Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Swarna Bharat Party

Farm laws should have been amended, not repealed – piece in Dainik Jagran by Anil Ghanwat

I wrote this piece for Anil Ghanwat (he approved the final version) in English and it was translated by Dainik Jagran into Hindi (PDF) – published today.  Both versions below.


The farm laws should have been amended, not repealed

Anil Ghanwat, senior leader Shetkari Sanghatana and President, Swatantra Bharat Party

While industry was partially liberalised under IMF’s compulsion in 1992, onerous agricultural laws still continue to choke farmers at every step.

It was with great hope that things will now finally change, that I welcomed the farm ordinances of June 2020. While the farm laws of 2020 fall short of liberating India’s farmers they are a step in the right direction. Most farmers welcomed the laws: I spoke in their favour, so did Rakesh Tikait on 4 June 2020. But Marxist forces soon spread misinformation, making fictitious claims about the laws that had no basis in fact.

In January 2021 I was appointed to the Supreme Court Committee on Farm Laws. The Hon’ble Court directed that we submit our report in just two months. I dropped everything else and complied with this sudden demand on my time. But the Court in its wisdom has ignored the matter entirely. In this delay, my voice was effectively curbed. Only now – after the government has withdrawn the laws – have I been able to speak out again.

We must not lose the reform impulse represented by these laws. I have requested the Hon’ble Court to direct the government to follow a robust, consultative policy process with a White Paper to be produced for agriculture. I have also requested the Court to release our Committee’s Report so it can play an educational role in public debates.

The Committee did a massive amount of consultation in the very short time we were provided. We interacted with 73 farmer organizations of which the overwhelming majority supported the laws. Less than a handful rejected the laws, and a few wanted some amendments. The repeal of the laws has been entirely unfair to the silent majority of farmers, who may not have the wherewithal to come to Delhi and block roads for months on end.

Based on inputs we received, the Committee recommended that the laws be retained with amendments that address legitimate concerns. Illustratively, the laws could have been amended to allow flexibility to the States so long as they promote effective competition in agricultural markets and do not violate the “one nation, one market” principle. Alternative mechanisms for dispute settlement could have been considered.

We considered that agricultural infrastructure should be strengthened, along with support for cooperatives and farmer producer organizations. Mechanisms for closer interaction between farmers and bulk buyers should be created. We considered that a national council on the lines of the GST Council be established to support implementation. Most importantly, given the chaotic manner in which the laws had been introduced, we felt that large-scale communication was required to allay the apprehensions of a relatively few members of the farmer community.

The farm laws fiasco is attributable to the fact that India does not follow a robust policy development process of the sort followed by developed nations. Policy shortcuts invariably derail policy or lead to bad policy.

With the repeal of the farm laws India’s farmers are back to square one. We continue to live in a heavily regulated system that effectively makes farmers into government’s bonded labours. Much of the regulation is sheltered in Schedule 9 of the Constitution: away from judicial scrutiny. The control these laws give to the government allow it to make random interventions into exports and exports, each time reducing the profits of the farmers. Not just the farmer, even the environment has been harmed because of these laws.

The majority of Indian farmers want market and technology freedom. Strangely, some antediluvians with socialist fantasies are demanding a legal mandate for guaranteed MSP. Making MSP legal for some crops will provoke farmers of all other crops to demand a similar arrangement, apart from the fact that a guaranteed MSP is simply not implementable. India will be bankrupted on an even bigger scale than the Fabian socialists did to us in 1992. I do not oppose MSP in principle but I believe we must use the most effective policy tool to address various policy objectives.

For over 40 years Shetkari Sanghatana, founded by the great farmer leader Sharad Joshi, has fought for reforms of farm laws, but Sharad Joshi also established Swatantra Bharta Party in the tradition of Swatantra Party, with the blessings of Minoo Masani. Indians need to be liberated from the cutches of excessive government control. We need to revert to our culture of Shubh Labh, which considers honestly-made profit to be good. Let all Indians profit from their innovation and labour. The core message of our tradition is Jahaan Ka Raja Ho Vyapaari, Vahaan Ki Praja Ho Bhikhari. In Ram Rajya the king does not operate banks, trade in foodgrains or produce cement. Kautilya’s Arthashastra elaborates upon free trade and good regulation as key pillars of prosperity.

Unfortunately, India’s governments continue to ape Karl Marx’s hatred for profit, thereby choking innovation and entrepreneurship, crushing the dreams of a billion Indians. Governments only focus on their allotted Dharma: justice, security and some infrastructure, and leave the rest to the people.


