Finance Minister’s response too seems not pro-active either! FM’s approach to rural regional bank branch expansion must be more comprehensive and more target-focused!

There is a severe drought hitting the agricultural sector in a serious manner. The heart-rending stories are difficult to read. There are farmers’ suicides from many states, notably in AP, it is really unbelievable.

The TV channels beam visuals that must have hurt our pride and our many claims on many fronts. So, then we have the Prime Minister assuring us on more than one occasion that the government is fully geared up to face the situation.

Mr.P.Sainath for one is there to give a reality check. His stories are simply impossible to read. Such are the horror stories. Yes, in the NIHI flu scare there is some justification not to create panic. But in the case of the heart-braking stories of farmers selling of their precious cattle, well-brad bullocks ,well-reared cows and buffaloes, it is really impossible to say what one can do when we see them sold off for such a pittance for the batoir!

Surely, there must be action to provide for fodder and water and some corrective measure to stop the mass exodus of cattle just because the drought has come up in such severity.

The rains might come at any time, that is the hope and one can’t live without such hopes.

But has the government given any such hopes and some credible action?
We can only say this and wait for the readers’ response.

What the FM has said that there would be no more farm debt waiver and there would be only 2,000 and odd branches would be opened by the rural regional banks, the response seems to us very tepid and very unstatesman-like! No, leaders and such seniors like PM and the FM must not say such things that sound very bureaucratic, very cryptic and very unemotionally.

Surely, all our leaders are over-burdened and over-working.

The Prime Minister must be really taking more energetic action. Obviously, he looks a very tired man, very exhausted and we are bound to say this without meaning any disrespect for his age and experience and attainments.

Yet, the hard truth is that the present incumbent is a very humane person and his leadership qualities were not tested in a genuine and open democratic manner. Only a very genuine and openly elected leader can have the stamina and the energy and also the will and the vision and the volition, if we can say so, to come out with ideas and inspiration that would move a people.

Sonia Gandhi on her part has done her job well. And yet the lingering thought is she is also over-burdening her colleagues with other equally onerous jobs. Mr.Pranab Mukerjee’s budget proved not a great achievement, it is a very populist budget and even after its introduction, the FM hasn’t put the country on any fire.

It proves to be a statement of intention to borrow and borrow and finance and promise to fiancé more populist schemes. Given the nature of the current economic crisis, the global meltdown and the lackluster promise of action, the infrastructure, the national highways, power, steel, coal etc, seem to be performing below par, various reasons are there of course.

Even some of the giant projects like the iron ore projects of Arcelor Mittal and Posco are held up for want of land acquisition etc. Surely, these are not easy times.

So, what we require is a change of persons and personnel at many levels.
Divest Mr.Mukerjee from his party post, let him give up the West Bengal Congress Committee chief post and let him have more time to concentrate on revamping(1) the rural credit system on some rational basis.

The last time farm debt waive-ff was done through direct payments, this time it is better to recall the Vaidyanathan Committee and entrust Mr.Vaidyanathan to advise the government to take more farm credit to more number of co-op branches and let there be some rational, indirect approach.

Any direct populist payments, as is being done in some states end up as mere freebies and that doesn’t satisfy even the beneficiaries. That only leads to expect more such similar freebies. So too other ministers.

Too many ministers, now the latest one to face the harsh swine flu scare is Gulam Nabi Azad, poor man who is also entrusted with party jobs in some states. What is the wisdom in over-burdening the people who have more challenging jobs to do?

Sonia Gandhi owes to the country a duty to see that more talents are brought into the party and the governance mechanism. There are so many areas the country needs to bring in new blood.
There is somehow a mindset that rules out new talents.

They same old tired old faces, the retired bankers or bureaucrats, more senior officials are given extension and retained! What is the wisdom?

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