The long-term is clear, not the short term!

IAThe 119 billionaires in India saw the rise of their wealth rising at Rs.200 crore a day! While  13.6 crore Indians who make up the bottom 10 per cent, have continued to languish in debts, continue to languish so since 2004.

Readers and conscience keepers can deduce the lessons for the future of the country’s economic ideology!
Please think of the farmers, the villagers!

This is the starting point for anyone who wants to think and understand the complex issues of agrarian distress!

Agriculture’s future: It looks there is a collective failure on the part of the Indian people that we have failed as a nation to have some optimism and confidence on the future of our country. That is reflected in the current disenchantment and despair about the so-called rural distress. Also called the agrarian distress. The rural India is no more in distress by the daily economic and business newspapers and advertisements. Take even the otherwise subdued auto sales, both cars and bikes.

The rural purchasing power is on the upswing if we are to believe the reports from such big consumer giants like the Hindustan Lever or even from the telecom companies. The sales of mobile phones remain steady and the high end phones even the Apple sales seem not diminished but on the rise, though in a subdued manner. If you look at the country’s geographical and other urban landscape, it is now seen that, as one columnist notes on the changing face of India, both rural and urban India, the 1990’s, now sees the rise of a number of new cities or expansion of the existed cities by the new urban habitations. This is what is called the millennial Urban India.

There is a real steady rise in the number of the 35 million-plus cities have boomed to almost the double the size, the 35 million cities today, as per the estimate in the said column is 53 cities in 2011 and likely to zoom to 75 cities in 2021.We need not expand further the current urbanisation rate and the real estate growth also would confirm that there is a steady growth in urban and also rural India.

If anything, the villages today are getting depleted by working age population and the migrate rates for every state, from UP, Bihar and Odisha to other states, a steady outward migration internally, not to speak of the educated number migrating abroad.

So, the point here is that there is a growth paradigm both in the rural hinterland to the big urban and expanding cities like Bangalore which is exploding at the edges. So, the so-called rural distress and the agrarian distress have to be newly redefined and better perception of the rural distress have to be articulated. Now, as for the agriculture scene, one is likely to be disappointed for the sheer neglect or lack of proper articulation. The BJP agriculture minister has spoken about his latest position at a Business Standard conducted summit that we have to wait for the budget announcement for the announcement of the new sops.

This is a weak statement. The hon’ble minister must articulate his ministry’s various positions on various sections. Agriculture is to produce enough food stocks for internal consumption, for exports and for internal distribution under the various social schemes like PDS and also to maintain food prices to contain food inflation etc. The portfolio is a very heavy one and calls for various initiatives. Unfortunately, we don’t gat such a reassuring picture of the basic portfolio.

The farmers of this country have paid a heavy price for trusting the government to announce one or two major policies.

There is, as we in this media say often, a macro-economic and micro-economic perspectives in the agri sector.

There is the huge confidence among the countrymen about the future of the Indian agriculture sector. India is one of the largest producer of the critical grains, both wheat and rice.

India exports huge quantities of rice and wheat and as per the latest data; Indian farm exports now crosses, in the six months period, from
April-September period, the farm product exports in dollar terms crossed 9 billion dollar mark and this has to be further analysed and explained to the general farm public in simple and easy manner. This is not happening and we at the Vadamalai Media are engaged ion doing just that. Agriculture is a very serious priority for us and we like to empower and educate our farming public with what we, as farmers are engaged in.

How high priority is agriculture?

Agriculture is the very soul and psychology of the majority of the Indian people. India is an agrarian economy. India is an agriculture nation.

So, every step in safeguarding the very foundation of the Indian economy must start with the Indian agriculture development. Agriculture has to be seen as basic to our very way of life. So, the hot political topic of farm loans waiver and other assurances to the farmers have sort of sacred value for every policy maker.
Who are all agriculture policy makers?

Not the routine secretaries and joint secretaries and other major and minor bureaucrats?

