Indian Farmers Going Through A Downturn


The land bill, even if passed, will impact a very small part of land held by the farmers in India. But a bad monsoon or an unfavorable global market, neither of which are the doings of the government, can drag the government down, because India is a democracy, and one of the ways voters vent their anger is by voting one way or the other. The farmers of India are going through a downturn right now, and the land bill has become the punchbag for it.

For Modi's year-old government, storm brewing in rural India
From the start of the crop season last October through March, India's farm exports have fallen more than 11 percent to $15 billion, as the impact of the global commodities glut has been sharpened by events like Iran's nuclear talks and a currency dip in Brazil......... The fall in exports has depressed domestic farmgate prices just as unseasonal rain damaged winter crops such as wheat, potato, chickpea and rapeseed. Farmers have little money now to buy seeds for the summer sowing, and meteorologists have predicted the annual June-October monsoon will be below par, which means the next crop may also fail. ..... some of the events that have led to the crisis are beyond the government's control....... Until last year, for example, Iran paid a premium for Indian sugar, soymeal, barley and basmati rice. Now, with the easing of some Western sanctions, Iran is looking to buy elsewhere........ Cotton exports have been hit by China's decision to abandon a stockpiling plan, while non-basmati rice shipments face headwinds after Thailand decided to run down its stockpiles....... On the other side of the world, a decline in the Brazilian real following a scandal at oil giant Petrobras last year has weighed on sugar prices, making Indian exports uncompetitive......... Meanwhile, the fall in global crude oil prices has depressed prices of grains and oilseeds used for biofuels. It also trimmed freight rates, making imports of commodities such as corn and soymeal from South America cheaper for Asian buyers........ A strong rupee - despite a fall last week - has further made India's farm exports uncompetitive and imports cheaper......... A major commodities trader has said the decline in agricultural exports could be as much as $5 billion, or nearly 20 percent, for the crop year to September, which would be the steepest on record....... In the villages, farmers struggle to understand why they are earning less. "How come prices of all crops are going down?" asked Anil Sathe, a farmer in Kamargaon who said he has had to start working as a part-time labourer to make ends meet........

Farming accounts for only 15 percent of India's $2 trillion economy but provides a livelihood to 60 percent of its 1.25 billion people. A crisis in the countryside would have severe political impact.

India's powerful farming lobby turns on Modi
Farmer Tarachand Mathur was one of millions of Indians who voted Narendra Modi into power last year, but the government's push to make it easier for big business to forcibly acquire land means he won't be backing the premier again. .... "The rain gods don't hear us and Modi has also turned deaf to our cries.".... "We thought Modi's government would address our problems, that is why we voted for him. But look what he is doing. We will not back him again," said the 70-year-old as he smoked a hookah pipe.
Rahul Gandhi asks ‘visiting’ PM to meet farmers
"Our PM is on a tour of India right now. He has come here for some days. ..... The insinuation that Modi was jet-setting around the globe while farmers were committing suicides forms part of Rahul's now-familiar attacks at the PM in his post-sabbatical avatar.
Land bill: I live for the poor, says PM Modi
Talking in the context of the government's affordable housing scheme and that land acquired under the new law would benefit the poor, Modi asked, "Who is going to live in them? Are industrialists going to stay there... will Mukesh Ambani live there?" ...... "the US President (Barack Obama) as also the head of the World Bank and IMF all accept that India is the fastest growing economy of the world".

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