The rallies by farmer groups in front of the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) in Bangkok, Suphan Buri and Chiang Mai to show their support for the government's rice pledging scheme should not come as a total surprise. It is a normal phenomenon in a democracy where every individual is entitled to free expression.
But the farmer groups' anger vented against the 100-plus Nida academics and students who earlier petitioned the Constitution Court to challenge the constitutionality of the rice pledging scheme seems to be misplaced and unwarranted. In other words, the groups appear to have misunderstood the real intention and the wish of the petitioners.
Like many other critics of this populist scheme, including Central Bank chairman Virabongsa Ramangkura, the Nida group wants the project amended to plug all the loopholes so real farmers will be the only ones that benefit from it _ and not corrupt politicians and officials, unscrupulous millers, rice smugglers as well as some exporters with good political connections who appear to have reaped a windfall from this project.
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