In the design and conduct of public policy, designing an exclusive system is easy and straightforward. A team of technocrats and bureaucrats would do a rather neat job. However, creating an inclusive system needs hard work, perseverance, and a certain political commitment. India’s agricultural policy, specifically in the context of the three contentious farm laws, is a case in point.
The three farm laws, which were cleared by the Parliament last September, are about agricultural markets. The Union government claims that these laws will usher in “reforms”—by attracting private investment, modernizing supply chains and expanding storage and warehousing. But the farmers, who have been sitting in protest on Delhi’s borders for nearly 10 months, contest these claims. It is ironic that while the Union government insists on a specific policy pathway,
R. Ramakumar is an economist and a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.