But doesn’t talk of agriculture and its problems?

Prof.Amartya Sen

Agriculture, rural issues are assuming critical crisis levels. Further agriculture productivity farmers require lots of incentives including farming viability. So too panchayat raj reforms. Prof.Amartaya Sen can contribute a lot if he lends his moral prestige to such reforms, new ideas and polices.

Prof.Amartya Sen is a celebrity and an icon! The Nobel Prize winner in his wisdom and deep thinking has some insights of which Indians and farmers in particular must give some attention. Prof.Amartya Sen is a well-known economist and thinker and has the unique distinction of winning the Nobel Prize for economics, a unique recognition for an India, for an Asian and a universal citizen. Prof.Sen is closely known to the Vadamalai Media family, as both were students of Santiniketan, Visva Bharati University foudned by Rabindrnath Tagore. Sen family is closely associated with Tagore of whom Prof.Sen’s grandfather, Kithimohan Sen was a colleague and Sanskriti scholar.

We joined the Oxford University, UK on the urging and inspiration of Sen who went to Cambridge and made his name there.

Now, the point here is that in a recent lecture in Kolkata Prof.Sen had observed that land reforms under the CPI (M) rule in West Bengal produced a well-anticipated social and economic reform, though Prof.Sen also noted that the destruction of industry was its flipside.

Prof.Sen has always been an admirer of the Left rule in Bengal and though he now notes that compared to West Bengal Bangladesh Bengal has fallen behind it in terms of projecting a combined Bengali identity. Readers must know that Sen was born in East Bengal and grew up also there for some time.

Now land reforms are s sensitive subject. As a former student of Santiniketan which is located in the most backward district of Birbhum and Burdwan and also as one who travels often to Santiniketan from Kolkata by road we know well that how backward is the West Bengal state. The 121 and odd mile stretch is a visible evidence of the backwardness of the state where not one tea shop can be found worthy of attention. Such is the sight of poverty and backwardness.

And to cut the story short Prof.Sen hasn’t given any statistics or Human Development Index to show his claims. In education and healthcare it a great shame for the Bengalis that so many cruel deaths of children and other issues of malnutrition etc are really condemnable in this time of great advancements.
In Chennai alone you can see swarms of poor people from Bengal rural sides around major hospitals for treating many of the diseases for which in the great city of Kolkata too there are not facilities. Or, no one these days believes in the efficacy of the Kolkata medical facilities. What a pity? What a tragedy?

Also, the politics of the state is so deplorable with Mamta Banerjee fighting multiple battles with the CPI(M) and now, the BJP are nowhere to take on the highly street smart Mamatadi!

Prof.Sen, we have to beg to differ, from the great thinker when he makes some statements about the solutions the reduction of poverty. Rising income levels only can reducing poverty. Not a great insight coming such an life-time thinker.
Yes, we need rising incomes? How?

Sen of course shies away from observing we need modern industry. Mamata destroyed the Tata car factory. Also the State has been hostile to the coming of the IT industry?

Oh, so many hundred reasons can be cited and we need a whole lot of reforms. Of course reducing corruption has to be mentioned.

Also the need for creating many new institutions like Lok Pal and Lokayuktha also needed. Prof.Sen unfortunately doesn’t touch any of these solutions. Without touching political reforms, party reforms, electoral reforms you can’t ensure growth and sustained growth as well. Prof.Sen is a great economic theoretician no doubt. But he has not practical experience of the ground level realities that are critical at the present times.

An illusion or a reality?
Some style and much pretence!
Media in India both print and TV needs much introspection!
So many IT tools? Yet, what are their effective use for the farmers and general public?

You see Indian agriculture is in distress. So much has been said all through the election campaigns and also in the speeches in Parliament. But what is the progress? After Adhaar, there is no public awareness that they are helped by the government in constructive schemes and programmes. We read that only 14% of farmers are registered on eNAM marketing platform. eNAM, the much talked about (talked about in around 2016) electronic National Agricultural Market, has yet to take off in an important way so that farmers feel benefitted. Only 14% of farmers benefited and it is more noteworthy that 51% of farmers have not benefited from the trading platform.

eNAM is a pan-India electronic platform. Why don’t you get is more active and get a separate CEO appointed?