कृषि सुधार के लिए बनाए गए तीनों कानूनों को वापस लेना देश के किसानों के बड़े वर्ग के साथ अन्याय

अनिल घनवट [अध्यक्ष-शेतकारी संगठन]

अंतरराष्ट्रीय मुद्रा कोष के दबाव से उद्योगों को तो 1992 में काफी हद तक स्वायत्तता मिल गई थी, लेकिन दुष्कर कृषि कानून आज भी हर कदम पर किसानों की राह रोक रहे हैं। जून, 2020 में आए कृषि अध्यादेशों से इस दिशा में बदलाव की उम्मीद जगी थी। इन कानूनों से किसानों को स्वायत्तता तो नहीं मिल रही थी, लेकिन उस दिशा में कदम जरूर बढ़े थे। ज्यादातर किसानों ने इनका स्वागत किया। चार जून, 2020 को राकेश टिकैत ने भी इनके पक्ष में बात की थी। लेकिन कुछ ही समय बाद वामपंथी ताकतों ने नए कानूनों को लेकर भ्रम फैलाना शुरू कर दिया। उन्होंने मनगढ़ंत दावे किए।

जनवरी, 2021 में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने कृषि कानूनों पर कमेटी गठित की। मैं भी इसका हिस्सा था। अदालत ने दो महीने में रिपोर्ट देने को कहा था। कमेटी ने उपलब्ध समय में व्यापक परामर्श किया था। हमने 73 किसान संगठनों से बात की थी। इनमें से ज्यादातर ने कानूनों का समर्थन किया था। बहुत थोड़े संगठन इन्हें खारिज कर रहे थे और कुछ संशोधन चाहते थे। कानूनों को वापस लेना किसानों के बड़े वर्ग के साथ अन्याय है। उनके साथ यह अन्याय इसीलिए हुआ कि उन्होंने दिल्ली आकर सड़कें जाम नहीं की थीं। हमें इन कानूनों के दम पर सुधार की ओर बढ़े कदमों को पीछे नहीं जाने देना चाहिए। मैंने अदालत से अनुरोध किया है कि सरकार को कृषि क्षेत्र पर व्यापक परामर्श के साथ श्वेत पत्र लाने का निर्देश दे। मैंने अदालत से कमेटी की रिपोर्ट भी सार्वजनिक करने का अनुरोध किया है, जिससे यह रिपोर्ट चर्चा में आ सके और इस पर भी विमर्श हो। कमेटी की सिफारिश है कि कानूनों को कुछ संशोधनों के साथ बनाए रखा जाना चाहिए।

हमारा मानना है कि कृषि क्षेत्र में इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर मजबूत किया जाना चाहिए। साथ ही सहकारी संगठनों एवं किसान उत्पादक संगठनों को सहयोग किया जाना चाहिए। किसानों एवं थोक खरीदारों के बीच संपर्क का मैकेनिज्म तैयार होना चाहिए। जीएसटी काउंसिल की तरह कृषि क्षेत्र के लिए भी राष्ट्रीय काउंसिल बनाया जाना चाहिए। कृषि कानूनों की विफलता के पीछे कारण यह भी है कि भारत में विकसित देशों की तरह नीतियां बनाने की कोई स्थापित प्रक्रिया नहीं है। नीतियां बनाने में शार्टकट से या तो नीति पटरी से उतर जाती है या गलत नीतियां बनती हैं।

भारत के ज्यादातर किसान बाजार और टेक्नोलाजी के मामले में आजादी चाहते हैं। आश्चर्यजनक बात है कि समाजवाद की कल्पित धारणा के साथ कुछ पुराने विचार वाले लोग एमएसपी की गारंटी का कानून बनाने की मांग कर रहे हैं। कुछ फसलों के लिए एमएसपी की गारंटी देने से अन्य फसलों के किसान भी इसी तरह की मांग करेंगे, जबकि यह सब जानते हैं कि एमएसपी की गारंटी व्यवहार्य नहीं है। इसे लागू नहीं किया जा सकता है। इस दिशा में कदम बढ़ाने से भारत 1992 से भी ज्यादा बुरी आर्थिक बदहाली में फंस सकता है। मैं सैद्धांतिक तौर पर एमएसपी का विरोध नहीं करता हूं, लेकिन हमें ज्यादा प्रभावी नीति अपनानी होगी।

