Let them read the autobiography of the Indian Nobel Prize winner Venkat Ramakrishnan!

The book’s name: Gene Machine – The race to decipher the secrets of the ribosome.
The book reads like a thriller. The recent autobiography of Venkat Ramakrishnan, Venki to his friends and admirers, the latest winner of the Nobel Prize (for discovering the ribosome, a particle in biological sciences) and also as we understand is the current president of the much prestigious British Royal Society; must be prescribed as a text for study in our schools and colleges.

Nobel Prize winner Venkat Ramakrishnan

Nobel Prize winner Venkat Ramakrishnan

If there is any lesson from that book, it is this: Everything about the Indian education system is wrong, just the very opposite of what Venki says about his life and education and career and the pinnacle of success, the ultimate dazzling success he made! He studied in schools and colleges and all he did it to enter a college in America and got 56 rejections and after that he finds his way to the UK- Cambridge. There in his lab, he discovered something whose name and significance was not known for long and to the surprise of all of his colleagues and scientists – the world over, he won this prestigious prize!

So, we can say now that this is what education means and that it ultimately rewards for your toil and even your leisure time pursuits. He comes from a family where his parents themselves were PhDs! His sister is a PhD and now heads Immunology Department of Medicine, Cambridge. One of his sons is an expert in Western Classical Music (cellist). A Tamil Brahmin, vegetarian, a simple and unassuming looking man, this is a story worth telling many times.

Our current state of education had fallen to its depths; there is everywhere everyday full-page commercial ads tempting innocent parents and children to join one teaching coaching institute or the other. Our education system doesn’t search for talents.

Dead weight of government is holding back growth of IT industry, says Asha Jadeja Motwani, an angel investor from the Silicon Valley. The visiting expert says that the Indian IT ecosystem could grow ten times faster and stronger than the present state, if only the government did not (the bureaucrats sitting in comfortable chairs)come in the way. She says that politicians come and go but the babus are there all the time trying to obstruct and ask questions they don’t really know! They are sitting in positions of power and once they sit in one chair they don’t easily vacate!

We have only to see the recent goings in the top level bodies like the CBI and elsewhere. And also the return of the retired bureaucrats! They too once set foot in the cosy Lutyen bungalow zone; there is no way you can transfer them out! Ms.Motwani asks why the bureaucrats are designated as the IT In-charge when they don’t know what an IT start-up is, they haven’t tried their hands and so it is the actual doers who must guide the start-ups, not the pen-pushers!

Now, education must encourage and promote talents. And talents don’t come easy in the existing Indian environment. There are restrictions and regulations everywhere.  See the mushroom growth of the schools, the CBSE has become a milking cow! To get the licence from the CBSE is a full-time job; there are any numbers of new CBSE schools and also the exams! The much-admired Venki never wrote the GRE and if you don’t have the GRE, no American University would take you in and Venki sent his applications to some 50 universities and all rejected them!

The co-sharer of the Nobel Prize with Venki, Thomas Steitz, who had rejected his application for a research post, was the one who also shared the Nobel Prize! The third one who also shared the Prize was the one; an Israeli Ada Yonath had quarrels with and had a stormy relationship with him!

Indian education must learn words and concepts like E-learning, digitisation in cloud storage, cloud computing etc. There should be digitisation of the classrooms. It is time to act upon. In Bangalore such steps are being talked about. It is also time to teach our youngster to take risk in their learning processes. There is no safe, riskless world around us. Our inaction and lethargy is killing lakhs of students’s dreams and aspirations.

One more request to policy makers. Don’t select education ministers from the common fry! Look out for those who have the courage to take risk for the latest learning opportunities.

Our education eco-system is superficially constructed. Only the skimpy part, the cash-exchange surface is cared about. Yes, what do we care for when we talk of education? It is the money part, the immediate cash-exchange we seem to care about.

Otherwise, who cares for the children in their early years? As per the Global Nutrition Report 2018 – the reality is that a third of the world’s stunted children under five, an estimated 46.6 million who have low height for age – live in India!

eduAnybody cares? Anybody speaks out?  No,not at all!  What does this mean for the education policy makers? Nothing, nothing at all! A quarter of the children display wasting (that is, low weight for height) as well! As the Report reveals, there are wide variations in the stunting levels in various parts of the country. The central and northern states show a high level, respectively 30% to 40% and less than 20% in almost the entire south.

What does reality also mean for other aspects of the children’s health and well-being, the mothers, the food and other needs, the access to these realities, children development institutions, child welfare services and a whole range of services that could make an enormous difference to the future of children?

An education eco-system that really shows any political commitment must start with a range of issues. Our education reform policies must cover to tackle the problem at its roots. Every LKG, UKG School must take care of some of these issues. They must have to care for the feeding and health issues. Any special needs must be attended to. Food and freedom go together. Also, the maternal situation, the mother’s awareness and also the age of marriage and the rights of the ‘girl’ mothers is a grim reality in many backward areas and much more are at stake.

