[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Indian state brutality and paranoia (Sainath); IMF neoliberal backslaps Modi

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Feb 10 08:49:31 CET 2021

(IMF out of touch, as ever, even with a supposed "feminist icon 
from India serving as chief economist: “/These particular farm laws were 
in the area of marketing. It was widening the market for farmers. Being 
able to sell to multiple outlets besides the Mandis without having to 
pay a tax. And this had the potential to raise, in our view, farmers’ 

February 9, 2021

  Rich Farmers, Global Plots, Local Stupidity

by P. Sainath <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/p/>


Cutting off water and electricity to lakhs of human beings, exposing 
them to serious health hazards by doing so, having police and 
paramilitary barricade them into cut-off zones while imposing 
dangerously insanitary conditions on them, making it almost impossible 
for journalists to reach the protesting farmers, punishing a group that 
has already seen perhaps 200 of its own die, many from hypothermia, in 
the past two months. Anywhere in the world this would be seen as 
barbaric and an assault on human rights and dignity.

But we, our government and ruling elite are preoccupied with far more 
pressing concerns. Such as how to smash the conspiracy of dreaded global 
terrorists Rihanna and Greta Thunberg aimed at defaming and humiliating 
the greatest nation on earth.

As fiction, that would be insanely funny. As reality, it’s merely insane.

While all of this is shocking, it should not be surprising. Even those 
who bought the slogan “minimal government, maximum governance” should 
have figured it out by now. The real deal was government /muscular 
maximus/ and maximal gory governance. What is worrying is the studied 
silence of so many otherwise articulate voices, some of whom have never 
failed to spring to the defence of power and cheerlead all such laws. 
You’d think /even they/  would disapprove of this everyday trashing of 

Every single member of the union Cabinet knows what really stands in the 
way of a resolution to the ongoing farmers’ protests.

They know there was never any consultation with the farmers on the three 
laws – though the peasants were seeking it from the day they knew these 
were being promulgated as ordinances.

There was never any consultation with the states in the making of these 
laws – though agriculture is in the state list in the Constitution. Nor 
was there any with opposition parties, or within Parliament itself.

BJP leaders and union Cabinet members know there were no consultations – 
because they were never consulted themselves. Neither on this, nor on 
most other critical issues. Their task is to roll back the waves of the 
ocean when so ordered by their leader.

So far, the waves seem to be doing better than the courtiers. Massive 
protests in Uttar Pradesh. West UP farmer leader Rakesh Tikait is a far 
more imposing figure today than he was before the government tried to 
demolish him. January 25 saw a very large farmers’ protest in 
Maharashtra. There were also significant ones in Rajasthan, in Karnataka 
– where tractor rallies were barred from entering Bengaluru – Andhra 
Pradesh and elsewhere. In Haryana, the government struggles to function 
in a state where the chief minister seems unable to attend public meetings.

In Punjab, almost every household identifies with the protestors – many 
itching to join them, some already in the process of doing so. For the 
urban local body polls due on February 14, the BJP struggled to find 
candidates. Those it does have – old faithfuls – are wary of using their 
own party symbol. Meanwhile, an entire generation of youth in the state 
has been alienated, with very serious implications for the future.

It’s an astonishing achievement of this government that it has united a 
huge and unlikely spectrum of social forces, including some traditional 
adversaries like farmers and /arhtiyas/  (commission agents). Beyond 
that, it has also united Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Jats and non-Jats, even 
the Khaps and the Khan Market crowd. Impressive.

But the now quiet voices spent two months assuring us this was “just 
about Punjab and Haryana.” No one else was affected. It didn’t really 

Funny. When last verified by a committee not appointed by the Supreme 
Court, both Punjab and Haryana were a part of the Indian Union. You’d 
think what happens there matters to all of us.

Those once-articulate voices also told us – and still do in more hushed 
tones – that these were all “rich farmers” resisting reforms.

Fascinating. The average monthly income of a farm household in Punjab, 
according to the last NSS survey, was Rs. 18,059. The average number of 
persons per agricultural household was 5.24. So monthly per capita 
income was about Rs. 3,450. Lower than the lowest paid employee in the 
organised sector.

Gee! Such wealth. The half was not told unto us. The corresponding 
figures for Haryana (farm household size 5.9 persons) was Rs. 14,434 
average monthly income and roughly Rs. 2,450 per capita. Sure, these 
abysmal numbers still place them ahead of other Indian farmers. Such as 
those, for example, from Gujarat where the average monthly income of the 
agricultural household was Rs. 7,926. With an average of 5.2 persons per 
agricultural household, that’s a monthly per capita of Rs. 1,524.

The all-India average for the monthly income of an agricultural 
household was Rs. 6,426 (about Rs. 1,300 per capita). By the way – all 
these average monthly figures include income from all sources.  Not just 
from cultivation, but also from livestock, non-farm business and income 
from wages and salaries.

This is the condition of the Indian farmer as recorded in the National 
Sample Survey 70th round ‘Key Indicators of Situation of Agricultural 
Households in India’ (2013). And remember the government has pledged to 
double those farmers’ incomes by 2022 – in the next 12 months. A tough 
task, which makes the disruptive interference of the Rihannas and the 
Thunbergs that much more annoying.

