Subject the ICAR to social adutdit!
By farmers bodies!
Even high ceremonial speeches must shed cliches
and get to the more earthy and ground level realities!
There was this ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the ICAR auditorium in the name of C.Subramaniam. And another to commemorate Annasheb P.Shinde, the two who presided over the Krisih Bhavan and did much good work that saw the Green Revolution to change Indian’s agriculture. All this is well-said, many times before.
The point we want to highlight here is the sort of speeches we have come to hear on such occasions. More so, when it comes to agriculture, we see still a sort of tendency and even plain ignorance and even sheer callousness towards the reality and even speaking the truth.
We live no more in times where people would take our public speeches and more so, our public postures especially when it comes from high Constitutional office holders any more seriously.
This is very critical a time when people are taken for rides by ruthless operators whose another name is politicians!
We see the high Constitutional office holders are no more inspiring the people and we see the holders of such high offices also don’t live up to the expectations of the people.
These offices no more command such awe as they did in earlier times.
The President of India is the highest office under our Constitution. The Prime Minister of India is the real power wielder and as such people expect and there is the tradition that the Prime Minister is always elected by a deliberate process that brings out the best and sometimes, as in current times, the worst in our polity!
Yes, unless you get elected to such high offices then people become cynical and every word or posture of such high Constitutional office holder is looked upon with suspicion and often with certain disdain and even derision!
Now, we see the Lok Sabha Speaker is also being dragged into controversy, by none other than the very same CPI (M) and his name was submitted to the President as one of the MPs to support their withdrawal of support.
What sort of a political wisdom is this?
So too the authority of the Prime Minister is also undermined by the fact that he was elected to the Rajya Sabha by a process suspect by many well-known authorities as dubious and that is one reason there is so much lack of legitimacy in our political system when we talk of reforms etc.
Now, why we have taken up the ICAR ceremony is the fact that our Excellency, the President of India has spoken about ushering in another “evergreen revolution” to solve the agriculture crisis in India.
As shrewd readers of the newspapers and the news reports must have known that this sloganeering type of speeches, speech is the very cause of our lack of serious effort to address the very many issues in our agriculture.
The very expression, Green Revolution, itself was not favoured by many as it hides and also hinders the need for clarity that is lacking in our policy making in agriculture.
So, when the President uttered the word, evergreen revolution, we have reasons to suspect who the author of the President’s speech might have been.
Anyway, the President, as the people know, comes from Vidarbha that has now come to symbolise the very failure of the Green Revolution! A spate of unprecedented number of farmers’s suicides has come to characterise our agriculture scenario. So, what morality we have to speak of another evergreen revolution when the very government in all its near full term is not able to stem the on-going suicides, even after the Prime Minister’s visit and sanctioning of a special debt -relief package?
There must be lot of heart searching and also the President’s speeches on such occasions must be carefully drafted so that every word from the highest authority must reach out to the hearts and souls of the very bottom of the society.
There is another cliché. It is about women in farming. What is great about this, new about this? What do you do for them?
This is a pointless, tired cliché. Look after the farmers, small and marginal and the not-so marginal and yet all farmers who are now caught in a vicious circle of inaction, sudden action as in the case of massive farm debt waive-ff and now, no clue except to sing the praise of monsoons that have created a record harvest.
Mr.Sharad Pawar goes into an over-drive, advertises himself all over the TV screens as if he had achiev3ed the near impossible.
Anyway, the big time speeches like the one we have taken up for illustration must come out with a more sober and yet ground-breaking serious talk.
We have to create a new agriculture growth strategy that has to take into account the current malises.
Consult the great scientists like Norman Borlaugh who has some sound advice as to the need to evolve new seeds with productivity potential?
Our research bodies like ICAR must be socially audited by farmers groups!
There are no on-going institutions, from co-ops to state level governance mechanisms, so that from credit to seeds supplies to other inputs to extension (that is almost non-existent) and also a well-designed marketing agency, a sort of PPP, the participation of the state marketing board and also farmers representatives and also the middlemen (let us kill the thought we can ever abolish them) and also the other interest groups.
So that whenever there is a boom in supplies the price dips and leads to farmers dumping their produce on the roads and blocks the highways! As they did recently in Kolar in Karnataka when they sat near heaps of tomatoes for the travellers to see and shrugg their shoulders helplessly!
These sights must be changed to one of rational administration.
The President of India must be seen speaking for the common man, the common farmers. Not just to sit near some self-seekers, seekers of publicity.
Please avoid clichés, we pledge!