Letters on October 2 issue

Letters on October 2 issue
Fair assessment of the farm laws

The article by Sudha Narayanan ("The Three Farm Bills", 2 October 2020) is a fair assessment of the over-emphasized, over projected remedy, that the three new acts on agriculture are expected to bring in.

I am extremely concerned about a handful of agri-tech firms, largely owned by foreign venture funds taking proprietary control of the farmer database, geotagging their one acre farms and digitally dominating these farms. They seldom invest in any infrastructure and are on an asset light model, largely deploying their foreign investment in data collection and proprietary trade platforms. Warehousing infrastructure by Indian private retail bigwigs is non-existent.

It will be interesting to see who invests in supply chain infrastructure, once the state investment is marginalised.

Vijayraghavan, Cornell-Sathguru
A lack of consultation

The issues in the three farm bills flagged by Sudha Narayanan could have been deliberated upon and resolved if the government had put out a public paper on the subject and had held wider consultations with domain experts and the opposition.

The real issue is the arrogance of this government that they know everything. This is nothing new. We have seen it before: demonetisation, faulty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, the Citizenship Amendment Act, the strictest lockdown with 4 hours notice, and a stimulus without direct monetary support.

Deepak Desai
A comprehensive view of agricultural marketing in India

Sudha Narayanan's piece on the three farm bills is a brilliant piece by any standard.

It gives a comprehensive view of the past and present functioning of agricultural marketing in India, which therefore makes it easy to place the present bills in context, and assess the claims made by the government about their benefits.

Given Narayanan’s deep understanding of the agricultural marketing situation, I hope she will follow this up with a piece that also explains how these bills affect the political interests of those at the forefront of the agitation. As we know, several of them control the situation as commission agents, and in the past or even now, farmers were never in the picture.

Padmini Swaminathan, Chennai
Acknowledging the lack of sensibility among us elite

Reading Harsh Mander's 'A Moment for Civilisational Introspection', I acknowledge with remorse the lack of sensibilities among us, the better offs, while the disadvantaged section of people across the country went through the turmoil and displacement of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown.

Just like those among us who took the initiative to lend a helping hand with empathy and conviction, we too must make every effort to strive towards a cultural revolution to develop a more compassionate society. We must overcome our entrenched caste, class and religious biases to become more humanitarian in our behavior.

In solidarity l remain.

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