Any genuinely conceived education process must start with these ground realities. We talk about the private sector in education. This at the moment is only concerned with the money-making part! Not taking any more responsibilities! Education Ministers must be more responsible individuals. Education must have more and more women-run and women-centric institutions. In some of the European countries all the pre-school education, why even at the primary levels are manned exclusively by women.

World-wide the issue is now getting attention. UN agencies, UNICEF and World Food Programmes are all at it. There are also many, even thousands of NGOs and social service agencies engaged in providing relief at many levels.

But the coverage is not yet full. The malnutrition and stunted children are the twin challenges to our century’s education issues. Malnutrition kills – some estimated one million deaths every year. Malnutrition wears down the immune system. So, even a common cold could cause the death. Now, the distribution of the packaged food in the form of ‘Plumpy Nut’, a packet butter, dried milk, oil and sugar fortified with extra vitamins and calories introduced in 1996 is said to be very effective. One or two packets a day can restore a child’s health in a few months. Right now, the severe malnutrition has become a big challenge in African countries; Sahel countries face a grim challenge. Yemen, South Sudan-entirely man-made crises, war and drought are the causes. The World Food programmes and UNICEF have the chief responsibility to feed the children.

Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated $5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.

As for India, we can’t be left without an action plan. What is happening in India? This raises many tough questions. Our education policies are not drawn up with any depth of knowledge of the issues and also any commitment. We have become a talking nation; cheap election rhetoric seems to satisfy many of the thoughtful people even. See the silence in the policy making capital -Delhi – itself suffers from lack of any serious ideas of pollution in the capital. Then where is the time for the stake holders, the occupants of the Lutyen’s bungalow zone!

So, we can’t do more than point out some bitter truths and realities!

Thoughts and thought processes after visiting Rome and Greece historic sites!

chairmanIt is a strange thought and yet it is a thought that I would like to register in the minds of Indians and also for others who might be interested in the study of classical world of Greece and Rome. Classical education at Oxford and Cambridge had shaped the modern world by its civilizational values. Classics education is unique to Western European Universities. Schools in the UK, France, Germany and other countries have nurtured school systems known by various names. We had visited the British Public Schools, the French Lycées and also the schools in Switzerland and Germany.

Each of these countries had evolved their schooling systems by their own historic experiences and also by experiments and by freedoms for individual thinkers. The subject needs much study and research for the Indian education policy makers. Here is only a brief outline.

Just now, we  have ‘celebrated’ the end of the  First World War, also called the Great War, from 1914 to 1918.The one hundred year’s’celebration’ was low key in India. Great Britain, though it is no greater, very little in geographical size has very much reduced in its importance on the rest of the world. There were books and reviews lately as to how we, Indians look at the war. The thousands of men who were sent into the war as sepoys died in thousands by various estimates. One estimate of 70,500 men, mostly uneducated and rural men, largely from Punjab and other states, from the South and elsewhere perished without any trace. The total number of Indians recruited was 1.28 million out of which the high causality was among the Indians. There are various versions and view points from the books.

One book – India, Empire and First World War Culture: Writings, Images and Songs by Santanu Das, Cambridge University Press (Rs.2,145) and another volume by George Morton-Jack, called The Indian Empire at War: From Jihad to Victory, The Untold Story of the Indian Army in the First World War (Little, Brown, Rs.699).

The two books alone, if taken as representative in their view points, one hides the harsh facts, racial slurs, as the soldiers were treated at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton; the British given the times in which the War came about, in1914, kept a stiff upper lip, as though they were doing a favour for the injured and the sick and much else was hidden from the public view. Even today there is very little on the controversial issues.

The other book at least tries to say much about the unjust war and how the Indians were unwillingly thrust into the conflicts that were unsung and untalked about. This happened more so, ironically inside India, inspite of the active role played by our leaders. Morton-Jack touches upon “the glaring injustice done to the colonialized people, fighting and dying for a cause that were not remotely their own”. The total impression we get is that the Brits were unapologetically Raj apologists and even now, after the Brits had lost their empires there is no sign they feel regretful for what they did to the Indian Empire causalities.

How about in India?
The most saddening thing is that the end of the ‘Great War’ didn’t mean anything to the Indians, both the general public as well as the guilty men at the top levels. There are any numbers of monuments inside India, as they are also outside, in France and elsewhere. In Bangalore and Madras, to cite the nearby monuments, also in Delhi, the India Gate, the only monument of all India significance and that there were not anything else to mourn about the great sacrifices made by the unfortunate Indian sepoys in the far-off lands.

