India must do its own homework, dont look for outside advice!
There are record food stocks, prices okay and the government is doing what is possible to ensure food security.

There is, however, room for cheer in the Indian economic scene! Yes, there is credit crunch and this is more severe in the farm sector.

There are predictions that the processed food sector won’t grow as much as hoped for and the exports from for the processed foods and also for other food grains as bad as one could expect for the rest of the Indian goods and services.

Elections apart, there is the general world conditions.

The developed countries, the G-7 are more severely impacted. The industrialised economies, the IMF notes, have been severely affected since the time of the world war 11.The US economy is the hardest hit and so too others.

As for India we come in the category of the G-20 and it is noted that for these countries, including India, the IMF notes the contraction of the world economy and output is likely to be between 0.5% and 1%.For the USA and the rest of the G-7, the contraction of the economy would be between 3.0 to 3.5 %, the IMF says.

So, the countries in the developing world are relatively better placed. This is good news, we believe.

But for the agriculture sector, it is now widely reported and editorials are written in the major business dailies. They all say there is a mix of many policies, more in the nature of the protectionist economies. There is a ban virtually on all foograins exports, rice and wheat are banned. There is also in the reverse a near zero duty import tariff for raw sugar. The sugar industry is almost up in protest and the area under sugarcane can be further reduced owing to this “free” imports of raw sugar.

But then, there is a need to keep a tight control over the domestic prices on all essential commodities of common consumption. Sugar is a critical daily item of consumption for the vast population.

So, for the present even the futures trading in agricultural commodities are controlled to avoid further speculation in these commodities and hence the changes that further rise in food prices can be controlled. This is what is happening.

So, what is good for the developed countries, stimulus packages to stimulate spending and create confidence, in countries like India there is need to maintain a stable price regime first for the food economy, so that the common man’s perception of the economic recession is kept far from one of gloom and fall in confidence in the government?

Fortunately, the elections and the parties and even the politicians, more out of narrow selfishness rather than the concern for the common man economic recession and the consequences, fall in real estate or  further import of edible oils and pulses or raw sugar or any other item of common man’s needs are freely resorted to even if it means further government spending and further incurring of deficits and more delayed time in the economic recovery.

There is fear that very soon; if not already there is deflation that is further decline in consumer spending.

The time of economic recession is one when great leadership and confidence-building measures are called for.

In India we have a government and a Prime Minister who is supposed to be a great economist; we don’t find any public enlightenment.

There is, if any, total silence and no other competent leaders, either from the ruling combines or from the Opposition ranks, including from the otherwise vocal Communists, there is no bother about how the economy over all is doing or not doping.

So, what we, the public, have to perceive is the small sings, here and there and we have to feel confident from the small mercies from the private sector.

One good news is the latest introduction of the Tata small car, Nano. The timing is significant. As one leading daily reported this is the third stimulus package! Already the introduction of the small car has raised the market sentiments, there is, it is noted, some raise in the stock market track, as much as 5 % on the day of the small car induction. This sentiment has come nearly after three months as a single day’s gain.

So, there is the new stimulus. That is a big gain considering what the other developing countries are reporting.

Why even in Europe, notably, in France, where the small car had been an obsession with the Renault Logan, which had been long hailed as the best small car ever introduced in the automobile-crazy Western Europe. As the French newspapers have all demonstrated unconcealed envy and skepticism ,the Indians must be feeling somewhat elated and also encouraged by the success the Indian economy at this stage of development had  demonstrated.

The other sectors that stand apart from the rest of the world is the IT sector, the key strategic sector in the world today.

The Indian IT sector, though impacted by the current recession and also the concerns over what the US tries to do, to protect the American workers, the latest deals made by the major IT industries show there is still much room for the Indians to gain a significant control over this sector.

So, whatever Obama’s initial promises to protect the American jobs, his policy has to respond to the ground realities.

The cost advantage for the American companies would drive further the trend towards off-loading many jobs to low cost destinations.

India’s great key advantages is its human resources and it is here we need some imaginative initiatives. The government must better consult the IT leaders in drawing up polices to enhance the competitive advantages of this sector. So, the current economic recession, while it causes much concern in such sectors like the export front, there is much effort is needed to manage the economy to steer it out of the present crisis.

Delusion of persecution and self-importance!
This is according to the Oxford dictionary!

Why Indians have this mental disorder? Yes, paranoia is a mental disorder, says the same dictionary!

