By Muhammed Shafeeque
Lack of analytical discussions over the economic affairs during Modi regime was the final sake of National Democratic Alliance and Bharatiya Janatha Party in upcoming elections. But unfortunately, things become more worse when some pioneer works and researches get published, dealing with the economic disaster of Modi government.
The book ‘Unmade India’ written by Yashwant Sinha, the former finance minister during Vajpayee government, was one among those works and it has clearly dilleneated the grass root level causes of economic disaster in India. According to him, the foremost concern of Modi government was to hide the real calculations of economic variables, and has also succeeded in erroneously interpreting those values. In worse, they have not yet revealed some variables like unemployment data, which clearly depicts the agenda of ‘veiling the facts’ of Modi government. It was unorganised and agricultural sector who were the real victims of illiteracy trap. In real, the kissan march of farmers to Delhi was not only in seek of solution to agricultural crisis, but also to know the reasons of being dispatched from the economic sector. It is vital observed that Indian economy cannot think about an economic reform negating the role of agricultural sector as 70 percentage of employment belongs to this sector. Thus to enhance a better economic development, it needs to revisit the current policies and market mechanism than enrolling in new solutions. In this spectrum, the book ‘Unmade India’ gets relevance as it not only describes the problems, but also solutions and philosophical axiom of each economic disasters in Modi period in India.
In his book he remembers one his travel memories to Ranchi district of Jharkand. He supposed to meet the farmers of cauliflower and potato in a rural area of the district. He clearly checked the market mechanism and way of production of farmers in those rural areas. It was found that, due to lack of storage houses, farmers were compelled to sell their products to a special group before reaching to the market. They were ignorant about the real market prices for their products. In real, it was brought in low prices than the available market price and the special team gains the profit, acting as a medium amid farmers and market retailers.
It is here vital to examine the market policies of Islamic finance to have better alternatives for market mechanism in agricultural sector in India. The following theorems in Islamic finance may bring relief to agricultural market mechanism in India.
1. When I was studying the Islamic traditional texts of jurisprudence, I was so confused about the applicability of an Hadees(prophetic literature), banning the form of Thalaqi Ruqban model of agricultural market. As narrated by Abu huraira(R), prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him has banned Thalaqi Ruqban mode of agricultural market(Bhukari-2162).it simply denotes a way of trade where farmers used to sell their products to a special group without knowing the real value of their goods in market. I was confused whether there will be any example for this trade in this time, as digital services has all facilities to have market literacy. But the teachings become still relevant when I saw the experience of Yashwant Sinha from Ranchi district of Jharkand. Even though the so called method of trade is valid (Swaheeh) in Shafi school of jurisprudence in Islam, it is marked as haram or forbidden, where the parties may get punished in hereafter world for cheating the farmers. Moreover, the jurisprudence empowers the court to give choice to farmers to retain their product, if cheating was well stated with proof. In Hanafi school of thought, farmers can get rid of the trade if he was cheated or not.
The so called rule of Islamic economy well states its focus on morality and business ethics in trade. As read from Yashwant sinha, today, some of the Indian people are not well aware about their market conditions. Even they have no choice to decide the price of their products. The price ceiling and price flooring mechanisms are not well adjusted in accordance with the real market demand and supply of their products. In Islam, it has the given the complete power to farmers to decide the money for their own products and they have complete access to market, as Islam ban any way of mal-practices dismaying this market mechanism like the banning of Thalaqi Ruqban mode of agricultural market. The government will only deal in pricing, when sellers cross the equilibrium condition prices for accomplishing their own needs.
2.The present economy of India is highly criticised in terms of agricultural welfare policies. It is found that, the loan avenues with interest are creating more burdens to the farmers and it results in the increasing number of farmer suicide. As MS Swaminathan, the father of green revolution, pointed out, it is vital here to bring the interest free loans to the farmers. A minimum income of 12 rupees per day will not be enough to meet the day to day needs of farmers in India. The bad debts incurred via farmers are not written of. Moreover, it is not discussed the basic cause of raise in farmers bad debts, which is incurred via interest. Thus an interest free loan service will surely bring peaceful atmosphere of lending to farmers.
3. As mentioned by Yashwant Sinha, farmers still not have entry to foreign market. They dont even know the real value of their goods in foreign market. What government and corporates do is what britisher’s followed via brain theory in India. They are buying the goods at low prices from the farmers and selling it at a profit outside the nation. Here, the ummath (global brotherhood) and opened market concept of Islam will bring positive changes in agrarian sector.
Indian agrarian sector is facing it’s greatest level of challenges. The crony capitalism followed by government is boosting the corporates and it is dividing the country more into poor and rich. As India is a secular country, the religious principles will not be a definite option. But as an alternative, Islamic finance principles still seems to be a possible remedy for the agrarian crisis in India.
Muhammed Shafeeque is a freelance writer and independent research intern in Islamic monetary policy at Jamia Markaz, Kerala, India.