Farm loan waivers as announced and assured by various state governments have to be seen with a realistic and responsible way.
Farmers suicides also need to be more seriously discussed.
Farmers lives in the villages are governed and driven by various socio-cultural and economic factors.

Farmers want to live by honour and self dignity. So, the farmers debts are a matter for both their economic security and self-honour.

So, we have to give a kisan credit card that should be very flexible and must carry lots of flexibility. A farmer won’t go away from his traditional occupation like, say, any other businessmen or other business ventures.

So, the farmer’s identity is very different. We see farmers in the historic context. He is both a debtor and a litigant.

Farmer as a litigant has emerged as a new phenomenon
The various land reform legislations have turned farmers into both debtors and litigants.

That is one basic reason why farmers suddenly turn into debtors. The land legislation laws, in our opinion, have to be liberalised. In fact, we need new legislations to ensure that the traditional rural land ownership is not so radically cast. Make land ceilings relaxed. The Niti-Aayog has come out with a model land legislation law. Of course it is now too late in the day, as we are nearer the 2019 General Election and so it is very unlikely the government can meddle with these tricky and in a sense unworkable land laws.

This is a reality that everybody concerned avoiding  the topic altogether!

Rural reality is much more complex than what the establishment seems to be imagining. Rural reality is historically formed. So, we have to take much time and labour to create a new climate of mind change for the experts, academics and political ideology seekers.

We have to bring in both the Leftists and the Right-wingers and also the new avatars as caste parties and also rural landed feudalism wherever it is entrenched.

What the new MP Chief Minister Mr.Kamal Nath says about preference for only locals is not acceptable!

imagesHow can we ban the imigration, yes, the seasonal migration of farm labour from one state to another can be controlled by any state policy?

This is unwise and must be curbed at the very beginning. Who doesn’t know there is an intensive internal migration of labour, farm labour and even educated youth from the North East to deep South and also the now well-known and well-established practices of internal rural labour from UP and Bihar  to Punjab and even other states like MP can be curtailed ,let alone banned. This is an election-time propaganda that might have paid off well in MP but flawed in principle.

What is the cardinal principle?

The Indian Constitution gives equal rights to every citizen of the country, to live and move about in the whole territory of India, right?

The same principle applies to the rich and the poor, to all the entrepreneurs. Even Mr.Kamal Nath is an entrepreneur who made it big in Kolkata!

There can’t be any more chauvinistic feelings, based on language, race and religion. India is a diverse country and this has been reiterated many times by many, big and small, so we have to eschew the thought fully from all our people.

In fact, the migrant labour made things easy for the Punjab and Haryana and why even the Western UP agriculture operations viable and practically solved of its many problems. Also, why MP state, known for its own regional diversity and levels of growth must now think in terms of broken ideas.

Separatism is bad and even an evil. We have seen how the many separatist movements that arose even in Independent India, in Punjab and Tamil Nadu had held back progress of people, both culturally and even psychologically.

It holds back progress in education too.  We, from the South often see in the Northern states how even the educated persons with M.A. degrees can’t speak a word of English.

This has held back the progress of youngsters from some of these states. Now, at the far end of the development process why rake up the issue of outsiders, as migrant labour.

They are all part of the Indian development warriors, their hard work and earnings could offset the many issues in the parent states both in terms of education and health progress.

So, please, Mr.Chief Minister, give up the idea. You are one of the bright and talented leaders of the Congress party. You may rise up further in the political hierarchy and could serve the nation in more ways.

So, please give up the idea. Also you can give a new meaning and depth to the crop loan waiver issue.

Crop loan waiver is no permanent solution to the emerging agri issues.
We need more science and technology in the   rural sectors people must be  given new hopes and solutions through science and technology.
The IT industry can take roots in MP?

The younger generation must be given many such new opoportuntiies.

So,let us ban from our own minds new ideas in backwardness. Banning migrant labour, outsiders is not a positive thought.Please let us all think in positive terms.

