Farmers agitate and come out on the roads and show their anger and helplessness!
Of course, agriculture, as we say, is always a difficult sector.

droughtIt has become more and more so simply because we tend to take the disorganised, inequity-ridden sector for granted. The very many antiquated land laws, from agricultural landownership to tenancy legislation has g driven genuine farmers to courts and district collector weekly meetings and this had also led to accumulation of debts, genuine and otherwise.

Now, you can see how much we have all gone with the rising farmers’ suicides becoming no more news. TVs don’t show these uncomfortable scenes while we lap up the latest scandals and meaningless corporate shows, often each show is dependent upon the other, newspapers and TV companies have to survive and so they show their own other activities! Conclaves and what have you. The visual media is infected with other gamblings and games, cricket is what? Is it a sports or a medium for making money through advertisements.

The very society is becoming more and more selfish and self-cantered and so too politics! Democratic politics too seems to be deteriorating with one party taking revenge on the other! How much time is devoted to governance, the one word that hides so many other hidden meanings! So, we have here a situation that the much-advertise farmers’ crop insurance scheme seems to be declining in farmer’s enrolment.

Do readers need any statistics? We have but we don’t want to bore the readers who are already disinclined to read anything on agriculture, a very discoursing field.

Also, to see farmers from Haryana and Punjab coming to the highways to disgorge their unwanted vegetables and milk.  Of course, this sight is very disgusting and also very painful when we consider how much more nutrition the country’s children need when we pour the dear milk on the road this way.
But alas! No central minister or thinkers or other votaries of the Hindutva had spoken out on the farmers’ distress.

Why this state of mind?

The Union Agriculture Minister, of all the other ones, had come out with a shocker! He called the farmers protests a “Gimmick”! We don’t think there can’t be a more rude and uncharitable remark from the very minister who is supposed to be a guardian of this unfortunate lot of people.

You see agriculture is so basic to our life and it won’t go away. Agriculture would be there, tied to our very soul, our body and life id tied up with our life, economic and social, why with our very politics. And alas. It is sad to think that our Prime Minister has a style; he doesn’t utter a word on such occasions.

This mindset of our leaders, new and the not so new must change.  Please don’t show how much you’re an ignomorous, you who want political power but you don’t have the capacity to rise up to your chance!

Politics also won’t go away. Democracy is all about two and more parties. There can’t be any other way in politics.

Please nominate to the heavy portfolios the right people. People in the rural areas are much more shrewder that their counterparts in the urban areas.
Public perception and public opinion are the two critical elements in any politics, more so in democratic politics.

Every five years the people have the choice; this no one can take away.  So, in the coming next elections, in 2019, there are enough indications that the Opposition parties might unite one way or other. The issues are also getting clearer. Farm distress is going to be one crucial issue. Many promises remain on paper only. This harsh reality must hit all those who have stakes.

So, please take immediate steps to ease the farm distress. We have highlighted issues many time. It is for the wise and the prudent to act in appropriate ways.

In many states, 100 and odd farmers groups, on the roads!
What prevents purposive actions and decisions?

ModiThe Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken well and in an eloquent manner at Khekhda in Meerat on the occasion of inauguration of the 135 km Easter Peripheral Express way in Bagpat on the role of farmers in development. Yes, when the farmers’ lives rise, the country’s development rises! Yes, very inspiring indeed.

But then why his colleague at Krishi Bhavan does has spoken this way? Is this the way for a heavy-weight portfolio holder, the Agriculture Minister of the country to call farmers protests as a gimmick? This is to rub salt in the wounds of a section of the most high priority area of the country’s development agenda, agriculture and rural prosperity that is visibly in deep crisis. This is the time for the government that has completed four years and one year is left for the likely fierce battle for a new government in 2019. Surely, the PM is also faced with what we see as a dilemma as to how to go about reforming the moribund economic sector.

Yes, as a responsible agri media we too are concerned with a critical agenda of agricultural reform.

As we see the NITI AAYOG’s new radical proposals as how to reform the much-maligned restrictive tenancy legislations that were conceived in a different era of newly abolished landlordism days. Today the very rural economic and social and cultural scenario has changed.

Almost unnoticed there is a whole new revolution of aspirations and dreams among the new generation. India is now a young nation.

There is expectation at all levels. So too at the farm families’ levels too.
This has not been openly spoken about, namely, to recast the very restrictive and a negative tenancy laws that don’t serve any purpose whatever.
No land holder ,even the very marginal ones whose full time jobs may be in non-farm areas, including the daily labour where there is high wages be it the construction sector or any other jobs. Comparatively, there is every risk if one resorts to traditional farming.