Now, the point is why Indians praise other countries? Blackout some others? And also find some mental satisfaction of a negative kind by not writing more about our own achievements or make a realistic assessment or believe in our own capacity to self-analyse ourselves?

A case in point is that when it comes to praising China, there is a section of the media and also the academic community in this country, including the academics, the NRIs based in the USA and elsewhere, we see they praise China and don’t give the Indians the needed background information on a whole lot of realities within China itself.
And also consider this. We Indians now don’t know a thing about what is happening inside Russia, do we? And yet there is no such interest or enthusiasm to know or report on the internal situation in Russia.

We don’t know anything about agriculture or the villages in Russia. While there is a great deal of reporting and even biased talks and assessments about the achievements in China.

Just now we saw this report in the much admired The Hindu newspaper. That too reported by its own editor-in chief Mr.N.Ram. This report has appeared in the paper dated February 27, 2009.

It is about Tibet. The title of the report is: Tibet on road of rapid uplift: N.Ram
Fine. Now, what is the content of the report?

It is obviously a biased or even a motivated and who knows it might be even a paid insert.
Because the opening passage itself gives out the game.”A prominent Indian journalist rejected” Tibetan Independence propaganda”, saying thee region’s economic growth was good and the atmosphere was relaxed”.

The report continues:”The problems are largely in the minds of some sections abroad, in make-believe Tibet”, and in the propaganda of the pro-independence movement of the Dalai Lama” “N.Ram, Editor in Chief of The Hindu, a leading English daily, told Xinhua in Beijing.

“Mr.Ram’s comments came after he concluded a three day visit to southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region earlier that week. It was his third visit to China since 2000″
Then Ram says and this is the report:

“People asked why I went to Tibet again and again, said Mr.Ram, attributing the visit to his interest to do a reality check”

Then the report continues:”Mr.Ram described how the Dalai Lama, “the so-called Tibetan government in exile” were active in India and some other countries claiming  Tibetans were being reduced to a minority by the Han people and proclaiming a Greater Tibet with a population of six million”.

Then the Indian editor goes on to explain how Tibet today is on the road towards a rapid economic development, from the capital city Lhasa to underdeveloped villages, schools, orphanages and factories.

So, Ram is clearly on a propaganda mission on behalf of the Chinese government.
What interest the Indian readers, the Indian people would have in knowing the economic statistics, population statistics and much about the celebration of their new year etc.
He drove widely, it seems and had seen the much progress by his very same eyes.
This is the sort of writing we used to read long ago whenever visitors from India or from elsewhere went to Soviet Russia and came back.

It is a real tragedy that Indians now at the time and this age still are being led by a paranoia of the worst kind.

We either praise the USA or the West or go to the other extreme of praising the much oppressive society like the Chinese, and the government with no political party except the one and only one of the most controlled variety and now we still find it very clever or intelligent to visit China and praise China and compare the rest of the world in some unfavourable light, including India!

This is what most of the  Indian intelligentsia who claim to be leftists and Marxists, even those high profile Indian academics who labour hard to retain their reputation at Harvard or some such prestigious universities back at home. These visiting academics come once a while and lecture Indians how they should mind their business!

Who else goes to China and who can dare speak about India’s progress, India’s agriculture and our own rural development programes.

None at present, it seems.

We have also a dubious type of government machinery here, headed by the very same type of economic experts, all World Bank employees now cosying up under the dispensation of Sonia Gandhi and what a pity India is an orphan when it comes to articulating India’s very many unique strengths and at the same time we have to put up with these traitors and traitor-like behaviour of the Indian intelligentsia.

We need a new definition of the Indian paranoia. This entrenched Indian mental disorder where we find Indians go out of the way to praise China or the USA and at the same time, we don’t find Indians courageous enough to seek a balance when it comes to taking an objective account of the state of developments, say, in Russia or South Korea or China itself, whenever we want to find out how we are progressing in this country on certain of the crucial sectors of the economy and society.

Opportunistic alliances cut across principles and credibilties of parties and leaders!
So, parties can throw away all principles? All arty leaders can dream of Prime Ministerial ambitions
?

Which party has some commitment to India as one country? One strong country?
It is rather embarrassing to listen to L.K.Advani calling for a strong leadership and a decisive government! The Congress seems to be simply mumbling!

The Indian National Congress, as the oldest party that led the country Independence, must have some basic parameters when it enters into alliances with other parties for the sake of winning elections and forming the government at the Centre.

