Prof. Paramjit Singh Judge, president of the Indian Sociological Society, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf (Newsclick.in)
As the farmers from Punjab and Haryana camp outside Delhi, Prof Judge explains the nature of the agriculture crisis gripping Punjab, why the three farm laws will prove disastrous to them, and the Narendra Modi government’s indifferent attitude towards their problems.
Currently the president of the Indian Sociological Society, Professor Paramjit Singh Judge taught at the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, for well over two decades. Social Change Through Land Reforms is among the many books he has written. As the farmers from Punjab and Haryana camp outside Delhi, Prof Judge explains the nature of the agriculture crisis gripping Punjab, why the three farm laws will prove disastrous to them, and the Narendra Modi government’s indifferent attitude towards their problems. Its indifference has been driven by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s belief that the farmers’ protest will not harm its electoral interest. Excerpts from an interview with Ajaz Ashraf.
* What explains the Bharatiya Janata Party’s arrogantly indifferent attitude towards the ongoing protests against the three farm laws?
We must remember that the labour laws were passed before the farm laws. This suggests that the Modi government has been indifferent to both. In its model of development, there has been a total paradigmatic shift to a type of capitalist production in which agriculture is subordinated to manufacturing. The Modi government is insensitive to protests because it has come to the conclusion that it does not matter whether it works for the benefit of people. The Modi government believes that an election can be won by demonstrating its determination to take decisive decisions and implementing those. Never mind what the consequences of the decisions are.
* Isn’t this bad news for Punjab, which is said to be facing an acute agricultural crisis?
There is no denying that Punjab’s farmers are facing enormous problems, some of which are of their own making. The three farm laws, however, cannot resolve those problems. To understand this, you have to track the changes in the pattern of agriculture in Punjab. From 1981 to 2011, the Census figures show that the percentage of cultivators and agricultural workers of the State’s total workforce has been declining. In 2011, the percentage of cultivators was around 22.6% and the percentage of workers was roughly 16.3%, which is to say that those engaged in agriculture constituted just a little above 39% of Punjab’s total workforce.
In order to understand the shift away from agriculture, a distinction must be made between ownership and operational holdings. As far as ownership goes, most people own marginal or small landholdings. Many from the landholding class have either gone to cities to do white-collar jobs or have migrated abroad, which continue unabated, or they are too old to cultivate their land. Those who cultivate have small landholdings and often lease-in land from those who have moved out of villages. In other words, the total number of people dependent on agriculture in Punjab has reduced considerably since 1981.
Please click here to read more.
Image Courtesy: Indian Sociological Society, please click here to access
Newsclick.in, 29 November, 2020, https://www.newsclick.in/sociologist-judge-why-farmers-cannot-rely-modis-assurances?fbclid=IwAR1UB3PljPQQKX3TsNSVcZ_L9e33MiiznoDEZA4irgfFQfYaeeUKIF4f5pU
Tagged with: Agrarian Reforms Agricultural Income Farm Laws Farmers' Agitation Farmers' Income Farmers' Movement Farmers' Protest GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Green Revolution World Trade Organisation WTO