Nobel Prize winner and Economist Abhijit Banerjee on Thursday said that the ongoing farmers’ protest is less to do with the content of the farm laws passed by the Modi government and more about lack of trust between the farmers and the government. It is notable that Abhijit Banerjee was an advisor of the Rahul Gandhi and Congress party ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking on the ongoing protests by ‘farmers’ along the Haryana-Delhi border against the three farm laws introduced by the Modi government that is causing massive inconvenience to the public in the national capital, Abhijit Banerjee highlighted that the protests have nothing to do with provisions in the three laws passed by the government to bring in changes to the existing procurement structure in the country but because of the distrust between farmers and the government.
Essentially, Banerjee hinted that the three reforms introduced by the Modi government are per se not problematic, however, also subtly made a political point saying that the alleged ‘distrust’ between the farmers and the government is the cause for such a protest.
“The farmers are essentially acting out of suspicion of the govt’s motive. The crisis is about trust. It’s really not about the content of the legislation. It is interesting to see how long Haryana withstands pressure from its farmers,” Abhijit Banerjee said. He added, “It is not so much that you could not make a case for getting rid of many of these very old-fashioned institutions we have in the agriculture sector, we absolutely could, but the lack of trust is massive”.
Banerjee said all the negotiations with farmers eventually will have to go through some state governments. “This (the farm legislations) is a move at a time when states are feeling economically threatened because the economy is not delivering as much as it was earlier,” he said.
Abhijit Banerjee had helped Congress in formulating NYAY scheme
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections 2019, then Congress had announced in its manifesto a “Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme”- formally called Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), to five crore ‘poorest families’ covering 25 crore people by assuring them a guaranteeing minimum income of ₹6,000 per month or ₹72,000 a year. Abhijit Banerjee was credited as one of the economists who had advised the party in formulating the scheme.
Although the scheme proposed a guaranteeing minimum income of ₹6,000 per month or ₹72,000 a year, the exact amount promised kept changing with every rally of Rahul Gandhi. Sometimes it became ₹ 72,000 annually, sometimes it was ₹ 72,000 monthly.