It is an irony of sorts, that instead of talking something that would benefit farmers, given the spread of the mobile phones use among the farmers and the rural people, the newly appointed agri minister, the Hon’ble Tomar and also his predecessor, the Hon’ble Singh are indulging how many farmers have committed suicides since they came to power, since they are in the hot seat of the krishi ministry!

Is this the time to do something positive and newsworthy? The very attitude of our politicians is very discouraging. This only shows how we respect and treat our helpless farmers. Farmers, perhaps, in the only social groups who are disrespected, disregarded and almost ignored and let to their own survival instincts.

It is a great pity. The very Indian attitude of the Indian people to their own much exploited and much suppressed rural segment is worse than how the
Indian society treats is very critical sector. Indian history is full of such ironies. Indian social system is such that we praise the farming profession as something divine, each language has enough songs and hymns in praise of farmers and farming profession.

Yet, the society has so developed, through famines and poverty, mass deaths and worst diseases, plague and what have you and yet we have survived as a nation. In the post-Independence period what we have seen is of course greater food production and food self-sufficiency, but also as a consequence of economic development, the new challenges of child nutrition, the impact on the children’s body, bodies, growth of many needed nutrients and much more worse the callous way the Integrated Child Development schemes are neglected. In Karnataka for example there are instances the very entire budget for the Child Development schemes remain unspent!

Under the Prime Minister’s many new initiatives we have bring the Integrated Child Development a separate CEO and close monitoring. One of the many ways in which the IT tools can be deployed is the child nutrition monitoring schemes and its budgets.

Also, we like to bring our readers to a new perspective here. That is the how the press and the TV media are helping the public or hiding the many new critical information for fear of antagonising the authorities.

The Broadcasting Ministry is using the DD for any positive propaganda or for propaganda for the ruling party’s many other fancy schemes. Here is a book before us. It is: The Indian Newsroom, Studios, Stars and the Unmaking of the reporters. By Sandeep Bushan. Publishedby, Westland. You see that we, the public, are misled by fashionable Brand Building that is indulged by the many TV news channels. NDTV, Times Network, Newsex, Arnob Goswami, Sardesai, Pronnay Roy and his partner, Radhika Roy and many others like Barka Dutt and others have built up a great reputation for their skills. But one thing that has been brought by this well-researched and insightful and also very objective and restrained research and writing skills, is that these TV channels tried to build a brand positioning and thus they make the viewers to believe them. But do you know what lies behind this smart looks and rhetorical words and phrases?

Lies, lies, sometimes total lies and plain unethical conduct and we can even say moral bankruptcy and plain misbehaviour?

During the Neera Radia tapes (You still remember and can recall?) some of the leading lights of these brands turned up as corporate lobbyists and plain Cabinet berth negotiators?

Some respected senior columnists even wrote some plain lies to promote some candidates? What came out? The 2-G corruption scandals that sent soke netas to jail!

Is this great media job?

Also, we see for the first time, we found that the upper crust youngsters, yes, most of them were and are from public schools. They all seem to be very smart in some stylish pretence, yet with much moral guilt!

What sort of respect this highly privileged or self-indulgent younger generation have for truth. For digging the truth that can reach out the under privileged and out of reach for the noble goals of life?

So, we are an empty generation. We don’t care to take part or become partners in the collective exploitation of three poor and weaker sections? Given this paradigm what chance the poor and the inaccessible have to get the benefits of development?

And lo! Behold the privileged group secretly helped the dynasty to benefit, exploit the rule over the country in the name of democracy and much else?
So, what value we can give when you carry stories of exploitation etc while you also try to help the guilty to hide themselves from public investigation?

If you, the print media and the TV media jointly help one party, one family to thrive, this applies now to the ruling party, whoever has captured power you will become a partner in the loot and black money or some other form of accumulating funds and fight elections and promote democracy or any party or ideology that is on display? Or, do you really have a hard core of some value?
These are some of the troubling questions that when we hope to run an agri media small outfit?

And at the end of the day where you are?

In deep debt? You are bought over by money lenders, whoever they are!
Oh, the smart, selfish set; there are some of these troubling questions. They will be there so long you continue to play partners and collaborators!

