–  Gaurav Tyagi

Campaigning for Gujarat Assembly elections to be held in two phases on 9th (phase 1 voting day has passed)  and 14 th December is in full swing. The scion of the Nehru dynasty is trying all stunts to win Gujarat for his Congress Party.

He is making rounds of numerous temples in Gujarat proclaiming himself as a
‘Shiv Bhakt Hindu’. Indira married a Muslim man Feroze Khan in a London
Mosque. Many people in India are still ignorant about this fact and consider
Feroze a Parsi.

Feroze’s mother was a Parsi before marriage to Feroze’s Muslim father but since,
she converted to Islam, their son Feroze Khan was a Muslim.

Indira also embraced Muslim religion for marrying Feroze Khan. Her Muslim name
was Maimuna Begum but she kept this fact well hidden so, as not to harm her
political career.

Rajeev married Sonia Maino, a Catholic Christian. The real names of their children
are Raul and Bianca Maino. They both hold Italian Passports as well but in order
to fool Indians they have adopted the names of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.

It is incomprehensible that the aforesaid Raul Maino is claiming himself to be a
Hindu now, just to garner votes for Congress in Gujarat in the name of Hindutva.

Raul while addressing an election meeting in Porbandar on 24 th November said
that Prime Minister Modi gave Rs. 33,000 Crores to Tata Company for
manufacturing Nano model of automobiles. He went on to say that no Tata Nano
is visible on the roads of Gujarat.

When Tata Motors’ Nano manufacturing plant at Singur in West Bengal faced
protests in 2008; Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat invited the auto-maker
to Gujarat and extended benefits like allotting land at concessional rates and tax
exemptions for setting up the plant at Sanand near Ahmedabad.

A manufacturing plant of a big company like Tata assures employment
opportunities for the locals besides making the state a more attractive investment
destination for both domestic as well as foreign companies. Every Chief Minister
in India would have done what Modi did at that time.

Modi didn’t do anything wrong by providing a few concessions to Tata. Nowhere,
did he provide Rs. 33,000 Crores to Tata furthermore, Raul’s statement at the
rally while addressing Gujarati locals; “You lost land, electricity, water to Tata
Nano. And if you are not seeing any Tata Nano here, then, what type of magic is
this” is completely absurd.

Immediately after the signing of the Nano deal, Gujarat Industrial Development
Corporation took six villages under acquisition in Sanand. The government of
Gujarat at that time paid the price of land at Rs. 1200 per square meter.

It was four times higher than the market rate prevailing at that time, resulting in
the farmers of this region buying Audis and BMWs.

If the Nano model didn’t turn out to be a commercial success, what has Modi got
to do with it? Every big business house knows that not all of their products would
turn out to be profitable.

Mr. Maino also said that the amount of money Narendra Modi gave for
manufacturing Nano Cars was equal to the UPA government’s allocation for
funding MNREGA since Raul frequently likes to harp about the success of
MNREGA. Here are the facts;

This scheme only guarantees jobs for 100 days a year. A year has 365 days. What
about the rest of the 265 days? The jobs in MNREGA involve completely useless
and unproductive tasks like digging ditches and then filling them back with sand.
This MNREGA scheme is a total failure and waste of government funds.

MNREGA has turned majority of its recipients into lazy, good-for- nothing,
unemployables. This scheme must be abolished with immediate effect.

Raul tried to woo the fishermen of Gujarat by saying that Congress government
used to provide them with subsidy, which covered 25 percent of fishermen’s
expenses on diesel and petrol.

The question is; where and when would this useless subsidy culture end?

Congress is just playing ‘Poverty Politics’. These doles and freebies make people
indolent and uncompetitive thus preventing the progress of a nation.

Raul wants Indian masses to always stand infront of Congress politicians with
folded hands like the old “Maii Baap” culture pioneered by Nehru and later
followed by Indira and Rajeev.

This pattern continued until the only sensible Congress Prime Minister till now,
P.V. Narsimha Rao liberalized the Indian economy in the early 1990’s.

It’s highly disappointing that inspite of Raul Maino’s, relatively young age and
wide travels, he does not possess any constructive and innovative ideas to make
India a better place.

Raul should do himself and the nation a favor by retiring from politics. He anyway
does not need to work for a living and can enjoy the Billions amassed by his
ancestors through masquerading as fake Gandhis.

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China