So, no one wants to remain on the farms. Everyone likes to quite or migrate to cities. And yet, the politicians in the thick of winning the next elections have no time to think of radical changes. Every political party wants to repeat the past practices and give as many false promises as possible and thus, the same rising debts and litigations and what have you, the farming sector is caught in a web of corruption and corrupt practices at the ground level.

That is why Indian agriculture at the grass roots remains the most risk profession. So, we ask the government, the PM and the agri minister and all others concerned, please understand the distress in which the farming is caught up with.

chandraThat is one reason we also look forward to see more and more state governments  follow the lead given by the hon’ble Telangana  state CM,K.Chandrashekhar Rao in devising many radical changes, from cleaning the old style, conditions-ridden land records and giving boldly a new system of investments for the farmers and many of his innovative farm assistance systems.

Only if you had lived in AP or Telangana know well how the states are still steeped in the old style feudal system and how it is a Herculean task for the governments there to revive rural lives without some big modernising industrial ventures. Tamil Nadu with all its political disabilities, large scale corruption etc, has managed to lift the people out of poverty thanks to the great days of the late Kamaraj who brought some of the biggest industrial  ventures and  thereby created a momentum for the later governments to improve the lives of the poor  and the weaker sections.

So, Indian agriculture needs some unusual approaches. One would be the current achievements like accelerating the National High ways so that as the PM rightly said that way we might be able to tackle a whole host of issues like pollution in bigger cities and also integrating the rural hinter land and thus accelerating the agricultural markets and ensuring the chances of farmers getting higher prices for their produce.

Now, to the nitty-gritty of things. The Central government must intervene immediately to address the agitating farmers. The PM’s silence is misplaced. The agri minister has to apologise for his remarks.

Some immediate responses are called for. There are states like MP that has introduced to stabilise agri prices whenever it falls. A price stabilisation fund is needed to arrest the price falls. Other measures can be thought of. The government must think of such steps.

Immediate measures. Short-term measures. Medium and long-term measures.
In our opinion, liberalisation of the many laws that govern our agri/revenue/legal/justice systems. Special and innovative schemes as adopted in Telangana state for farmers.

Empathy for farmers must from the government!

The South vs. the North! Some general observations!

Villages of India (6)Too much of political news is not good for any society. More so, in India where we see some of the curious scenarios.  One is more about party politics and that too after the 2014 elections there is too much distortion of certain issues of society. So many communal flareups! Why should people resort to violence in the name of cow slaughter?

Or, crimes of all sorts, too many to describe here  Delhi tops as the crime capital! May be as the sociologists say  Delhi is near UP, another crime state  of dubious nature?

One doesn’t know. What gives anxiety when we want to write and reflect on such issues, it is the  media freedom. Anyway, it is all agreed by almost all sections of opinion is that the state in the North, UP, Bihar and MP and also Rajasthan and some too make up  the Bimaru states, that are the most backward by all indications of social development. In education, healthcare and why even in terms of poverty, nutrition and girls education, women’s advancement these state are still backward.

Now, as for the states in the  South with which we are a bit more familiar ,may be the two states, namely Andhra and Telangana are the rural ones, we mean predominantly rural ones. We have some experience of travelling through AP and we were shocked  to see how backward AP interiors could be. In particular we have driven through Chitoor district, one the way and also back to Bangalore to Tirupathi, we were shocked and surprised at the state of backwardness.

All the villages in this district are remote, not any new reads and the more you drive in the interior, towards Madanalle, the more you are intrigued but the remoteness of some of the villages. What was common to these villages was the statues of leaders made in bronze (or painted in gold?), we don’t know. But then the poverty  still prevalent adds to the political  advantage of the parties? We don’t know. Once driving through the southern part of the district, from Chitoor to Bangarupalayam we were really dazzed by the remoteness. May be we  would be attacked by some maoists? We shuddered for some time till we really reached the Bangalore highways!

Now, looking at the Telangana state and the politics and the new schemes announced for the farmers it looks the state is really  for some definite change for the better. The new agri reform policies announced by the Chief Minister only warrant for an optimistic opinion. Now, Karnataka. Bangalore had brought a new image for the state as the IT capital, even an international hub for IT outsourcing. There is no doubt the  capital attracts the best talents, more capital and thus a gateway for modernisation in all respects. New housing, new roads, new social infrastructure and also as the centre of some vibrant culture, science and art and literature.