भारतीयों को सरकार के अत्यधिक नियंत्रण से बाहर आने की जरूरत है। हमें शुभ-लाभ की अपनी संस्कृति को अपनाना होगा, जिसमें सत्यनिष्ठा से कमाए गए लाभ को ही अच्छा कहा गया है। सभी भारतीयों को उनके नवोन्मेष एवं श्रम का लाभ मिलना चाहिए। हमारी परंपरा कहती है कि जहां राजा व्यापारी हो जाएगा, वहां प्रजा भिखारी हो जाएगी। राम राज्य में राजा बैंकों का संचालन नहीं करता है, अनाज की खरीद-बिक्री नहीं करता है और सीमेंट का उत्पादन नहीं करता है। कारोबार जनता का काम है, सरकार को व्यवस्था उपलब्ध करानी चाहिए।

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Keeping track of some of the videos and writings on Anil Ghanwat’s work









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Results of the recent elections: Swarna Bharat Party now has it first two elected seats



Dear all, I’m delighted to announce that SBP now has our first ever electoral victory – two seats in the Bhadohi district local elections. In addition, our President Pankaj Das contested the Gauhati West Assembly seat.

This might seem a very minor performance compared with the big parties, but remember that we are fighting against the greatest possible odds. We gave no one any money, no bribe, only a promise of the rule of law and of justice. Our budget was not even a thousandth of the black money budget of the big parties.

These results show that liberty is not just wishful thinking for India but that there is a real demand for change from the voter – if only the voter is shown why things are so bad under India’s corrupt and socialist dispensation.

SBP has been working in Bhadohi for over 4 years. It all started with one person: Anil Sharma. Likewise, Pankaj Das is just one person in Assam since the past two years but after experimentation with various approaches, he has been building deep grassroots links with villages and talking to small businesses. The party is becoming widely known in Guwahati, since he also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election.


Contested 10 seats. Two wins, three 2nd positions (runner-up), one 4th position, four losses.

1) Kshetra Panchayat:
– Rajnish Dubey won
– Prakhar Dubey won
– Rohit Pander was defeated by only 28 votes

2) Zila Panchayat
– Asha Devi Kol Mirzapur got 7200 votes as the runner-up. Samajwadi party won with 9,200 votes
– Virendra Pushpkaar secured fourth position with 2731 votes
– Rohit Gautam got 1362 votes
– Buddhiram Bind got 1131 votes
– Shiv Narayan Prajapati got 860 votes

3) Gram Pradhan
– Radhey Shyam Maurya got 386 votes as a runner-up,was defeated by only 36 votes
– Mahesh Maurya, SBP’s District President for Bhadohi got 170 votes

Pankaj Das, SBP’s National President contested the Gauhati West seat and polled 582 votes.

Some of you know me for over 20 years. You recall my commitment in February 1998 to create a liberal party for India. I’m proud to be part of this brilliant result that tells me that my goal has been realised. We can only grow bigger and more successful.

We now have a party that is actively taking the message of liberty to the people – despite an initial shoestring budget. We can do more: much, much more, together.

If you want India to become a free nation, contribute at: – and become a candidate/ help find good candidates.

(Btw, I’m now also involved in setting up a new liberal party for Australia:




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My whooshkaa podcasts – backup

I started my podcasts on Soundcloud but then reached the “free” limit. Then moved to Whooskhaa. Now Whooshkaa is making this a entirely paid service and I don’t see any value in paying for my podcasts – I have been bleeding money (and I’m not including opportunity cost) since I decided to fight for liberty in India (and continue to do so) – and now am also being forced to fight for my basic liberty in Australia. There’s only so much one can do.

So this is a backup of my podcasts assuming I’m unable to find a way to transfer them elsewhere in the coming weeks. I do assume these will remain on Apple for some time before they are potentially deleted, but here’s a backup on my Siteground server. If space runs out there, I’ll transfer these files to some free service in due course.

25. Why I have resigned from my Victorian public service role and what I plan to do next
In this I summarise the reasons for resigning my role as an economist in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, and outline what I’ll do next.

Date: 11 September 2020 – the audio file.

24. SBP’s strategy for 2020 and beyond
In this podcast Sanjeev Sabhlok summarises the three key strategies that were agreed through extensive discussions at SBP’s national conference held in New Delhi on 23 and 24 November 2019. These are:

1. UP #1 (or Assam #1 and so on), India #1
2. Change the mind of the nation (not just build an organisation)
3. Focus on the youth (make elders into mentors, and strictly ignore the “educated” leftists)

Date: 24 December 2019 – the audio file.

23. Refinements to the grassroots message of liberty
During my recent trip I had the opportunity to address tens of different types of audiences. The result of this has been a significant further development of the script that SBP can use to communicate the message of liberty to the people of India. I’m hoping that the Bhadohi team will update their script and thereafter train booth level workers in the revised script.

Dated: 2 February 2019 – the audio file.

