Farming is now becoming profitable?
Yes, with rising food inflation and doubling of farm costs
Agriculture seems set for a new opportunity?
Various populist policies hide the real status and progress in agriculture schemes
Too much empty rhetoric has clouded agriculture development in the states. At the Centre no less cloudy is the status of agri sector polices and schemes. For instance, the Agri minister Sharad Pawar is seen more pre-occupied with cricket development. He rarely talks about his portfolio which he lately had downgraded with one portfolio food going out of his purview. And also so many other schemes, related directly or indirectly, for instance, employment scheme like 100-days work in the rural areas is taken up by other ministries, notably by the Rural Development Ministry. Other issues like fixing minimum prices for foodgrains and other crops are dealt with other more powerful Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab whose report to the Prime Minister would surely weigh high on his mind than any other view.
Prime Minister himself would be preoccupied by the reports of other equally powerful and influential committees headed by Dr.Rangarajan, that committee had opposed the food for all scheme proposed by NAC headed by Sonia Gandhi.
As for the actual agri sector schemes in the states, lately, followed by of course TN’s various fancy populist schemes, like free land, free pension, free colour TV and much else, for instance in Karnataka there is a swarna bhoomi scheme that gives Rs.10,000 to 10 lakh farmer families! And now says Y.S.Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister that the state’s finances are in very health condition and that is why he can fulfill the various promises he has made.
So, there is now the very real threat of various populist schemes in poll-bound states like TN, Kerala, W.Bengal and no less in Karnataka, there is a huge debt burden. In TN, the leader of Opposition Jayalalitha says the TN government has debt burden of Rs.one lakh crore, others estimate this debt burden at various levels, say even at Rs.2 lakh crore! In Kerala too there is this huge debt burden. In W.Bengal, it is widely said the state government has a debt burden of Rs.2 lakh crore.
Of course no state government is willing to come out with real figures.
In states like W.Bengal, the finance minister is an MIT educated high profile economic expert. In others like, the real brain in Karunanidhi but the actual finance minister is a former Tamil teacher! In Kerala too an economic expert is the finance minister.
More than all these experts and populist brains there is the plain common sense. Just if you travel across any one of these states and keep your eyes and ears open you can get the real picture.
In West Bengal a drive through the countryside would show the state is lagging behind by almost half a century!
There is widespread poverty, no tea stall in any village where you can stop and desire for a cup of tea. The wayside shops are so dirty and so discouraging. Only paddy fields and primitive existence! And, God knows, how the Communist leaders, all talk very high sounding words, expect you to listen to them and trust them!
In TN, it is now a countrywide scandal.
The CM’s family is sinking in a sea of corruption and scandal!
And yet Sonia Gandhi comes and asks the voters to continue to trust the corrupt regime!
How the politicians hope to continue in this style of misgovernance.
In Karnataka as we write there is a farmer’s suicide! Just for a debt burden of Rs.,40,ooo!
Can you believe that the Prime Minister of the Finance Minister or Sonia Gandhi would not have read this news?
Any other bankers would not have noticed this news item?
Yes, we have to wonder and continue to write routinely and say that there is progress in the farm front!
Yes, there is progress. India is producing huge quantities of grain that has no storage space.
But this sort of optimistic projections have to be viewed vis a vis the progress of agriculture in other countries.
USA and Russia have produced huge grain mountains. They are what is called grain powers!
They can influence the grain prices and that is how the grain prices are manipulated thanks to the commodity trade and the booms and busts.
But the booms and busts here are not intelligently managed. One doesn’t yet know the capabilities of the new trade minister Mr.Sharma. But so far there is no interest for farmers to know about his activities.
Obviously the trade talks haven’t taken India anywhere.
So, the average farmers life in India seems to be hazy and patchy!
Somehow, only through some internal pressures have to build up and some internal awakening must take place among the farming community, among the village communities and there must be some internal reforms so that various communities, the various crop or services based activities, from milk to vegetables to credit and even marketing has to be managed by some co-operative efforts and agencies.
A powerful farmers lobby has to emerge. The current various divisions among the farmers organisations is the major reason why democratic politics is driven by this mindless populism.
Farmers interests are not articulated by any media, there is no dedicated media for the farm sector.
So, every election time is a time for reflection and articulation. Now, as populism has almost taken away all the farm policies, there is rural migration, there is a continued starvation of labour in the farm fields, there is allow mechanisation in various crop sectors, from paddy to sugarcane and also consequently, there is a growing shortage of sugarcane, farm labour and consequently there is a doubling of costs, sugarcane fetches now Rs.2,000 in TN and consequently food inflation is on the rise!
So, we have to wait for opportune times when the average Indian farmers will become more confident and more hopeful for a prosperous future!
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