Viewpoint: India Can’t Have True Reform in Agriculture If We Keep Hitching It to Rural Development
By Mekhala Krishnamurthy
While everyone has been focusing on the Narendra Modi government’s budgetary allocations to agriculture, its location in the Budget has just as much to tell us about how limited the understanding of the problems and possibilities of Indian agriculture has actually become.
By placing agriculture and a wide-ranging 16-point action agenda to double farmers’ incomes in the very opening sections of the longest Budget speech ever delivered, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman might have justifiably felt that she was giving agriculture and India’s farmers pride of place (or plate) on her government’s political and economic agenda. However, this choice reflects quite the opposite: the systematic misrecognition and marginalisation of agriculture and its roles in Indian economy and society. Rethinking these assumptions is critical if deep and farsighted agricultural reforms are to have a real chance.
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