Every time anyone political person speaks of agriculture, be he the country’s Prime Minister or Rahul Gandhi, as they have been doing now we, the public, why even the hardened farmer enthusiast, tends to believe that the speaker is committed to farmers’ cause. Tragically, no more so. And that too in the aftermath of the 2019 election outcome that has conferred on the BJP party so much power and authority. So, there are some demands on the part of the general public as well as the actual farmers to appreciate how much the farmers are neglected today. Take any State, be it AP or Telangana we continue to read about the continuing news about the farmers suicides and how these tragedies no more command the public attention. Though each one leader from AP’s Jagan Mohan Reddy’s remarks and his promise of compensation and also others like Maharashtra and Punjab Chief Ministers’ own Chief Ministers!

V.Isvarmurti, Chairman & MD — VMG Group

Agriculture is in dire straits and almost all the States face drought or deficient rainfall and the future of Indian agriculture is itself in great many uncertainties. What is now nee3ded is open discussion and debate, mostly among the farmers themselves so that there is a new bonding emotionally as a distinct socio-economic group.

Agriculture is basically an activi8ty and life tradition in the villages and the champions are essentially urban based and more ironically, the big ones are living cosily in the aristocratic-looking Deli’s Lutyen’s bungalow zone. After the defeat of the Congress in the elections, after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi in particular we are exposed to the internal turmoil in the Congress and now, one by one, the realities of the internal disconnect in the party is brought out ,of course by disgruntled party leaders from the States.

The Goa dissenter exposed how whenever he tried to get an appointment he was rebuffed by the second rank Congress men at the AICC. In fact, we like to bring our own experience here.

I am a Congressman, I became one much before Dr.Manmohan Singh! Why, even I was surprised to read that Dr.Karan Singh joined the party much later than myself. I had worked under veterans like Kamaraj and Atulya Ghosh and Sadiq Ali in the early 1960s!

Yet. after Sonia Gandhi’s advent not me personally, but even the once mighty Congress machine, so to say, the redoubtable TNCC, was almost killed and Sonia in her wisdom destroyed the TNCC and took the unit under the grip of stark opponent, namely, M.Karunanidhi and the end results are there for all to see. The Tamil Nadu unit is almost non-functional today; all the old and tested loyalists of the Kamaraj legacy are now left out in the cold.

The 2019 elections saw the victory of the MPs in Tamil Nadu but under what price. The DMK emerged as the power broker. You can’t work for the Congress almost without the express permission of the DMK heavyweights. And at what cost?

I once tried to meet Mr.Gandhi. I reached his residence at the Tuglak Lane. He was very much inside the house and yet he refused to see us. His lady secretary was blurting out for our persistent queries.

The security men surrounding us, me and my wife, urged us to somehow try to see Mr. Gandhi and give our suggestions. Yet, Mr.Gandhi was forthcoming.

What sort of an office you run for the party in Delhi. I can further narrate my experience with Sonia Gandhi. In Delhi and at the AICC, the Congress and its hierarchy, I met A.K.Antony and Motilal Vohra and others. The mindset at the AICC, why even at the CWC is that once your position is fixed you survive somehow. That is how; there are members of CWC for 20, even, 30 years.

They won’t vacate the party posts for simp0ly that ensures a staying place in comfortable environment. Dr.Singh lives in a sprawling 3-acre bungalow with a retinue of servants!

Please don’t misunderstand. The Congress has no easy choice. It has to sacrifice its undeserving privileges and perks once it lost power.

This no one seems to speak out. They know it is their unbecoming!
You, readers might see our frustrations easily. Yes, we are frustrated. We know how agriculture is treated.

Only when the drought conditions and rainfall conditions force us, only when there is a food shortage, there will be a sense of emergency on the agriculture front.

The Business Standard newspaper writes there is nothing much in agriculture!

Why even the mainstream media stopped writing in depth on agriculture. New gathering on agriculture and rural realities is very costly and unpaying. We ourselves as a small media company faced with issues. Then, what about the TV news channels. We read a recent book on the Indian’s TV news channels. They top brand company is in deep debt! Why, it has been bought over by the richest capitalist in the country. Discerning readers must know there are fear and much pain in the country. Media companies are fearing about the way the government is controlled media.

How do you expect free media, media freedom? TV news channels are only trying to be illusorily truthful. Truth in the media today is hidden under so many rhetorical word plays!