Where is it?
Farmers’ litigations: reduce pending court cases.
Farmers must be compulsorily insured and also their healthcare insurance.

image002_FotorFarmers are also prone to much litigation. So, please take steps to reduce the number of litigations in which farmers, both the sides, sometimes as tenants and land lords or sometime out of rivalries or jealousies in claiming ownership title or sometimes simply grabbing lands as a way to accumulate wealth through illegal means.

You see there are many issues in the running of the government. One is to impress the public that the incumbent Alamelu has openly said that the payments of premium by the government itself has been delayed for various reasons. In our view one important reason is the huge volume of business involved. Another one is the unwillingness on the part of farmers to get their premium payments debited from their crop loan accounts.

It is human psychology that we are only interested to get the insurance policy encased at times of emergency but when it comes to paying the premium we delay payments!  Anyway, it is at times a tough job to get the bureaucratic machinery deliver results.

India is a democracy all right. But then it is also the world’s biggest bureaucratic machine! Take any case at any time. You see the bureaucratic wheels within wheels. Take the reports of the CVC, Central Vigilance Commissioner. His report for 2017 shows the number of complaints had come down from what it was in the previous year, almost half the number! Why? Is it because the corruption disease gone! No, no!

Simply because the public had lost trust in the machinery had gone!
Who believes that corruption is an issue with the government?
There are no institutions like Lokpal, Lokayukta or other institutions. Also, who is now investigating cases, the CBI, ED and Income Tax raids people only who have some public exposure. Most of the anti-corruption cases are all of this type only. Only in some states like Karnataka where some occasional raids take place and the bureaucrats caught with hoards of cash, gold, flats and agricultural lands.

In the neighbouring state, TN, there was a court case against the incumbent CM. The state deployed its own anti-corruption department and it gave, what else you expect, a clean chit to the incumbent CM! This is becoming a joke.

A state which was rooted in large scale corruption, where the Chief
Secretary to the government was caught red-handed with cash in his official rooms is let off; no one knows what happened to the case! Much more serious corruptions have been let off; we don’t know where the cash parcels in a lorry were taken for safe custody!

So, what chance for farmers to get their crop insurance scheme succeeds?

The rural scenario is not a happy one when it comes to really turn farmers into a well-behaved lot. Farmers have their own limitations as a responsible citizenry. What we need a new type of propaganda for the farmers to safeguard themselves from many pitfalls.

There is a book before us, titled, Vidows of Vidharba by Kota Neelima that examines the suicide of farmers of this cotton belt of Maharashtra.

The state machinery classifies the farmers into different categories, farmers, cultivators and agri labourers.

This is silly, to say the least!

All this is statistical jugglery to deny genuine victims of the tragedy that is agriculture in India.

There is no point in spending time on the finer versions of any academic or journalistic study. The only way our seems to be pay directly to the affected families by some summary enquiry, not raising the troublesome minor details.

Route all your payment through the panchayat raj channels. Make panchayats the ground level institutions and let the villagers know the government has done an honest job.

Agriculture ministers in particular in the states must be persons who have large sympathy with the rural people and must be seen by the villagers occasionally.

Unless wide publicity is given in the TV channels and rural media and interaction with the stakeholders who include the panchayat leaders as well as teachers, journalists and social workers, the real status of the rural distress can’t be gauged and reliefs reached.

Honest and truthful government servants must be mentioned and given promotions out of the routine and only some sort of semi-independent interventions are made, the bureaucratic machinery and the lethargy of the elected representatives too can’t do much.

Now, new elements have entered into the public debate, that of the rise and role of the criminals, as elected representatives.

Hopefully, the new special courts to try the criminal politicians must help to stop the further deterioration of the rural political space.
With the increasing. Land holdings have come down to 1.5 hectare and this is going down further three-fold in the last few years.
So, problems of Indian farmers is not going to be easy for any politician, or party.

Let us recognise the grim reality of rural India. It is not a pleasant sight!