Unfortunately, the Congress today is not what it used to be all these years. Under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership for the past 10 years, it is for everyone to see that the party has become almost progressively  weakened and in some of the major states, where it was once a force, the party has almost become so weak so as to say that it now non-existent.
This is the case with UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and some other states.Even where it is in power, say, in AP and Rajasthan, the rival parties in these states are now ell-entrenched. In AP, the rivals are too serious challengers. Both Chandrababu Naidu and actor Chiranjeevi are sure to grow further and this is the pattern we see in other states as well. In UP, the Congress is almost not a serious contender vs. SP and Mayawati and even the BJP. In Bihar, it is a sad spectacle to see Lalu Prasad Yadav and Paswan playing this last-minute “dirty” game! One doesn’t know how Sonia Gandhi reacted. As for Tamil Nadu we can say with confidence, Sonia Gandhi has made the state unit of the party, a state where stalwart leaders like Rajaji and Kamaraj gave all-India leadership to the party, almost a branch unit of the DMK which is running almost wild with conquering the rivals in all parties and everyday, it is a game, poaching the senior leaders from the MDMK and other parties and malcontents rushing to join and shine in the reflected glory and the glee of the DMK’s machinations.

The TN Congress leaders are evenly divided into four or five factions and the allotment of MP seats are done in such a way that each faction leader gets one seat for himself and one for, hopefully, to his son or daughter!

Yes, the dynastic politics is played out so blatantly and the fact that Sonia Gandhi practices this cult of family heirs taking over from their parents once the time comes is perhaps the lowest level of a degenerate political culture which Mrs.Gandhi practices with no forethought whatever.

This is the danger that faces the Indian democracy today.
What is worrying by the latest developments in the pre-poll alliances is the way the regional and smaller parties are doing is to throw out from their minds and calculations any thought about the larger India. India as a great democracy and India as a great regional world power and as such it has its own challenges. Pakistan is passing a new set of threats and uncertainties. China is also posing a threat to India’s territorial integrity; Tibet is one more additional reason for China to remain hostile to India. India’s nuclear ambitions, India’s aspiration to enter the UN Security Council and many such border issues have seen China not being friendly to India.

There are many other subtle and not so subtle reasons to suspect that given a chance, China may not hesitate to poke its nose in India’s internal affairs.

It is here, we have to see the “evil” thoughts and evil designs of some of the India’s parties, most notably the CPI (M) and the CPI and other Left parties. The news that the CPI (ML) would contest in some 80 constituencies must give us some thought for concern.

Who knows that if some opportunity arises, the Left combined with the other adventurous parties, including the regional parties that are plainly separatist in their mindset, the whole of the Dravidian parties can be brushed with such a paint and even the current constituents of the Dravidian parties in the Congress alliance are these ones who may not hesitate to take some irresponsible steps to disrupt and cause disintegrating activities.
So, what is the point of the Congress, to take the specific case of Tamil Nadu, joining hands with the DMK, the PMK and the VCK and giving seats to these parties and individuals who, the IB and the RAW must be knowing enough about these parties and the individuals, and making them to cause future damage to the polity?

We have been urging Mrs.Gandhi through various forums and means to stand by some basic ideology of the grand old party. We have been reminding Mrs.Gandhi of the fact that as a party of some 125 year old history of sacrifice and principles, the Congress must state its basic belief system clearly and must openly ask its current and likely future potential allies, these allies are now with the party only to seek ministerial positions and indulge in corruption and anti-national acts only.

So, it is now a blessing that in UP and Bihar, SP and the RJD had ditched the Congress.
This must at least jolt the complacent nature of the functioning of the party to spell outs its position.

Unless this is done rightaway, there is still greater danger lurking in the days ahead.
And another point is the Prime Ministerial ambitions of the men and women in the Congress party and also those among the allies.

Surely, it doesn’t show any wisdom to say anymore that Dr.Singh will continue as the next Prime Minister also. This is blatant affront to the world’s largest democracy.
Congress party must openly say that the next Prime Minister would be openly elected in the Parliamentary Party meeting and anyone individual who enjoys some sort of consensus in the party, almost in the AICC and also as far as possible through an informal referendum in the largest party forums and the consensus candidate must be declared elected as the next Prime Minister.

Rahul Gandhi is too young and too unprepared and so he can at best become a minister in the next cabinet. He has to wait for his time.

Sonia Gandhi’s own future needs some articulation.
Any party leader has to make way for others after a decent interval. Such an interval has come now. After the elections, after the formation of the government, Sonia Gandhi must take a back seat and nominate and better still help someone to context and get elected as the next President.

