The Prime Minister more often talks on agriculture!
Farmers’s agitations matter a great deal in the current Indian context! They are becoming more and more urgent and insurmountable. Invite the experts and rural leaders, opinion makers for interaction with the PMO. Let us become practical and do things in a radically refreshing manner. No one is an absolute truth-wielder!
The response of the government is not adequate. That is what we like to highlight here. The dominant sections of society, more so the urban classes, the urban middle class and the dominant media too leaves out the “unglamorous” basic issues. In fact, we need a new media policy, from the government, from the Prasar Bharati, DD and other ministries to support the agri media so that the farmers are keep informed and educated. Hopes are kept up for what is a very difficult public interest sector.
You see, agriculture is such a basic economic reality for India’s masses that unfortunately, that Indian politics and society, why even the economy and the news that we read every day in our mainstream news papers or what we see in the TV new channels, we never seem to get things right when it comes to basic issues and certain basic realities.
The other day we saw on the TV channels that 67 farmers associations would meet in Delhi for a large scale agitations and protests on March 26 where some of the crucial demands of farmers would be raised. Not a day passes when we don’t read some farmers issues or other, be it interstate river water disputes or other.
It is natural. The only trouble is that a government like the present one at the Centre is no different in responding to the farmers issues.
There is no party politics here when it comes to farmers issues.
What we need is certain empathy from the ruling party as for the exact sort of response to issues.
Just now we have travelled and had come back to Bangalore and a journey by train by the rural countryside gave us a new sense of realism as to the challenges and the opportunities in such a critical area like the farming sector.
On the outskirts of Hosur which lies on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, a very dry belt and yet the climate is such that suits to take up some of the profitable areas of agriculture, for instance, that of cultivating cut-rose cultivation for exports.
This time, we had travelled by train after a long gap between Coimbatore and Bangalore and in such a dry summer when the sun was so scorching but what we were pleasantly surprised was the extent of green houses in such an unfriendly sun outside the vast number of green houses this time seem to have spread far and wide!
New concrete homes are come up reflecting the sources of income from the new opportunity have really expanded. So, we have a new opportunity to get Indian agriculture to become once again profitable in a new climate and a new export market opportunity.
So, we thought and wondered : is this not once again a source of innovation, innovative entrepreneurship, a new hope for Indian agriculture cause as it is by multiple challenges.
Also, at the same time we read in the newspapers reports from abroad, as in Canada (whose Prime Minister Tudor is right now on the Indian soil!).
So, we thought that the world is still a hopeful place for mankind to survive with intelligent co-operation and mutually helpful manner if only we can jointly plan and execute some of our policies, in this case in agriculture.
India is running short of some commodities, mostly pulses and Canada is a source of supply for such pulses like rapeseed.
And also we were delighted that the world’s three big agriculture research companies, Monsanto, DOW Du Pont and Bayer are just engaged in seed research and there are again some excited news on the seed research front. New research is being carried on into finding the solutions to the transfer of one pollen from one canola plant to another so that a new breed of vegetable oil -producing crop becomes possible.
It is here we have to draw attention to the many deficiencies in the Indian agriculture policy making.
We don’t want to indulge in any partisan politics but like to draw attention of the countrymen from all ranks and professions and like to impress upon the educated sections, especially and also the corporate, especially to realise that India needs an enlightened society and social commitments.
We at the Vadamalai Media are committed to agriculture sector and rural prosperity and that is a tall order, everyone should know.
Also, an agriculture media company is not easy to run. Yet we are at it for a long time simply because that is the greatest service we can render to the country and society.
What sort of support we get from the government and the large corporate sector?
That is an uncomfortable question indeed. There are any number of spokespersons for the agriculture sector. We need such people to. But it is our feeling that for long we have persisted in sloganeering, demanding this or that particular line in agriculture.
Now the government is committed to double the farm incomes. Fine, fantastic even!
We welcome such sentiments. But only those of us who actually live and farming(as we are) know well the ground level realities.
You have to create a new environment in the rural areas where to do farming becomes profitbale, conducive.
Our media hasn’t done good job. They don’t tell you the real success stories or the real, genuine interviews with those who actually live in the villages and persist with actual farming.
There are some important issues, arising out of the old land reform issues, land ceiling and tenancy reforms.
The last half a century land holdings also became progressively reduced and now the farmers per head land holding is somewhere like 2 acres of even below.
In reality, agriculture is becoming unprofitable, so farming is risky and almost almost all farmers are debt-ridden and hence the suicide phenomenon is so widespread. There are here many other socio-economic issues of farming at the grass roots level.
All these issues need wide debate and also serious policy-solutions.
One more dominant mindset when it comes to farmers issues-discussion is still by the bureaucrats, nowhere you see the actual politicians, ministers, even bureaucrats. As we were typing these lines we saw the programme where bureaucrats, Siraj Hussain and Ashok Dalwai were holding forth! What else the government programmes, doubling farm incomes in 2020! Otherwise the routine government schemes like marketing, crop insurance. Land reforms, the debts or litigations in which the farmers are drowned right now! No, room not a single word. This sort of mindset must change!
The vast mass of farmers distributed at many social strata levels, the rich and the not so rich, the educated and the not so well-informed, the new generation of youngsters from these families, all who live and toil on their soil, all who dream about a better future would be greatly feel assured if only the Prime Minister talk of the farmers at least once a while.
Any national level transformation of the Indian countryside would come about only when the actual tillers of the soil get new hopes and new aspirations. Such a confidence only the top leadership gives the needed push, a new dawn and articulates the inarticulate farming community.
Everything indicates a new dawn, the world is becoming global, and the spectre of famine and pestilence is being controlled thanks to new technologies and new growth areas, and is it economic life or social life.
So, we request the Prime Minister to speak more on farmer’s issues.