22. Mega loot under Modi’s regime: Millions of missing and unused toilets
Modi started a “program” (that one simply can’t agree with) to physically build toilets in people’s homes in villages across India. There is a lot of evidence that just like any other socialist program, half these are missing and the other half are dysfunctional and not being used.

I’ve visited and inspected many of these toilets during my recent trip in India. The “Modi Toilet Scandal” if one may so call it, is huge but not surprising. All socialists are fundamentally corrupt.

Date: 1 February 2019 – the audio file.

21. SBP is now gaining significant traction on the ground. The party has arrived.
In my visits to Guwahati and Bhadohi over the past 10 days I’ve confirmed that the seed of liberty that was planted in India around 2 years ago has now found roots and is has not just become a seedling but has become a small plant. It is still dwarfed by the big parties but it is very clear that the party’s message is starting to resonate with a lot of people. I’ll separately provide the message that we are telling the people, so you’ll see how far we have reached in our messaging.

Dated: 1 February 2019 – the audio file.

20. Rahul Pandit’s message to the residents of Malkajgiri Assembly Constituency
It is my pleasure to publish Rahul Pandit’s message for the constituents of Malkajgiri. He is the first person in a very long time to take the message of liberty to the people of India. In this broadcast Rahul Pandit thanks the residents and promises to work with them to support them in the coming years.

Date: 13 December 2018 – the audio file.

19. Comments on feedback received regarding the draft blueprint for the Abhinav Bharat Abhiyan (अभिनव भारत अभियान)
A few weeks ago I had put out a draft agenda for the Abhinav Bharat Abhiyan. I’ve received a comment on this which I’ve published on my blog at

I’m grateful for feedback and the opportunity to clarify issues. I will appropriately consider relevant issues in the next draft which I’ll prepare in the next few days.

Date: 1 November 2018 – the audio file.

18. Three simple reasons why India’s culture was anti-socialist and how Nehru ruined India
In this podcast (made in Delhi on 13 October 2018) Sanjeev Sabhlok explains in Hindi how India’s culture was always anti-socialist. Three very simple examples confirm beyond the slightest iota of doubt why India resisted the idea of government undertaking anything beyond its fundamental roles. But Nehru destroyed India’s own culture and ideas and adopted foolish socialist ideas. The results are there for all to see.

Date: 13 October 2018 – the audio file.

17. Let’s build energetic leaders and avoid debates that waste our time
In this talk, recorded on my smartphone in India, I outline key strategies for SBP to build local teams. It is a total waste of time to to debate with the middle class. They are effectively brain dead, apart from living comfortable lives.

We need to add the sum of total energy in the local team, not the numbers. One Lenin or Paresh Barua or Kanhaiya is better than a thousand half-hearted middle class “follower”.

Let’s learn from revolutionary movements to build a movement for liberty in India.

Date: 6 June 2018 – the audio file.

16. SBP’s interactions with Shetkari Sangathana, Swatantra Bharat Party and the so-called Liberal Party of India

In this talk, Sanjeev Sabhlok discusses issues that have come up over the past two months as the party grows and engages with others. Some of these engagements have been positive and helpful, others not so much. But this is how this tiny effort will evolve – one person at a time. When there is so much corruption in India from top to bottom, and so little interest in freedom and good governance, it is important for anyone who thinks of himself as liberal to fall behind SBP’s manifesto.

Date: 25 April 2018 – the audio file.

15. Request to my Assamese friends to join Swarna Bharat Party
In this talk I speak in my rusty Assamese to my friends from Assam and invite them to understand and join Swarna Bharat Party, India’s only party that can eliminate corruption and bring great prosperity to India.

Date: 15 March 2018 – the audio file.

14. The formula for Swarna Bharat Party’s success
In this podcast, Sanjeev Sabhlok summarises five steps to guarantee SBP’s electoral success. These include: (1) start from outside the big cities and focus on rural areas first; (2) cut out all middlemen (e.g. “activists”); (3) make unplanned trips to rural areas – go with a mike and camera and stop wherever you find enough people to talk to; (4) solidly rehearse and follow a pre-planned script to deliver your message; and (5) come back and review your experience and improve your talk and communication till you become a master leader. Thereafter, many things will fall in place, e.g. rallies, workshops, finding new leaders for neighbouring constituencies.

Date: 6 February 2018 – the audio file.

13. A short song that expresses the demand for good governance and justice – created at the grassroots by the SBP Bhadohi team
In this episode, Sanjeev Sabhlok, senior leader of Swarna Bharat Party, presents a wonderful short song created by the Bhadohi SBP team. Lyrics are by Rabi Kant Bharti and Rais Ahamad. The song has been sung by Mahesh and Pallav Sharma.