Some of the old time Congressmen, I mean, the genuine Kamaraj followers I have spoken to in Chennai, say how the old Congress party was functioning in a democratic manner even under Gandhiji. There were leaders who could defeat Gandhiji’s own nominees!  Such was the democratic traditions of the Congress.

So, Sonia Gandhi also must be open enough to give the Indian people their right to get the best leadership of the great party.

Let others play their own roles, the allies and other party leaders.
Third front government is unfeasible, given Indian polity’s diversity. And the past experience with the Third front governments.

The Congress-BJP governments are the only possibility.
In fact, we have to warn about the dangers of falling into the trap laid by the Communists!

Patriotic forces must be alerted and mobilised. This is a task for the Congressmen, more so the sections that feel left out by the Sonia Gandhi and her sycophantic circle!

After all BJP by any stretch of imagination can’t be said to be unpatriotic!
Yes, in tough situations we have to talk some tough realities!

Image Source: hinduonnet.com

Yet, there is no full-time Finance Minister!
To explain and reassure the common man!

Inflation to fall to a record low, to 0.44% is a sign of many bad things for the economy. Experts will tell you what all those other bad signs are and what they predict for the economy as a whole.

Industrial production fell to 0.5%.Exports fell in the last five months to a record down of 12.21 %.Budget deficit; another indicator of the health of the economy is an unacceptable level of 8%.Budget deficit targeted is 2.5 %.

This means the government may have to borrow 3.6 trillion next year. All serious numbers and they need some serious-minded leader who is also a public figure to explain and reassure the public and the common man.

The elite, the educated classes too can’t keep mum for long.
The voters in the next month election might also feel the impact in their voting choices.
The Congress can’t take the voters for granted.

Already the allies are in a dishonest mood and mode as well!
So, how the Congress led government does hopes to win over the trust of the common people which it endearingly calls as aam aadmi!

The common man is left wondering what is happening to his life and his chances in this environment.

There is no public face for this government and yet there is so much wrangling for election tickets and the leaders are all by definition, the ones who can manage tickets for themselves and their dynastic ambitions!

Is this all to politics and elections?
What the rationale for the incumbent Prime Minister to lead such a team? Is he in charge of some portfolios? He has to honestly advise Sonia Gandhi to have someone appointed as the full-time Finance Minister.
It is sheer cruelty and mental torture for Mr.Pranab Mukerjee to carry on in this fashion. Is Mr.Mukerjee so meek and submissive, all for the sake of some future hope of getting the plum job at the South Block?

No, this is neither politics nor decency.
A country of India’s size and an economy that is rated as the second biggest in terms of people and area, next to China and has such a vital space in the world economic forums is left to have a minister who is doubling as both foreign minister and the finance minister. Whose wisdom is this, this solution to the country’s many problems?

Can one individual honestly do justice to his portfolio?

The world economy is widely predicted to go through one more year of deeper recession, if any. So, there is every indication and reason to hope for a very vigorous approach to meet the economic challenges. There is a perceptible decline in production in all vital sectors, perceptible reduction in key industries; we saw the latest statistics to show that we can’t take the complacent attitude that marks the establishment.

Are there no qualified men and women in the country to take up the responsibility to run the economy, to pull back the critical sectors back to some working normalcy? There is any number.

There is a very serious drawback in the attitude of Mrs.Sonia Gandhi. She is either calculative or she is simply incompetent. Her failure to live up to the expectations of the vast sections of the Indian people is shown in the way she gives directions to the unfortunate lot that surround   the Prime Minister and other hapless ministers.
One can be sure they are all blaming their bad luck, they can’t neither perform nor they are allowed to perform.

The devil is somewhere; the allies are all started giving the headache to Mrs.Gandhi. They must have found out her limitations and that is why they had dared to ignore her claims to lead the country, she is plainly feeling unsure of her own future. That is one reason or that must the one reason why she is unwilling to fill up the portfolios and even where some portfolios are by people, they are simply not up to the mark. Sports and Law are two examples. Why these two portfolios are filled by the people who are there. They haven’t done much nor do they seem to care for. For they knew they enjoy the prtonage.That is all.

Why burden other poor chaps, the juniors in the foreign ministry who double up as the minister for information and broadcasting. Why not appoint someone in charge?
So too the many other ministries.

Some ministries like the surface transport are now a big scandal. No targets are reached it seems. Nor likely in the near future.

