India should look at the US Presidential plan for economic recovery to come out of the crisis brought about by the COVID pandemic. Indian Prime Minister should draw inspiration from US President Joe Biden’s recovery plan, who has already directed the US Department of Agriculture to focus on their food sector.Addressing the media here today, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal stated that globally, all countries are now focussing on farmers and agriculture to help them emerge from the COVID induced economic crisis. India’s Ministry of Agriculture should draw inspiration from this globally accepted strategy by supporting farmers and the agricultural sector. During COVID, it was only the agriculture sector that was the saving grace, since the pandemic dealt a severe blow to the service sector and manufacturing.While factories were shut, and the service sector declined, farmers continued to work, and crops continued to be harvested despite COVID.“Indian farmers and particularly Punjab farmers need to be saluted for their resilience, and the BJP-led government, instead of honouring them decided to throttle the farm sector,” Manpreet Singh Badal said.While the world is investing more in agriculture, the Central Government in India is pursuing the notorious farm bills that will further plunge our farm sector into a crisis. The infamous farm bills of the NDA Government are not only counterproductive, but it also smacks of the arrogance of the BJP.Further, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has played a dubious role in assisting the BJP in an apparent attempt to divide farmers and made a sinister attempt to discredit the farmers’ movement.
To quote one example, it is surprising that when the minutes of the High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers were already in the public domain, AAP and BJP connived to cover their tracks and reiterate falsehoods in a press conference. The BJP conspired with its allies like the Akali Dal and sister concerns like AAP to create fissures among the farmers and confuse them about the real intent of the farm laws by raising fictitious issues.As the country celebrates its Republic Day, it is tragic that all institutions have come under attack one by one — the Election Commission, the judiciary, the executive, CBI, the media, and now the NDA has weakened even the legislature. “The hurry in which the farm laws were passed reflects how badly our legislature has been weakened,” Manpreet Singh Badal added.The Finance Minister suggested a twofold solution to the farm crisis. First, cancel the farm laws; and second, launch a massive federal investment into agriculture in lines of the global pattern to kickstart the Indian economy. If our primary sector and agriculture do not grow, the manufacturing and service sector will be unable to find its feet again.Citing the US recovery plan, the Punjab Finance Minister said that in the US, almost three crore Americans are facing a hunger crisis, and this includes 12 million children. To help them, the new US administration has prioritized agriculture and food over all other issues. In the five-point agenda, they have given the first priority to agriculture, followed by financial assistance, veterans and the unemployed.In India, the situation is worse compared to the US. Compared to two crore in the US, the numbers facing food insecurity are 20 crore in India. Today, India’s food insecurity system is ranked below Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, and it has grown worse during the pandemic. In such a situation, it is imperative that India's Government provide more support to farmers, rather than attacking their livelihoods.