There is a high profile meeting or meetings at the UN. World leaders are participating. Barack Obama is speaking at the UN Assembly on global issues. The UN is debating on the Millennium Development Goals.
Where is India?
A globally serious player like India must be sharing its great experience in managing a food security, food self-sufficiency issues when the global agriculture is undergoing serious crises. Or a series of crises!
World grain producing countries, Russia, Australia and Canada are facing great agriculture and food issues. Yes, the world outside applauds India. At any rate, the US President who is due to visit India this November is almost obsessed with India! India as a threat to US employment prospects. The US unemployment rate now hovering around 9.6 per cent is bothering Barack Obama. His administration has seen many senior advisers, the latest being the high profile Lawrence Summers, perhaps the most clever economic brain, a potential Nobel Laureate who resigned from his director of National Council of Economic Advisers to return to teaching at Harvard.
You see the Americans are the most powerful people, as the most privileged in terms of access to all sorts of resources, not just oil or gas but to even such resources like the best brains of the world and so they may at any time find a solution to their many problems unless in India where we are still tied to our old mindsets from the colonial days.
Take our own economic strengths.
India is a large democracy and that excites the Westerners. They wonder how India where there is a high incidence of poverty, largely many underdeveloped regions and where the productivity of average India is pathetically low.
Yet, India is globally counted as an economic powerhouse in terms of its brain power, its human resources.
The IT revolution, the BPO industry has given India a competitive edge.(see the last page).
So, USA fears India. So, so many bans, the USA have almost tried its best to restrict the entry of Indian brains.
The one key strength of India, besides its software tech advantage is its agriculture sector.
It is India’s almost fool-proof food self-sufficiency and in one word, food security.
This, somehow, our political leaders haven’t realised fully.
There is so much insensitivity in the New Delhi corridors.
The Supreme Court pulled up the Central government when it saw the large food stocks rotting and lying in the open and eaten buy rates while there was so much of poverty, food deprivation, malnutrition and what not.
The Supreme Court, more than once, reprimanded the callousness of the Food Minister and then came our Prime Minister who did the most audacious thing. He challenged the Supreme Court. He said it is not the business of the top court to interfere in policy making.
Of course, the PM for once came for open public criticism.
So, the PM did the most unusual thing in his whole term.
He called in select and very obliging editors to his residence.
He tried to rebuild his damaged image.
He said he was not resigning and he was continuing in his job etc.
But then, the food security issue didn’t get the required attention.
In India somehow, we have a peculiar mindset, it seems.
Agriculture and food issues read well when it is written in English language and that too by professional experts. The experts in India agriculture are all fulltime retired officials and who after retirement double up as policy advisers to the Prime Minister or better still to the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi. Now, the National Advisory Council.
What the NAC does?
It has come out with some very vague ideas on food security. They are now debating whether they can guarantee food security for the people above poverty or below poverty!
It makes for good newspaper copy to make news on the food issues!
Because nobody is interested. Not certainly the poor people. Nor the farmers whose voice never reach Delhi.Please let us ask whether the lot of the cultivators improved under Dr.Singh’s regime. No, not at all.
Only the retired official’s numbers have gone up!
Yes, we have to be a bit blunt and sharp if we are to vent our feelings over the continuing deaths of unfortunate farmers by suicides. We have to be sharp when we have to report food riots in many parts of the world.FAO reports food riots in Mozambique, protests in Egypt, rising grain prices in Russia and who can forget or forgive our teams of economic experts when we witness the rising food inflation, the last time it was at 15 %. So, when you read the cozy Planning Commission chief Ahluwalia “theorising” legal guarantees of food security for APL!
It is all simply an act of gross insensitivity when Sonia Gandhi presides over an issue that is very unlikely to be solved in her day!
The Indian media are very slavish.It reports as a major setback. For whom? For the NAC, we are told!
What issues the NAC is debating? honey issues? Right to Food Campaign and the food security issues are in fact the basic policy making issues for the government,
Is the government interested in such policy making?
There is no sign. The Food Minister is nowhere in the picture. The Prime Minister is strictly kept out of bounds by a jealous NAC!
What sort of policy making is this?
Image Source : business.rediff.com