How long and how far we would be only submissive to this sort of a government that holds the hapless sections, farmers, labour and the ones in all the industries that are hit by the recession?

Why there is no stimulus package for some of these industries hit by the recession?
Why not someone with a public face explains and reassures the public about the next step in tackling the recession blues?

It is a great pity that in India we are all so narrow-minded.

The Opposition party, namely, the BJP led by the redoubtable L.K.Advani, has some of the bright faces; Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh have been both foreign ministers as well as finance ministers. Surely, they must be knowing lots of the intricacies in these two key ministries.

It is their public duty to give the Indian public their own inputs as to what can be done in these difficult circumstances.

They are the ones who are also likely to get back to such key portfolios once the BJP is in a position to form the next government. Even otherwise, they are both seniors and also wisemen and have a more moderate face.

So, they should step out into the public realm and speak to the people as what is being done by the government and what imp [act the likely policies in operation would have on the economy.

Even otherwise, there are many others both inside the parties as well as outside.
They all owe a duty to the people to speak out.

What is the point of having so many economists in the government? They are all tied to the official line. The official line is simply burden the incumbent ministers who are over-burdened already and they can’t really do much.

Yes, there is always this glib talk. Talk of ensuring food security.
That is a fine sentiment, provided you really ensure also security to the farming profession.
Is there now food security?

Yes, there is. The godowns are overflowing with excess grain stocks. The food security issues crops up every now and then, no, every year almost!

In 2005, there was a poor wheat harvest. A similar dismal year the year before as well.
The wheat stocks dipped just above 2 million tones on April 1, 2006, as against 4 mt and 15.6 mt on the same date of the preceding three years.

Once the private traders entered the scene and sought buying up the entire stock so to say, the government found out there is a crisis ahead. Panic reactions are the government’s policy drive often you know, in food management. So, the government then imported 7.2 mt on government account during 2006-07 and 2007-08 to a ban also, on wheat and non-basmati rice shipping, that is exports. And also another mechanism, futures trading was also banned.

By the middle of 2008, there was almost complete control of the farm sector economy, all grains, rice and wheat, also pulses, milk powder and maize and edible oils were banned or subjected to stringent licensing.

Yes, this is food management in a nutshell, for you, the hapless farmers!
We had a visitor recently to our office. He is a Malaysian citizen and engaged in commodities trade, of course into agricommodities primarily and yet he is well-versed in all commodity trading.

What he said?
He said that the commodities trading is a highly speculative one and almost like jungle warfare! No rules or regulations, no words are kept and no words of commitment kept either.

So, this visitor-friend told us: you enter this sector almost dominated by the traditional trader’s communities, uneducated and the trade instinct comes to them naturally from generation to generation and whatever the government intends to do, intend to do to help the farmers, is made unworkable by speculative trade strategies. The friend said, almost in a brutal tone: You can be killed in a minute, the trader can just pull down the price and drive you out of the market!”It is as simple as that!

The point here is that for the farmers, the real benefits from whatever the policies of the government, are very difficult to reach for the simple reason, the quantity of food production (all food items) is one thing. What the quantity really comes into the government godown is determined by the procurement policy, of course the minimum support price is the starting point and then the government has to compete with the private trade, both the big MNC corporate traders to the local traders and then, after the procurement, the government has to also permit the private traders who are traditional exporters of commodities like rice and wheat and cotton and also allow the importers to remain in the trade, the government has to allow selective or otherwise imports. Now, raw sugar is imported. Pulses and edible oils too.

So,the really the highly organised and highly speculative futures trading, the commodities trading and local traders, the millers and others, the various intermediaries, the brokers all join together to spoil the party so to say ,for the down to earth grass roots farmers to get any real incomes!

So, now you will get an idea.
Food security is not one of producing such and such quantity of food grains.
It is one of managing the food availability, through the PDS. Even the state governments can play havoc with the PDS by the free rice and free such and such essential commodities.

So, from various agencies to private trade all have to play their part and as the recent column noted what happens to the Indian food security ideal is what the cricket-crazy food minister does.

What time he allots and what thoughts that goes into his mind?
It is, that is, the food security is always what the government does by its “knee-jerk” actions and reactions!

So, the conclusion: food security is not just a simple issue. It is not one issue. It is a multi issue. One of production, stocking, managing the export and import trade in these items and managing the PDS.

So, food security needn’t be just self-sufficiency in food. It is a question of the various aspects of the world food production scenario, the weather condition and the climate change etc.