But when you travel outside Bangalore, be it to Mysore or North to Gulbarga and or even to the West Coast , Mangalore and e beyond w you sometimes think time has stopped. Times stand still! Why even on the way to Mysore, you  sometimes see the old village, on the way to Somnathpore, the temple town, on the way we saw some of the old villages, they seem to have stopped changing! What we used to see in the old Tamil Nadu villages some  fifty years ago, the same entrance, the same doors, and windows and there is not much movement of people too in these idylic  and cute little village fronts.

The development in some social indicators, villages without any degree education holders, other indicators of literary, healthcare are abysmally low.

Of course Tamil Nadu and Kerala are f different ball games, so to say! In Kerala you see the most advanced social statistics. From women’s emancipation to women nurses going out all over the West, the Gulf migration had changed the very landscape. In Quatar in the Gulf wherever  we went in the little time the Quatar Airways transported us, we saw all the good coffee shops, we were told one chain was owned by a Gulj Malaya lee. They are all so enterprising and  the money pouring in from  the Gulf into Kerala is unbelievable!

So, Kerala tops in any development chart. So too the Malayalee bureaucrats in Delhi! All the government offices are filled with these enterprising people.

But then  the one blot  is no major industry has come to the state. Rather reverse is the case. All the major heavy industries on the way to Cochin, the FACT, being the large one  are closed. The Communist culture has done much good but some pretty bad habits to  go on strike are a special Kerala contribution to labour welfare.

Now, Tamil Nada. So many contradictions! The state is the most highly urbanised one. The roads are fine and literacy is high. But the state has some notorious character. In terms of corruption it sets a world, record, it seems.

And  violence is also on the rise. It seems the only state where major office bearers of political party are put in jail under the Goondas Act!

Film heroes are now agitating to enter politics in a big way and likely further to make matters worse! Even the spread of education hasn’t led to improvement of standards in politics and reduces corruption in public life. The two former CMs were embroiled in corruption on such an unprecedented large scale. This sets TN apart from other states. Either in the South or in the North.

Films seem to dominate the imagination of the people.TV news channels run by rival political parties further likely to lead to deterioration of public taste and also public morality. On the whole, the states in the South are developing faster towards modernity while the states in the North, including West Bengal are lying in some medieval age.

Only healthy political culture can wake the Indian state and society. God bless us! The population growth, the new census towns and the number of villages that are getting the status of new census towns must all contribute to up gradation of our villages.Now,electriciy to the villages is another goal. Plus the new highways must all contribute to  the modernity of Indian society and polity.

Telangana Chief Minister’s revolutionary farm reforms!
Let us congratulate the hon’ble Chief Minister!

Agriculture is never easy. It is a tough field. It requires tonnes of nerves and unlimited will power. For politicians lately, agriculture has become a plaything. How many Chief Ministers, the ambitious and the cunning ones, specially have promised instant farm loan write offs!

Yet, how long the Indian farmers are in distress?
Who dares to ask and who is ready for an honest answer.

Chandrashekhar RaoAgriculture at the national level is an election stunt. At the grassroots, it is a bi bundle of outdated laws, landownership laws to land leasing laws are steeped in antiquity! Anyone who lives in the villages knows well it is a hell out there!

That is one reason we believe why the elder politicians, past the 80s and beyond are all so choosy to live in Delhi and do “politics” in the cool Lutyen bungalows!

Who among the rich and well-off choose to retire to their states and that too to their villages?

The one big leader we remember is the late N.Sanjeeva Reddy whom we travelled all the way from Bangalore to meet and he chose to live in his ancestral house in the distant Ananthapur. Even he had to shift to Bangalore in his last days for various reasons. Now, medicare and other needs drive people to urban centres and as for politicians the money factor has to be taken into account. The point here is that in the face of so much neglect of our agriculture, you see there is still, after four years of the Modi government and much of the modernisation of the e-market in the farm goods mandis, the latest heart-rending news is the farmer in Madhya Pradesh in Vidisha district had to die, horror of horrors, in the scorching sun in which he stood in a queue for long   for four days!

And yet he could get his crop to be weighed and sold! What use the e-market; one is tempted to ask the government. So, here is some green news. The TV channels show the green Telangana, full of cheering faces, the farmer ploughing his land, the rice fields full of latest ripe crops, the farmers’ wives smiling and as they attend to the haystock and every moment is a joy to watch a such promising land reform package, the Telangana government has announced. First the land records updating. Oh, this is almost an impossible task, given the age-old laws, the age old revenue department and the corruption that grips this one of the oldest government departments. How many reforms had come about in this sector and yet, you please take this as a test and ask any ordinary farmer!

