With the DeMo demon given a quiet burial in Gujarat, it is a no brainer the upcoming elections will be fought on the farmlands. Among the states that will go to polls before the 2019 general election is Madhya Pradesh, a state that witnessed violent farmer protests. So is the case with Rajasthan whose farmers are in dire straits thanks to scanty rains, poor crop output and low prices for their produce.
Latest GDP data show a steep fall in farm output in the first half of the current fiscal. The government's minimum support price mechanism is of little help, as farmers are often forced to sell their produce below MSP. Ground reports suggest that the much-touted farm insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, has also failed to provide the right buffer.
Against this backdrop, there is no doubt the Modi government will come all guns blazing to win over the rural voters and this means the next Budget will be frontloaded with goodies for farmers.
While this is a welcome move, ET NOW believes it is time to look beyond loan waivers and fertiliser subsidies and come up with a comprehensive strategy to revive the agriculture sector.