Only small outfits might survive. The DD is completely gone. We have restrained from reporting simply what the government has put as schemes for farmers. Because the rural realities don’t square with the ground level realities. For the sake of some consolation we like tom pout out our own website: www.agricultureinformation.com. Farmers might send all their queries to our information to some other helps too.

Thank you.

Narendra-Singh Tomar

Variety of new services are coming up. Even IT outsourcing companies can create jobs in rural India!
Indian agriculture is so fundamental!

First of all the Agriculture and Industry Survey Journal wish the best of luck to the new Hon’ble Union Agriculture Minister Sri Narendra Singh Tomar. The current priorities? Unemployment? Creating more jobs?

Agriculture needs more intensive study by experts. As per one study from Columbia University in the USA India’s 5 major grains production, rice, maize in the agri sector are more vulnerable to climate change and hence needs much care and attention. The former incumbent of the Krishi Bhavan proved inadequate to the job. So this tie at least agri ministry needs much more higher priority. We are publishing many rural success stories. There are any number of small and micro business ventures where small, village based youth, boys and girls are working at many new agro ventures that create hundreds of jobs! Variety of services is coming up and rural India is a creator of jobs many of our vocal politicians don’t know!

Agriculture can’t be left to low priorities! India is a strong agricultural economy. How many of us realise this basic fact and truth?

As Pandit Nehru used to say, that quotation is still more relevant, everything can wait but not agriculture! In the first term, Modi government did make many promises in agriculture. But many of them remained on paper only. Like doubling agri incomes. Agri insurance didn’t really take off. Many other promises too. Extending kisan credit cards. Pension for farmers etc. There are many other long-term issues from the past and the present socio-economic changes. There is rapid urbanisation and also urban migrations. So too the further split in farm sizes. All these issues need wider debates and also wider consultations from what is called the stake-holders.

Right now, the very political atmosphere, the very immediacy of emotions from the bitter election, the massive defeats and massive victories of concerned stake-holders might inhibit the thought processes for any rational discussions.

For the moment let us consider some of the current issues and also current thinking of the government. There are also the recent trade disputes and the tariff wars between the USA and China and right now between India and the USA over whose, some 200 odd goods and services India has raised the tariffs.

A noted columnist and author on world economy draws our attention to the economic realities. Inside India and outside. He says that the global growth is sluggish, at around 1 per cent and the US growth is 2 per cent. The Indian Prime Minister ,at the very first flush of an absolute majority vote, says that he would usher in a 5-trillion economy in India by 2024.While there is an unending controversy over the GDP growth among the experts, also criticism about the 45-year high unemployment and the every GDP growth itself put at various counts, from 6.5 per cent and otherwise. Also, it is debated whether the Indian economic statistics can be trusted.

So, it looks too early to take up controversial issues of great importance. As for the agricultural sector, it is one of trust again. There are widespread drought and also much distress in the agri sector ,farmers suicides are increasing, the election promises by various parties, by the JD(S) in Karnataka and by the BJP ,are yet to be implemented fully. Indian agriculture is a field where the simplistic issues, information like kharif and rabi sowing statistics alone don’t show you the full picture of distress in terms of the over-all picture of distress in rural India as a whole. Only some of the industrially advanced state like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu show some economic stability and also some strong foundation for agriculture sustainability also. Even in such states, as we have seen just recently the severe drinking water crisis in the capital city of Chennai. So, we have to be a bit realistic when we read the statistics for particular major crops like rice and wheat production. The major grain crops are attended as they are the staple food crops and India at any cost has to maintain the food targets. As on date India is food sufficient and luckily, India is also a net exporter of agri goods.

Yet there are pockets of deprivation and also widespread malnutrition which caused so many premature deaths of poor children in Bihar and that had agitated the entire country. The concerned ministers, Chief Minister and even the Prime Minister had not spoken about this great tragedy. A great pity indeed.

There are food shortages in some parts of the country. Agriculture and food production to food distribution are of the first priority in any idea of the vikas! But then development itself is a concept that needs some elaboration. It is not just the material facts like enough irrigation water supply, timely rains and also the various institutional mechanisms.

As things stand Indian agriculture is linked to the international trade and export and import issues. But the Indian farmers are a neglected lot and many of their problems remain unattended. Agriculture production is not evenly spread out in the States.TN is self-sufficient in food production but there is a severe drought and Cauvery river water is the only source for irrigation.