How to get your basic land record? Then you will understand the age in which our hapless farmers are living. Life for an average Indian farmer is hell. Either the farmer is a debtor or a litigant! Or, both! How the rest of the society thriving on this hopeless mass of poor farmers.

So, the Telangana government has announced the Rythu Bandhu scheme under which land records would be cleaned, creating satisfied farmers. The budget allocation is Rs. 12,000 crores. 93 % of the farmers would be turned into litigation free! Oh, the hon’ble Chief Minister! If you can do only this and not any other programmes, the country would salute you! We salute you just for this one step of reform of the land records. 1.43 crores acres would be covered, says a government advertisement in all some 58 lakh farmers would benefit, and says the government.

Pattadar Passbook cum Title Deed with 17 security features and the first Cheque to be distributed to 58 lakh farmers.  From 10th may 2018!

This really a herculean programme of updating and purifying the revenue records in just about hundred days. The programme has already deployed 1,523 teams in 10,823 villages in 568 mandals of 30 districts in Telangana (excluding Hyderabad), verifying a mammoth total of 2,38,551 acres of land! Only those who do  actual farming, one who lives in the villages know the hardships suffered by the farmers!

The government proclaims that this  is a novel initiative  by a visionary government, the first time in the history  of India! Yes, the Telangana government has attempted this bold Rythu Bandhu reform. We know the many hurdles in the way of implementation. But why not?

Come what may! We wish the hon’ble Chief Minister to taking up such a revolutionary step! May the Telangana government deserves all praise and let other states, their chief ministers  draw inspiration from what the hon’ble Chandrasekhar Rao  has  done for Indian farmers’ welfare!

So, the problems of farmers and villages  continue to suffer

We are glad to see the Prime Minister’s visit to the Left-Wing  Extremists-affected Chhattisgarh  districts is very inspiring and timely. Why not the much talked about technology-enabled schemes, the rural BPO programmes take off in such remote villages?

Very fine. We congratulate the PM and ask for such progressive programmes reach out to other states and remote villages. The Bastar Internet scheme under which a 40,000-km network of fibre optic cables would be spread across seven districts of the tribal region.

EMS Namboodiripad

EMS Namboodiripad

Likewise, we also want the agri/rural sector needs some radical changes and reforms in many areas of legislative changes.
In this issue itself we have featured the latest legislative programme, a model land leasing programme prepared by the Government’s NITI AAYOG is featured. This is for the wider public understanding of the issue that lies at the very heart of the current agriculture distress and the tragedy of large scale farmers’ suicides and the many related issues.

Land ownership issue is very old and persisting.  The various land reforms legislations in different states are also featured and we will carry the same in the coming issues.

The publishers of this magazine live at the interstate border of TN and Kerala and in these states the land legislations saw extreme swings, under the Communist regime of EMS Namboodiripad and also in TN under the Dravidian extremisms.

They net result, as on today in both these states is that agriculture sector is one of extreme poverty and zero investment.
Everyone knows, more so the current politicians too that that to own and old on to agriculture landed property is a curse!

The average Indian farmer, often the marginal and small category, is a debtor or a litigant or both!

No wise person would invest in agriculture and the present land holdings are fast turned into real estate and the result is  more smaller parcels of land you can see everywhere on the outskirts of the towns. This true in Karnataka too. This must be the same in Noida and the outskirts too!

So, when the Prime Minister says he would double the frames incomes it sound so hallow and unconvincing for all who know the subject.

Like all slogans and catch phrases, this too sounds like Indira Gandhi’s ‘quite poverty’ slogan!

This will never be possible unless we realise that the current very regressive land tenancy and ceiling legislations are e relaxed as set out in the government’s own NITI Aayog proposals.
But then the question is who, whose government would do this sort of radical and progressive legislation?

This is progressive legislation and we all must realise this.
The agriculture media that is non-existent today must be encouraged by the government and the corporate sector so that more publicity and awareness is created.

We have persisted in this mission for very long. A correspondent from Agri writes that while the agricultural publications are all suffering from financial troubles how we at the Vadamalai Media survive! A good question and we are thankful for such wider awareness as to how difficult it is for good news or good word to spread than fake news and what has you. Fake news might suit the Trump regime in the USA. Not here! This is our view.

We hope radical legislative changes are made in our existing laws, some of which are old and British colonial mindset must also change.

Let us relax our land legislations, let new generation of youngsters, young entrepreneurs come forward to invest, work and live in the rural environment so that much of the priority development goals like  sustainable growth and development, inspirational district programmes, the PM is speaking about become a reality sooner than later!

New technologies, new mindsets and new and open-minded programmes only can save rural India and our much distress farmers. Jai Hind!