Proceeded by farmer’s suicide in Amravati!

After PM’s Vidarbha package what hopes for farmers even if elections come?
President’s prodding’s must help and the public would be interested to know the results!

Surely, our economic reforms haven’t worked in favour of the farmers, the disadvantaged who live outside the cities. At least in the cities there are the urban corporations and municipalities where some problem or other like public services would be taken care of thanks to the press, the TV channels and the vocal public and civil society groups.

In the rural hinterland, there is complete darkness, literally and metaphorically!
The employment guarantee scheme in Gulbarga district, we are told, has an outstanding payment to the tune of nearly crore! You can well imagine the state of affairs in remote Orissa or Bihar. Even in the otherwise politically charged W.Bengal, you see the ration riots and the otherwise well-heeled Brinda Karat and Prakash Karat have the luxury of waxing eloquent at the PDS deficits and stalling the Indo-US nuclear deal!

So, we have a national scenario where the PM goes about his usual routine overseas tours, talks of biofuels and alternative energy, oblivious of the ground realities in his own country! The economic reforms have done much good for the country. But how many among the urban elite take time to ponder that how much of this reforms is the handiwork of the PM and his team and how much is really the outcome of globalisation and international capital movements and the coming of the information technology and communication revolutions?

As for the government’s hand, you can just see the latest survey of the International Food Policy Research Institute that  Global Hunger Index gives India a score of 25.73 in 2000-2003.Virtually unchanged from what the index gave in 1995-97.

On three critical criteria, the proportion of undernourished people in the total population remains unchanged at 21 per cent, the prevalence of underweight children under five even increased, from 45.4 per cent to 47.5 per cent, and slightly there is an improvement in mortality of children under the age of five.

Yes, we have a rapid increase in economic growth and everyone, from the Pm onwards claim credit for this rate of growth, as if the one number is all about life and reality. In fact, we don’t have the updated numbers to cover the years after 2003, after the UPA came to power and the PM, given his standing in the academic and bureaucratic hierarchy neither called for any updated numbers nor these worthies thought of providing the PM. Perhaps, they have reasons to be embarrassed about the poor performance of the UPA regime fort the aam aadmi!

The latest family health survey shows no improvement in the reach or the effectiveness of the immunisation programme.

The commentators have all drawn attention to one deficiency: it is governance mechanism, the delivery of public services mechanism. It is a national shame that we have 40 per cent of world’s children who are malnourished.

Yet, the bandwagon goes on. The government seeks political survival by abandoning with such ease not just the nuclear deal but even the economic reforms, more so where it hurts most, in the 70 per cent of the people-dominated agricultural sector.
There is simply no sensitivity, there is total insensitivity for the suffering. Farmers continue to sufffer, suicicdes in advanced states, Punjab, Maharashtra and now news comes about 450 farmers in Gujarat committed suicides.

In Punjab we have a staggering 30 per cent of people below the poverty line and surviving on subsidised wheat and dal. Terrible! Falling agricultural incomes and farmer suicides! The state’s debt at Rs.52,764 crore, the highest in the states! And we have the top two chief executives, the PM and the Planning Commission boss, from Punjab! What an irony, if irony is what we seek for portraying Indian agriculture!
Apart from other things, it is highly embarrassing that of the 100 and odd World Bank-served Indian top executives, the PM and Mr.Ahluwalia head the list and they now head the Indian governance machinery as well.

This must be a unique situation in the whole world where a great democracy is being run by officials and bureaucrats and the political leadership is not genuinely driven by elected democracy and its norms.

How to bring in accountability? How do you ensure the people really have  a choice in electing whom they seem as worthy of their trust. A very serious deficiency that is creeping into our polity and creating a basic crisis situation.
It is for the countrymen and women to ponder over.

What is galling is the total silence on the part of the PM to these happenings, the heavy farm debts in Punjab and other advanced states!

There is simply no policy worth called an agricultural policy. Everyone seems to be talking round and round in circles and no one seems to have the stomach to really set a new change in direction.

And you gave Brinda Karat who has taken up farmer’s issues, wheat import and now wheat supplies to the West Bengal PDS system, asking for more Central help to reach even the above poverty card holders.

The Left really has the cheek to talk in so many contradictory voices and our urban elite continue to keep mum over this farce called Left-inspired wisdom for the governance of India!

The UPA government and what is left out of its depleted moral force after its retreat on the nuclear deal over Left pressure is clearly is buying time for perpetuating its survival only.

The flurry of announcements, from the Centre to states like Maharashtra and AP shows the Congress party is the major culprit. It has no vision whatever to serve India. It wants to perpetuate itself by devising a set of populist slogans in the face of its own realisation that it cant govern except by its own current devices, with a set of unelected people who as PM and his Cabinet and also the CWC again packed with people with no stake in the Indian realities and what else you will see except the continued slide in hunger and poverty, the farm crisis and  on the other hand Congress leaders trying to put their sons and daughters in positions of power and the New Delhi would be populated again, perhaps with a new set of younger faces.
So, farmers have to realise that this would their plight  unless something more drastic happens ,a common realisation and revolt comes from within the ruling combine or from within the farming community itself for forcing change on the players in the name of farmers!

We hear the President Pratibha Patil is keenly interested in women and children’s welfare, no less about the farmer’s issues. We urge the Madam President to prod the government to improve matter in whatever manner she deems fit.

The public  and the farming community, in particular, would be  only too interested to watch!

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