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'Minimum Support Price, No Awareness, Subsidy at Machinery, Problems of Farmers' Raised by Ex CJI P. Sathasivam at KJ Chaupal

As former CJI P. Sathasivam was invited at Krishi Jagran as a chief guest to KJ Chaupal, countless benefits, problems, and solutions were discussed with the eminent figures serving the agriculture industry including, Dr. KML Pathak, former DDF, Animal Science, ICAR, Mr Bimal Kumar, Head Strategic Affairs, Sonalika group, Dr. V. V. SADAMATE an Eminent Agricultural Extension Specialist & Former Adviser to Agriculture, Planning Commission, GOI.

Aysha Anam
Krishi Jagran Founder MC Dominic, Former CJI P. Sathasivam, Krishi Jagran Director Shiny Dominic (L-R). (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)
Krishi Jagran Founder MC Dominic, Former CJI P. Sathasivam, Krishi Jagran Director Shiny Dominic (L-R). (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)

The 40th Chief Justice of India and the former Governor of Kerala, Justice P. Sathasivam, graced Krishi Jagran’s KJ Chaupal meeting as a chief guest. MC Dominic, the visionary behind this Agri media house, commended Justice Sathasivam for his remarkable contributions to the agricultural sector, emphasizing his deep-rooted connection to the farming community. “He is a guide, inspiration, and an icon for the agriculture industry,” Mr Dominic said.

Born to a farmer, Justice P.Sathasivam is taking care of his farming fields alone. “My grandfather and father did the same,” he said. He is a man who aspired to become a doctor, but landed in arts and law colleges, as his father said, “How is it possible for a farmer to spend so much in one go.”

Justice P. Sathasivam’s Dynamic Career Span

He was just 45 when he joined Madras High Court as a Judge. He was the 40th CJI with a span of nine months of tenure. He has made pathbreaking judgments like Reliance gas, where he stood in support of the public sector, and the 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast case, which was "the biggest case ever in history, popular Bollywood actor Sanjay was imprisoned. The case took 14 years of trials and 1200 pages of report." Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case was also under him, “I do not think a person who had killed the prime minister of India should be released, but India was part of an international treaty, under which asking for a mercy petition is the right of all convict,” he said.

He reminisced how he noticed a blind man inside a courtroom full of lawyers while had heard him. Representing disabled persons in India, the man managed to have increased the quota from 3% to 4%. Justice P. Sathasivam ensured that every government building should possess a ramp along with a staircase and elevator. He coined the term 'specially-abled' for disabled persons, “because persons with some disability, possess special qualities, talent, which make them specially-abled,” he corroborated his stance. He gave a reasonable argument in the MP fund case and was complimented by all parties during that time. He is the one who heard the petition of a person who did not want to vote for anyone in his constituency. Hence, NOTA came into origination, “so that at least next time these political parties choose better candidates,” he said.

The revolutionary voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was also brought into the picture of the Indian voting system by him.

While serving Kerala as a Governor, he asked the government to provide 5 crore price money and a certificate to the best-performing university in the state.

September 5, 2019

This date seems to be deeply engraved in his mind for many reasons. Leaving his duties as Governor, he started pursuing farming in his village. A person who has practised prudence without giving the slightest chance to corruption to penetrate the system under his judiciary is now rectifying the issues faced by the farmers in the country.

Hailing from a remote village in Tamil Nadu, he recognizes every minute shortcoming and benefits that are reaching to the land of farmers.

Benefits for farmers in Tamil Nadu

  1. There is free electricity for all farming activities. “I do not pay a penny for the electricity I use in while performing the farming chores,” he informed.
  2. There is no land tax.  “Village administration collects only Rs 2 per acre of land tax. And, I have not yet been asked to pay anything. Maybe the officials are doing it on my behalf,” he giggled and said.

Minimum Support Price for Farmers: List of Reforms to Ease Agri Industry

A learned, educated, and well-versed man like him is saying that it is just next to impossible for a farmer to make a profit. “I am not getting even the expenses made in the production.” Although he is getting his pension, complains about the 30% tax that he pays on that as well.

Certainly, the man who comes from the ground acts like a very down-to-earth and simple man. 

“I get only Rs 5 per piece of coconut and the middlemen make all the profit,” he said. Currently, he owns over 40 acres of land, in which he is growing coconut, sugarcane, and bananas. He said that farmers must get a minimum support price.

He mentioned that he can easily approach PM Narendra Modi, who himself requested him to accept the position of Kerala Governor, to inform about the issues of farmers. Although the Central government has launched 10 schemes for the farmers, awareness is missing. Mr. P. Sathasivam has suggested to the PM to “publish these 10 schemes in their mother tongue in a booklet of at least 10 pages and do a door-to-door delivery to every farmer.”

"Farmers should get good seeds and fertilizers."

“The expensive machinery and AI-based tools available to the farmers in this age and time need to be provided at subsidized rates,” he said. He also said that the Government should not undermine farmers’ problems.

Also, there have to be systematic methods of storing surplus. “Government should make products like juices and store these goods to sell for a longer period of time.”

In a nutshell, “a farmer gets no profit, despite getting free electricity and land,” he noted.  He also examined that the youth tries to escape building a career in the agriculture industry. “There is an enormous shortage of labour at agriculture fields,” he said.

"The prime reason why this generation does not want to indulge themselves in the agriculture industry is no profits because the minimum selling price is so low, no one wants to see a career in this industry," said Dr. KML Pathak, who became a social media sensation during the time of Covid when dairy farmers were throwing their milk on the roads of Bundelkhand as there was no storage and he ideated them to make ghee for storing it for a longer period of time.

Amid these problems of farmers, Mr Bimal Kumar, Head Strategic Affairs, Sonalika group, announced that he has launched his own company which makes drones for farmers to check over “speed, accuracy, precision, and less contamination,” he said.

Moreover, another person, who was sitting and hearing Mr. P. Sathasivam, Mr Sanjay Sethi, Executive Director, Plant Based Food Industry Association, said, “There is manpower, money power, and power of knowledge and we are empowering farmers with awareness and knowledge.”

He said from 150 start-ups to over 1000 plant-based companies across the globe, youngsters are really changing their choices. “Farmers too can produce oats and soybean milk,” he said.

Dr. V. V. SADAMATE an Eminent Agricultural Extension Specialist & Former Adviser to Agriculture, Planning Commission, GOI, mentioned how farming can be modernized, which includes technical work on the top, inputs about services on the second, and fertilizers third.

Summing all the issues in one sentence, he shared a reform, “farmers should connect with the market,” he said. He talked about marketing integration in order to bring in better prices. “Farmers coming to markets have better price discovery,” he concluded.

Mamata Jain, Group Editor & Head of Strategic Alliances, thanked everyone for joining the session. Former Governor P. Sathasivam was presented with the G20 edition of Agriculture World magazine.

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