Urban opinion needs focused on what poses real threats to India’s long-term strengths!

India has signed to import 5 million tonnes of wheat! Because the market is booming for the wheat farmers of Punjab. Farmers are unwilling to sell for the government procurement agencies as the MSP is Rs.650 as against the higher prices offered by the traders and MNCs like Cargill and the ITC. So, when the situation became desperate for the government, the latter resorts to desperate measures. This is no way to make agriculture policy! You need careful policy making. Both short term measures and the long term policies.

You must have the vision as well as the administrative control over the day to day affairs. As one put it, the PMO demonstrates the adage of masterful inactivity! And then, when things go out of control it resorts to immediate desperate steps.

The decision to import wheat, first for 5 lakh tonnes and now for 30 lakh tonnes is simply because there is no one in the government today to think full-time about the issues of agriculture. In fact, there are too many cooks who spoilt the broth!

Not many media outfits, newspapers, TV channels, reported these developments! More so the regional channels. They all thrive on simple nonsense news and features! Nor the otherwise shrill and noisy news channels, NDTV or CNN-IBN thought fit to highlight the news value or the threats that pose this rather non-serious decision, taken almost in a day’s routine by the PM-Sharad Pawar meeting one evening. What the government has done now, offering Rs.50 as bonus per quintal sold to three FCI etc are welcome as the money goes to farmers.

But the decision to import wheat amounts almost to a sin!

Yes, we are squandering the very hopes of our farmers’ community; we are surrendering our long-held goal of our independent status as a nation with food self-sufficiency as our sacred mantra.

Who would excuse this government which in the first place was never committed to lift our agriculture from its downward spiral? Then, we saw the spectacle of setting up committees and commissions, the numbers we forget happily, for these collective cogitations didn’t come out with anything concrete that gave any relief. The result is the almost non-stop on-going suicides of farmers, the estimates vary but the numbers are simply unacceptable to any civilised modern government, more so for a country like India which boats of a software superpower status!
Yes, we concede our economy is growing fast. This gives us pride and confidence but what sort of confidence you can sustain when you see the talk of the GDP growth hides the stark realities of the rural India.

There is a hunger-driven India. We don’t get even the per capita food intake we have assumed to be there. There is a hunger-trap in India, warn scientists. Per capita food availabilty at less than 400 gm a day, the minimum being 500 gm. So too the primary protein supplement, a meagre 26 gm.
No wonder a high 14,000 farmers committed suicides. Now comes the AP microfinance suicides also!

What the agri minister is doing? He is of course a hapless man and also the FM who is talking big but very irresponsible when it comes to providing timely farm credit and also when it comes to making the PSU bankers behave.

There is no point is simply giving the statistics. Nobody has the time or interest to read all these dry things.

Everybody wants easy publicity and every leader wants to score points.
There is also the blame game. The Congress as the leader of the coalition partners must take the full responsibility.

This is election time and therefore none is going to pause and think even. There is no thinking character to this UPA. Everyone is out to beat the rivals and there are too many competing claims on the time of the public. So, the routine crises are taken to be routine and unchangeable, so it seems.

Be it the spread of the Naxalite menace in the 13 or so odd states are again dealt with as one more item on the PM’s daily agenda.

Who can be trusted as the reliable leader of stature to tackle the violent threat? The home minister, the law minister are all seem to the vast majority of the Indians as handy men for the power centre, they are there not to show any demonstrable administrative achievements or even any commitment to the larger ethics of governance. The North East is also a trouble spot and yet this government seems to be pulling along.

The Communists are perhaps the most insensitive section as they are only interested in their own narrow agenda and not the larger issues of the poor. If the poor are not in the villages and if the poor are not the farmers then, who else constitute the poor in India?
What is the new thinking of the comrades; most of them white collar workers only?
The real culprits are the regional autocrats, the regional leaders who have made more damage and also more wealth!

See the on-going election drama of everything free in TN and elsewhere?
There are of course reasons for hope. The younger generation, the educated youngsters, from Aamir Khan to the Vasudev, the candidate for the Mylapore Assembly segment, they talk of truth, they exude idealism, they don’t promise anything freebies but they promise the polity truthful conduct and free of the current crop of leaders’ utter cynicism.

They give hope. The farmers and the unfortunately of the country can only hope for sanity to emerge in the country, to stand up and be counted for protecting the country’s honour and self-respect.
After all agriculture is our very life. It gives us food, honour and respect as a great country of 100 billion people and souls!

– V.ISVARMURTI

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