Kudos for your excellent editorial, “Mere tweaks will not help” (November 23). It is indeed sad that 70 years after independence, we still don’t have a grip over our agriculture policies and the welfare of farmers, who account for a very sizable percentage of our population. All governments have waxed eloquent about this crucial issue for our country but little seems to have been achieved as far as: (i) The lives and welfare of the farmers are concerned; and (ii) our tragic over dependence on imported cooking oils. For a country that takes pride in its green and white revolutions — and infinitely much more on the technology front-— it is a matter of shame that we still import 70 per cent of our cooking oils and have almost accepted the gory fact of regular farmer suicides. Everyone knows that farm loan waivers is not a solution — the mess in Maharashtra is testimony if one is needed — and yet we keep taking recourse to it in state after state.
Similarly knee-jerk reactions like increasing import duty on edible oils or fixing minimum export price of onions etc do not solve anything. It is unfortunate that short-term vote-bank policies have dictated such measures. The present government at the Centre — and in many states — is ideally suited to find long-term sustainable solutions for the perennial problem. Let there be a comprehensive review of our agriculture policies including, if thought fit, laws regarding land holding, mechanised farming, corporate land banks etc. All this needs to be done without thinking about electoral gains or losses.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to: The Editor, Business Standard Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg New Delhi 110 002 Fax: (011) 23720201 · E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org All letters must have a postal address and telephone number