Oh, those rich farmers at Delhi’s borders, who sleep in metal trolleys 
in temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or less, who bathe in the open in 
5-6 degrees – they’ve certainly improved my appreciation of the Indian 
rich. They’re a hardier lot than we thought.

Meanwhile, the Committee appointed by the Supreme Court to talk to the 
farmers, seems unable to talk to itself coherently – one of its four 
members quit before its first meeting. As for talking to the actual 
protestors, that has happened not at all.

On March 12, the Supreme Court-appointed committee will have exhausted 
its two-month mandate (about the maximum life span of insect pollinators 
so crucial to agriculture). The committee will by then have a long list 
of people they did not speak to, and a longer list of people who would 
not speak to them. And perhaps a short list of those they should never 
have spoken to.

Every attempt to bully and intimidate the protesting farmers has seen 
their numbers swell and grow. Every act aimed at discrediting them has 
gained great traction in the establishment’s captive media – but 
achieved the reverse on the ground. The scary thing is that this will in 
no way deter this government from intensifying those efforts which will 
get more authoritarian, physical, and brutal.


Many in the corporate media know, and many within the BJP know even 
better, that perhaps the most insurmountable hurdle in this dispute is 
personal ego. Not policy, not even that promises made to the richest 
corporations have to be kept (they surely will be, some day). Not the 
sanctity of the laws (which by the government’s own admission could do 
with multiple amendments). Just that the king can do no wrong. And 
admitting to a mistake and worse, retreating from it, is unthinkable. 
So, no matter if every single farmer in the country is alienated – the 
leader cannot be wrong, cannot lose face. I find not a single editorial 
in the large dailies even whispering this, though they know it is true.

How important is ego in this mess? Consider the response to a simple 
tweet by a rhythm & blues star on the internet shutdowns: “Why aren’t we 
talking about this?” When the debate around it descends to 
‘aha-Modi-has-more-followers-on-twitter-than-Rihanna,’ we’re lost. 
Actually, we were lost when the Ministry of External Affairs led the 
/kamikaze/ counter-terrorism heroics on the matter, inspiring a 
patriotic Celebrity Light Brigade to make its own cyber charge. (Into 
the Digital Valley of Doom, where tweets volleyed and thundered, 
undeterred by the rising gloom, rode the noble Six Hundred).

The original offending tweet, in simply wondering why we’re not talking 
about this, took no explicit stand or side – unlike statements from the 
IMF’s chief economist and director of communications, both of whom have 
publicly praised the farm laws (while adding ‘cautions’ about ‘safety 
nets’ – with all the sincerity of nicotine peddlers in the statutory 
warnings they stamp on their cigarette packs).

Nope, an R&B artist and an 18-year-old teenage climate activist are 
obviously the dangerous ones here, to be dealt with firmly and 
uncompromisingly. It’s reassuring to know the Delhi police are on the 
job. And if they move beyond global conspiracy to discover an 
extra-terrestrial dimension to the plot – today the globe, tomorrow the 
galaxy – I shall not be amongst those who mock them. As one of my 
favourite sayings floating about the net goes: “The surest proof of the 
existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence, is that they’ve left us alone.”

/This //article/ 
first published on /The Wire/./


  India’s new agriculture legal guidelines have potential to boost farm
  revenue: IMF’s Gita Gopinath, India News News

TGI News by TGI News 
January 27, 2021 

For weeks, farmers’ unions have been protesting in and out of doors the 
nation’s capital, demanding the withdrawal of just lately handed laws 
they are saying, with out proof, was designed to profit corporates.

*Also learn | Farmers run riot in Delhi on Republic Day*

There have been a number of rounds of talks with the federal government 
however the stalemate continues.

A faction of farmers imagine that these payments will severely 
impoverish them however the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a 
special standpoint.

IMF’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath has mentioned that India’s 
recently-enacted agriculture legal guidelines have the potential to 
extend farmers’ revenue.

“Indian agriculture is in need of reforms. There are multiple areas 
where the reforms are needed, including infrastructure,” the Chief 
Economist of the Washington-based world monetary establishment mentioned 
on Tuesday.

The three agri legal guidelines, enacted in September final 12 months, 
have been projected by the Indian authorities as main reforms within the 
agriculture sector that may take away middlemen and permit farmers to 
promote their merchandise wherever within the nation.

Gopinath, in response to a query on the brand new farm legal guidelines, 
mentioned: “These particular farm laws were in the area of marketing. It 
was widening the market for farmers. Being able to sell to multiple 
outlets besides the Mandis without having to pay a tax. And this had the 
potential to raise, in our view, farmers’ incomes.”

“That said, every time reform is put in place, there are transition 
costs. One has to make sure and pay close attention that it’s not 
harming vulnerable farmers, to make sure that the social safety net is 
provided. Clearly, there is a discussion right now and we’ll see what 
comes out if it,” she mentioned.

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