Yes, Cauvery water is highly a politicised issue and this needs to be kept in mind. So too the Maharashtra state agriculture. Despite drought, the State’s growth is at 7.5% and it is a credit for the state. The basic reason for such a high growth is the growth in other sectors, more so in the services sector.

This is revealed in the State’s economic survey. One suggestion here is that the Union Agriculture Ministry must induce the other States too to come out with the states’ economic surveys so that the public would get to know how agriculture is being promoted in the states. What is lacking in India is the public awareness of the sort of agriculture the States are engaged in and also which particular major crops, cotton in Maharashtra, sugarcane in UP and likewise even rice cultivation is being promoted.

Farmers in India as we say in this journal are always debtors! Or litigants! Or, waste time at the courts or revenue offices. Farmers must be able to speak on the phone to the local revenue officers.

There is widespread notorious corruption in all the revenue offices. Anti-corruption measures in the farmer’s related offices would go a long way to save farmers from the clutches of the lower level revenue offices.

Governance issues will prove the real challenge!
As we write the political atmosphere is not yet settled down!
Cabinet Ministers face multiple challenges!
Home, Defence and Health Ministers already face troubles!
Euphoria of massive victory won’t last long!
After slogans and cheering would come!
The test of governance and many internal and external challenges!

Yes, the newly elected Modi government is in power and in absolute command of the economy and politics. The new challenges won’t be easy to confront!
The ruling dispensation must carry all sections of people and opinions!

There are still many undercurrents of unsettled feelings of the bitter fight and exchange of not so fine words and courtesies. One has to feel settled in one’s job and must feel it is time to do something positive and big. This feeling is not there.

Given the raw emotions and why, the raw nerves touched by the exchange of some unfriendly words and name-callings, it is still early days to talk of the big picture and the fundamental issues of economic and political reforms.
Political reforms? Yes, it is on the basis of very differing political ideologies, in the case of the BJP, it is Hindutva ideology and in the case of the Congress, almost no ideologies whatever but only personal attacks by Mr.Gandhi, Rafael and corruption and then the duo going on to call names, sometimes very uncivil on both the sides.

At the last phase of the campaign it looked the PM went on to point out the air force attack inside Pakistan, and Pulwama and Balakot seemed to have turned the tide in favour of the BJP and the extreme statements seemed clearly a gross polarisation of the voting patterns.

After the high pitch it was downhill for the Congress party and results are before us to ponder over. Now, after the formation of the government is the BJP ready to implement its many promises. Some very grand and tantalising!

Before the citizens could figure out what the pattern of new promises would get the priorities, the PM in his first NITI AYOG meeting which, incidentally was not attended by three CMs, the PM promised to run the Indian economy into a 5-trillion economy by 2024!

How the PM could do it?

Not by any magic wand but by some hard thinking. By the appreciation or depreciation of the dollar this goal can be achieved?
It looks like that. So simple and so quickly. The world economy is also undergoing some unpredictable transformation, thanks to Donald Trump who has his own quick-fix solutions and actions, often unpredictable!

Even before the words of wisdom (or bravado?) could settled down many other issues of great concern gripped the country. Comes the Bihar health tragedy that saw the death of more than one hundred poor children. So, comes the latest news about the Pakistani attack on the very same Pulwama and the killing of a major and two soldiers!

What is this?

Modi’s new Cabinet has all the party’s major faces but does the portfolios show any competence and talent or expertise to tackle the more challenge issues. Health, defence and even such portfolios like agriculture which saw a major change of face and we don’t yet know the incumbent’s current
status. Agriculture or for that matter other important portfolios call for much talent and expertise. Does the new government care for talents and expertise?

We need to ask this question and see how the more complex issues like agri insurance and other related agro issues are likely to be taken up and implemented Yes, the election promises are too many!

Ensuring a universal basic income is there. Doubling of farm incomes is another. Write-off farm loans are one more assurance Of course, linking the Ganga and other rivers is still on paper. Of course we can’t find fault if some are left out owing to man y contingencies. But tackling corruption would be a major challenge. Pointing out the need to create institutions and allowing them to flower without political hindrances, Lok Pal and LOK Ayuktha would surely be a major confidence booster. Let us see.