Date: 5 February 2018 – the audio file.

12. Update – and ideas about an upcoming Leaders Workshop
In this podcast, Sanjeev Sabhlok talks further about his key findings about India’s upper middle class and middle class and how most of them are not suitable to fight for liberty. He then discusses how leaders can be found, and talks about the steps being taken to find grassroots leaders. He invites all listeners to decide whether they are leaders or followers, and if they are followers, to support the leaders.

Date: 23 January 2018 – the audio file.

11. Recalibrating India’s liberal political strategy
I have been working on the liberal political project for India for almost 20 years now. During this period, some things have succeeded and some things have not. In this talk I discuss the learnings from this experience and propose a strategy that is more likely to succeed, going forward.

Date: 7 January 2018 – the audio file.

10. Let’s get the government out of running hospitals in India
It is a great myth that the government should provide health services. In this podcast, Sanjeev Sabhlok examines the role of government in our health and shows that government should only support the poor and cases of traumatic emergency. In these cases, as well, the government must not directly provide any health service, but facilitate and coordinate as appropriate.

Date: 25 November 2017 – the audio file.

9. We need For-Profit schools in India and the government to get out of the provision of education
In this talk Sanjeev Sabhlok talks about the colossal failure of education in India (and in fact in many parts of the world) and how this can be fixed. They key is to get rid of many common myths about the role of government in education. Sanjeev explains the work and findings of James Tooley and outlines how Swarna Bharat Party will completely change the system to dramatically improve its quality and availability

Date: 16 November 2017 – the audio file.

8. Why India has such rotten infrastructure compared with China
In this podcast, Sanjeev Sabhlok of Swarna Bharat Party explains why India has such pathetic infrastructure and why it will continue to be in such a bad shape without basic reforms of governance. And no, please don’t ask World Bank or IMF for advice, since these people have no clue about the basics of governance.

Date: 4 November 2017 – the audio file.

7. No, Adityanath, you must build the Ram statue with your own money
Sanjeev Sabhlok argues against the idea of government funding of Ram temple, and calls BJP’s “secularism” as fake secularism. BJP opposed pseudo secularism, but its own version has turned out to be entirely fake.

Date: 29 October 2017 – the audio file.

6. Stop wasting time on economic reforms, first learn about the principles of governance
Various Indian “intellectuals” spout a lot of puerile nonsense regarding “economic reforms”. Yes, India needs economic reforms but most critical are governance reforms, without which India will remain a lame duck Third World country. We need to learn from Chanakya and we need to learn from Singapore, China, Australia, UK and other countries. The principles of accountability are totally missing in Indian governance. Without accountability we will remain a banana republic.

Date: 5 October 2017 – the audio file.

5. Why Modi’s Swachh Bharat program was destined to fail
I have long shown why not only Swachh Bharat but every single policy objective of the Modi government will fail. These things require detailed understanding of governance systems which the Modi government (or any other socialist party in India) simply does not have. India will do well to understand the work of Chanakya, who was a past master of governance. Instead of idle blabber about our “ancient culture” we need solid concepts that are consistent with modern science and economics.

Date: 4 October 2017 – the audio file.

4. Why India is a basket case – and how to improve its governance system and public policy process
In this podcast (recorded in May 2017) Sanjeev Sabhlok elaborates on how good public policy is made in countries that have a good governance system. India can succeed as a nation only by emulating the world’s best policy processes.

Date: 30 September 2017 – the audio file.

3. India’s childlike fascination with the IAS
This podcast by Sanjeev Sabhlok, senior leader of Swarna Bharat Party, is a wake up call for those who have never questioned why India still has the IAS,and why it follows the administration machinery designed 250 years ago by India’s colonial masters. Sanjeev explains why the IAS is guaranteed to be incompetent and outlines the model of governance that will actually work.

Date: 23 September 2017 – the audio file.

2. Why BJP was guaranteed to fail miserably
A lot of people are very unhappy with BJP’s performance. In this episode, Sanjeev Sabhlok notes that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When not a single thing has changed since the Congress regime, why are people expecting different results? He explains why we need to ask questions about our governance system before we can begin to understand why merely changing one socialist party and getting another will not make any difference. He outlines why the typical “causes” of India’s poor performance (e.g. population, low IQ, irrational culture) do not explain any of this poor performance.

Date: 20 September 2017 – the audio file.

1. Hello folks, everything begins with the mind. There is a need to question everything.
In this talk Sanjeev Sabhlok introduces this podcast and talks about how India needs to start asking questions about everything.

Date: 13 September 2017 – the audio file.

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