A tweet thread.
Re: #FarmersProtest There is a great deal of ignorance and misinformation about the freedoms currently available to Indian farmers and big business houses., even before the #farmLaws were dreamt up by the #ModiGovt that is causing so much turmoil in India.
Take one example. When McDonald's (NYSE: MCD; Market Cap USD 158 Bn) opened in India, they found the Indian potato was not the right kind for their french fries. The Govt did not allow the import of American or European potatoes. What did they do?
Read on:
McDonald India went to the enterprising Indian farmer and did a deal "Grow this variety of potato, to these specs and we'll guarantee to pay this price and what's more we'll pick up your crop come what may". No #mandis no #APMC. #ContractFarming with guarantees.
For example, see this story from 2012- 8 years ago. McCain Foods was going to cultivate 8000 acres for a potato crop that would go straight from farm to processing centers to McDonald outlets to consumers as fries. economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/a…
Just in case that old news website does not open here is a screenshot. McCain already had 4,000 acres under potato in 2012 and were hoping to double this by 2014 in Gujarat alone.
Fast forward to May 2019, and there is this excellent review by Jayshree Sengupta in a piece for the Observer Research Foundation, presenting both sides of the argument for ciontract farming. orfonline.org/expert-speak/h…
The key thing here is that the mighty PepsiCo, - yes Pepsico - that great multinational Company headed up by India's own darling CEO Indira Nooyi - (NASDAQ: PEP; Market cap: 195 Billion USD, stock price 141 USD today up 1.2% on the day) wanted to sue small farmers.
That attempt by a giant Corporation to screw over poor farmers may have been amicably settled but not without a fight. Now you can see why India's savvy and knowledgeable farmers are not gung-ho happy about unbridled contract farming.
But here's the point. It's a contract! Two parties, One a big corporate - used to lawyers, accountants, and educated extension officers. The other, a small but proud farmer, who knows the land, the weather, the crop. "Behind every grain of rice is a bead of sweat"-the farmers
The company's agents could not tell a potato plant from a bean plant but they sure can enforce a contract, refuse to buy the crop on a technicality, He can mark down the crop quality and enforce a lower price. The role of the Government in this scenario is to even the scales.
Instead what do these #FarmLaws do? They take away the crutch from the struggling farmers - treating everyone like the tiny number of big and rich farmers and leaves them at the mercy of the corporate buyers and contract enforcers. Even worse:
As P Sainath points out it leaves the farmer with no legal recourse except to appeal, in the vent of a dispute, to the executive. See. this by P Sainath: ruralindiaonline.org/en/articles/an…
"No legal recourse, No civil court, no proceedings shall lie against any Governmenrt or officer" These are chilling words. It's like saying, "Farmer v. Big Corporate, and there'll be no Umpire." It will be a blood sport. And you wonder why the farmers are angry?!
Instead if the Government started with the interests of the small farmer they would have had a very different law. The MSP would be retained as a last resort price floor, Corporates would have to commit in advance to what and how much they wished to buy in each state.
Market regulation and intervention when markets fail the small players - that is the fundamental role of Governments. Not enabling the big beasts to play games. Conceptually the MSP is no different from a minimum wage law.
The Govt should create such conditions that the Corporates are forced to use their entrepreneurial skill to make profits by adding value not by reducing farmers to slave labour.
Time then to scrap these laws and rethink the whole farm policy

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More from @GorwayGlobal

6 Feb
@Barristotle and I have formally written to the MP for Harrow East to point out the falsehoods and misleading statements in the infographic tweeted below. We asked him to consider the facts, and withdraw the tweet and apologise. Unacceptable for a British MP to spread falsehoods
It is an open letter so I shall tweet the contents of the letter as screen shots:
1. Image
2. Image
Read 7 tweets
6 Feb
Aaji Shukla in a remarkable, eye-opening analysis on the enormous political significance of Modi's Farm Laws miscalculation. Screenshots follow. thecitizen.in//index.php/en/…
Read 6 tweets
4 Feb
When looking at financial numbers the context and change over time is important. So a fiscal deficit in Year 20X1 of 5% can only be understood by looking at the time trend over a few years. So here's some time trend charts about #Budet2021 for #India.
1st the fiscal deficit Image
The fiscal deficit is the gap between A)Total expenditure by the Government and B) the sum of revenue receipts (tax + non tax), loan recoveries, other receipts(these are mainly PSU disinvestments). This is the gap that has to be plugged by the Government borrowing money
#Budget2021 forecasts that the interest the Govt expects to pay for accumulated Govt debt (+ any new borrowing in-year) at 8.1 lakh crores). This makes most sense when seen as a proportion of revenue expenditure. Image
Read 5 tweets
25 Jan
Writing a column, 12-15 00 words is never easy. especially if you want to be factual, comprehensive, fair, and logical. And especially if you want it to be read widely. I faced this difficulty in rising to the challenge posed by @1amnerd when he invited me to explian this:
This was the Lancet paper of 21 Jan from an @BharatBiotech and @ICMRDELHI team reporting their phase 1 trial of BBV152 (#Covaxin). Ordinarily, a technical paper of this kind would excite interest only among PhDs and others in the same field of science.
The reason there was a story in it at all was that it was widely misrepresented on both social and mainstream media. The subliminal suggestion was that the 03 jan decision to authorise #Covaxin was after all vindicated.
Read 18 tweets
16 Jan
Having said what I did in this tweet thread linked below, it may well be the case that #Covaxin would have proved itself in a proper trial. But we'll never know now.
If the phase 3 trials do come up with an efficacy estimate it will be tainted by the #Bhopal trial centre irregularities. Hopefully they will scrap that centre and sequester all the trial data from Bhopal. If they start including data from this "clinical trial mode" roll-out...
They'd have a problem judging whether any protective effect is due to #Covaxin or due to the low number of cases reported from India anyway. That is the fundamental reason why efficacy can only ever be measured in placebo RCTs anyway.
Read 4 tweets
16 Jan
I actually have sympathy for @BharatBiotech's scientists and the volunteers who took part in their clinical trials so far. They have been let down by bad science and poor regulatory processes. The company should never have submitted #Covaxin for regulatory approval w/o Ph 3 data
That mistake -the original sin, if you like- has led to a series of mis-steps, errors, cover-ups, linguistic contortions, and lack of clarity. The regulator shd have held the #Covaxin approval request and said, "we'll look at it when you have at least some preliminary ph 3 data"
Instead, they clubbed their approval of 3 separate products into one press release. That was Mistake No 3, driven I suspect by the desire to have a wholly Indian offering (Covishield though made in Pune was already labelled, don't forget as an #Angrez product.
Read 13 tweets

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