Where is it?
Farmers’ litigations: reduce pending court cases.
Farmers must be compulsorily insured and also their healthcare insurance.

paudhaFarmers are also prone to much litigation. So, please take steps to reduce the number of litigations in which farmers, both the sides, sometimes as tenants and land lords or sometime out of rivalries or jealousies in claiming ownership title or sometimes simply grabbing lands as a way to accumulate wealth through illegal means. You see there are many issues in the running of the government. One is to impress the public that the incumbent Alamelu has openly said that the payments of premium by the government itself has been delayed for various reasons. In our view one important reason is the huge volume of business involved. Another one is the unwillingness on the part of farmers to get their premium payments debited from their crop loan accounts.

It is human psychology that we are only interested to get the insurance policy encased at times of emergency but when it comes to paying the premium we delay payments!  Anyway, it is at times a tough job to get the bureaucratic machinery deliver results.

India is a democracy all right. But then it is also the world’s biggest bureaucratic machine! Take any case at any time. You see the bureaucratic wheels within wheels. Take the reports of the CVC, Central Vigilance Commissioner. His report for 2017 shows the number of complaints had come down from what it was in the previous year, almost half the number! Why? Is it because the corruption disease gone! No, no!

Simply because the public had lost trust in the machinery had gone!
Who believes that corruption is an issue with the government?
There are no institutions like Lokpal, Lokayukta or other institutions. Also, who is now investigating cases, the CBI, ED and Income Tax raids people only who have some public exposure. Most of the anti-corruption cases are all of this type only. Only in some states like Karnataka where some occasional raids take place and the bureaucrats caught with hoards of cash, gold, flats and agricultural lands.

In the neighbouring state, TN, there was a court case against the incumbent CM. The state deployed its own anti-corruption department and it gave, what else you expect, a clean chit to the incumbent CM! This is becoming a joke.

A state which was rooted in large scale corruption, where the Chief
Secretary to the government was caught red-handed with cash in his official rooms is let off; no one knows what happened to the case! Much more serious corruptions have been let off; we don’t know where the cash parcels in a lorry were taken for safe custody!

So, what chance for farmers to get their crop insurance scheme succeeds?

The rural scenario is not a happy one when it comes to really turn farmers into a well-behaved lot. Farmers have their own limitations as a responsible citizenry. What we need a new type of propaganda for the farmers to safeguard themselves from many pitfalls.

There is a book before us, titled, Vidows of Vidharba by Kota Neelima that examines the suicide of farmers of this cotton belt of Maharashtra.

The state machinery classifies the farmers into different categories, farmers, cultivators and agri labourers.

This is silly, to say the least!

All this is statistical jugglery to deny genuine victims of the tragedy that is agriculture in India.

There is no point in spending time on the finer versions of any academic or journalistic study. The only way our seems to be pay directly to the affected families by some summary enquiry, not raising the troublesome minor details.

Route all your payment through the panchayat raj channels. Make panchayats the ground level institutions and let the villagers know the government has done an honest job.

Agriculture ministers in particular in the states must be persons who have large sympathy with the rural people and must be seen by the villagers occasionally.

Unless wide publicity is given in the TV channels and rural media and interaction with the stakeholders who include the panchayat leaders as well as teachers, journalists and social workers, the real status of the rural distress can’t be gauged and reliefs reached.

Honest and truthful government servants must be mentioned and given promotions out of the routine and only some sort of semi-independent interventions are made, the bureaucratic machinery and the lethargy of the elected representatives too can’t do much.

Now, new elements have entered into the public debate, that of the rise and role of the criminals, as elected representatives.

Hopefully, the new special courts to try the criminal politicians must help to stop the further deterioration of the rural political space.
With the increasing. Land holdings have come down to 1.5 hectare and this is going down further three-fold in the last few years.
So, problems of Indian farmers is not going to be easy for any politician, or party.

Let us recognise the grim reality of rural India. It is not a pleasant sight!

