Officials from central government (GOI) and regional office had a program with a farmers group in Nagaland. I did not attend the program but I was told when I sat with the same farmers for another meeting recently.
In that program, the officials from outside heard the plight of the farmers and offered to help through financial support to their work. How the farmers replied to that offer is something which needs our attention. They replied, ‘DON’T SEND US FUNDS. THEY WILL NEVER REACH US’.
It was not that the farmers did not need the money. But their reply said it all. They have lost faith in the State government. What they were saying is: the central government will sanction the money, the State politicians will take their share, the departments will have their cut, and some connected people (contractor, relative, party worker) will pocket the left-overs with fictitious documents.
That same group of farmers is now trying to search market on their own to sell their produce, without approaching the government. I am not sure if that is the wisest way to do it. The companies are way smarter than the farmers and it is doubtful if they will get a fair deal for their labor. Actually, those are the situations when the government should be protecting the farmers. The farmers decided to go that route anyway, rather than have nothing.
And a very interesting twist in the tale which one of them said is this. If they succeed in this venture and managed to make good business, the State government will try to rush in and join in getting a good name for itself.
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