Manmohan in kisaan ko karz maafi ki khaai mein daal do

Karz ka Liquid inhe jeene nahi dega

Maafi ka Oxygen inhe marne nahi dega

If this was not a serious matter of life and death one could have afforded a chuckle or two from this stale Ajit joke that Sonia Gandhi has heaped on the nation’s farmers.

To appreciate the seriousness of this fraud that is being passed of as “revolutionary” consider this

Half an hour after Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram wound up his Budget speech, Durgadas Desapawar of Boriijara village in Vidharba’s Yavatmal district swallowed a large dose of pesticide

The immorality of the Rs 60,000 crore debt waiver announced by P. Chidambaram becomes apparent from the sordid story of this farmer.

The cotton farmer had borrowed Rs 25,000 from the local cooperative bank. But he had also borrowed Rs 30,000 from private moneylenders because what he got from the bank was not enough to work his nine acres of land. Eventually, he could not repay both amounts because the price he got for his cotton was simply not remunerative enough. When Desapawar learnt that the loan waivers announced by the Finance Minister applied only to farmers with two hectares of land or less, and that he would not be eligible, he took the ultimate step

If Mr. Desapawar got the raw end of the deal, look who is celebrating.

The entire village of Garhar in UP’s Jalaun district is overjoyed.

 The instant gratification of the waiver apart the moral, legal and social implications are profound.

Now farmers here won’t have to go to jail, thanks to P Chidambaram. For years, farmers in this parched swathe of farmland haven’t been able to repay loans. As a result, they’ve had to spend as much time in courtrooms and even prisons as they do in their fields.

Not only are farmers and others being deluded into believing that it is ok to default but they are being actively encouraged by a person no less than Agrilcutural Minister and NCP President Sharad Pawar.

Mr. Pawar is now openly inciting not just defiance but is promising Institutional sanction in case of violence.

The fundamental problem with the waiver however is that it does little to address the core issue with farming.

To better understand this consider the loan amounts and the vicious debt cycle of this farmer from Vidarbha.

Kamalabai Gosavi Pawar, 46, whose husband, Gosavi, committed suicide on May 8 last year, just 22 days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to visit their village of Kelzhari in Yavatmal district, faces a grim future. Gosavi was neck-deep in debt and no money for the new farming season. He needed Rs 65,000 to work his seven acres. But he owed the bank Rs 50,000, which he had to clear first. So he borrowed Rs 50,000 from the village moneylender at a charge of Rs 2500 — for just one day. He cleared his bank debt with that money, got the crop loan and repaid the lender, leaving him with just Rs 12,500 in hand. And a new debt of Rs 65,000. There seemed no way out of the debt-trap.

That debts amounting to less than a lakh cannot be repaid despite multiple attempts at availing credit must make it clear even to the most uninformed amongst us that lack of credit is not the problem and waiving of debt is not the solution.

The fundamental problem lies with non-remunerative prices for agricultural produce.

Offstumped Bottomline: By encouraging irresponsible borrowing behavior the UPA Government is leading the Indian Farmer down the bottomless pit of non-remunerative agriculture. The UPA’s move is a cruel joke that keeps hopes afloat for the moment only to further sink the farmer the day after the debt is waived. It will likely not change the fundamental economics of farming. It will merely distort them.

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