Let the public and the corporate bigwigs realise!
Indian media landscape doesn’t spot the place and role of agriculture in India’s development paradigm!
Indian media landscape is highly distorted. Priorities are not clear.
There is an explosion of TV news channels, alright!

krishi-kalyan-cess-678x381Where do the peoples or the country’s development priorities come in?
Whether the news channels do much service or they cater to other objectives can be debated. The TV channels are started by many types of people; entrepreneurs for the sake of service or others from the real estate and also from those businessmen, already established but want to build up lobbies, to get the governments do their bidding or else can be also debated.

The Indian languages channels are very shrill at many times and they cater to a lower denominator audience. There are channels exclusively for entertainment, this is said to be the fastest growing segment and other objectives like propagating religion or pure superstition like astrology etc. All these make for a vibrant TV   and entertainment industry.

There are certain hidden issues, the emergence of media monopoly and the media houses are again some shady issues into which we can’t go here.

Even the so-called mainstream TV segment has to survive and we know that even the much admired quality channels  as standalone ventures are getting into debts and the monopoly mainstream industry, the capitalist and the monopolist enters this segment by many ways, often very devious  ways and means. Money is such a funny thing that it penetrates into any segment and money corrupts! More money means more corruption in more segments!

So, in these media explosion what chance for a socially committed sectors like agriculture, rural development or some other purely intellectual areas like public interest spheres.

The BBC example might be far-fetched or for that matter channels like Al Jazeera or the many new ones that are aired today in India. Even politics and public opinion are not served well and there are lots of biases and fears for the media segment.

Increasingly in India we see the fear factor and so not even the print magazines, some of them very well settled over a century and more. All the print media segments with some exceptions are facing resistence in the market.

So, where do we, Vadamalai Media, stand?

We seem to be nowhere if we see our priorities getting noticed by the readers and also the larger customers like private and public sector corporations.

Our advertisement revenues are facing challenges of resistance for the simple reason; the very PSUs are facing troubles. The private sector industries are also becoming more profit driven and more selfish in the sense that we don’t see society becoming more active in public causes.

We see often editorials and also from speeches from politicians on public platforms that civil society must become active in many areas like education, health, why, even in civic administrations, in keeping the cities clean, the roads safe, the many new issues spring up everyday, the city lakes (as in Bangalore) are getting polluted, even the city air quality is declining, new issues crop up, the very monsoons are leading to foresee natural disasters etc.

So society is not for the winning politicians, even they are now required fill up forms to be submitted to the Election Commission about their criminal antecedents (!), for this has now become a real threat to democratic institutions.

Even the judges don’t submit their assets and liabilities, there are no Lokpal and lokayukta and so the corruption issue is getting out of hands and no one seems to have any clue! The Lokpal is not appointed even after four and half years of Modi regime.

Vadamalai Media is committed to agriculture and rural development, perhaps the least priority issue, right?

Then why the government publicity policies, the very same publicities don’t reach us?

Even at the grassroots level, at the very lower ties block development agencies, there are any number of farmer-related policies like disbursing subsidies. But we don’t hear them! WE have to go there and wait for seeing the lowest level agri officials there are latest policies. Don’t you think it is the duty of the district Collector or their higherups, why even the ministers to seek for media outlets and propagate their policies.

We have written volumes on the need to link the agri universities to publicise their researches. No responses. The universities are now many but the statistics about the R&D in agriculture might frighten you. So little pittance!

Also, the agri universities admissions and other approaches are biased towards urban, educated middle classes, not the real farmers’s families. The agri universities management committees are filled with party cadres not one rep from the agri media or even the local TV channels.

We need really public spirited corporations to use their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds to promote public opinion, to educated public opinion and sensitise the public spirit to realise that agriculture is the very soul of India. The Tatas, their Trusts are said to promote tribal farmers. Fine. But please realise, let us realise that cultivating public opinion about the high priority of agri sector on which the Indian economy’s backbone is built should be propagated.