Do we have any history in our schools and colleges that remind us what India went through? Sadly, no! I doubt very much about the sensibilities of the Indian people for their past sacrifices from our own experiences during our freedom struggle; from 1885 when the Congress was established, from Dadabhai Naoroji or R.C.Dutt; from the Swadeshi movement; or from 1904 to 1914 when Gandhi returned from South Africa and the other events like the gruesome Amritsar massacre.

Why did the Amritsar massacre evoke a much more critical attitude towards the British treachery? Talking about the British treachery, I am not sure whether Indians know about the British own past, the rarely mentioned, let alone discussed, the British own trait of perfidious Albion. Yes, we not even felt needed the character like Robert Clive who practiced this perfidy, first in Arcot, then in Plassey. Once the British started occupying territory, they forgo their trade and became fully traitors; another like Dalhousie practiced this trait ruthlessly.

In a page by Santanu Das there is a “trenchant critique of Gandhi who had zealously participated in the recruitment campaign while continuing to preaching the doctrine of non-violence! So, we didn’t understand a thing about the Great War, right? We have to say so and it needs much debate and discussion, even the Gandhi-Tagore correspondence has much to shed light on the sensitivities displayed by the two great men of the times.

Romain Rolland (29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist - awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915

Romain Rolland (29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist – awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915

Gandhi’s own doctrines evolved over the years, no doubt, but the contradictions in the outlook of the Indian leaders was conditioned by their own times. Their understanding of the outside world, the past histories of mankind, in Europe and elsewhere were severely limited. The Indian awakening was all there to play roles to make Indians to exist in such dark times. There were men like SwamiVivekananda and Sri Aurobindo Ghose and others but the political awakening was very limited.

Our English-speaking classes were, it seems, were confined to a very narrow world of jobs and survival or caught in our own spiritual past and did not have the secular concerns. This was a world where Indians were not exposed to the great glories of the civilizations, from Greece to Rome and of the later times. Even the best of the Indian leaders, many of them, highly learned and scholarly, also were misled or were plainly ignorant. They did have only a limited knowledge of the outside world. Their knowledge and education didn’t touch upon the lives of great thinkers and philosophers, from Socrates to Plato or even later times to the great European thought. Hegel and Kant- no one seemed to have had any knowledge or interest. The great British Universities were very self-absorbed. Europe was cut off from India and China. The rise of sciences and the critical thinking, Voltaire and Rousseau were outside the reach of the Indians. They were steeped in total darkness.

British Empire, the Portuguese and the French and other European powers thrived on imperialist competition and land-grabbing. Of course, Indians were sinking in darkness and superstitions. Awakening came much later, Bengal Renaissance was the beginning. I was a loner at Oxford, my background was utterly different. Only after I went to Oxford in 1959, I really started to learn afresh much about the positive strengths and their weaknesses too.

An innate belief in the superiority of the British race must have contributed to overall Indian attitudes towards the ruling white race, also in the belief of the superior wisdom of the Indian official class, the ICS and why even the Indian subordinate staff in the various
government departments.

Luckily, I went to a nationalist school; ironically the foundation stone was laid by none other than the great soul – Mahatma Gandhi. Also, the Ramakrishna Mission School imbibed the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and so there was a streak of nationalist pride in us, the boys in the school. Added to this spirit was my later joining the Shantiniketan and from then onwards I was growing very differently from the rest of the Indian crowd. Now, the critical times came my way during my getting into Oxford by an unorthodox manner may be;  the Warden of New College, Sir William Goodenough Hayter, was a former British Ambassador to the then Soviet Union. He must have wanted to give India some importance and so he just admitted me once I started writing letters seeking admission to Oxford.

Now, I landed up at Oxford from a village and my background was rural gentry etc. and from then on, I wanted to learn things my way. My College was a quite well-established one, some 700 years of history and there was strong academic background. Some of my British friends were fresh from Eton, the great English Public School. And once when I mentioned the name of Thucydides, the great Greek historian who wrote the famous book on The Peloponnesian  War ( B.C.431), my British Eton College friend started to recite in chaste Greek language – the funeral speech of the great Greek statesman and general, Pericles! This surprised me and inspired me beyond description.Only then I came to learn more about Greece and, later, Rome.There are at Oxford certain academic courses about which no one in India, I am certain had even heard about.

The most rated course at Oxford is the ‘Greats’, the study of Latin and Greek languages and literatures. There are any numbers of scholarships to pursue these courses at Oxford. There are also many combinations with literature, history and philosophies. To make things easy for others, certain other courses are also there, most notably, the ‘modern Greats’, Philosophy, Politics and Economists, the famed PPE! I joined the PPE. Soon I learnt the Oxford ways. I joined the Oxford Debating Union and at the very first meeting I made a speech and got favourable reviews. I joined other student clubs too, Oxford Poetry Club, Oxford Labour Club and some others. It was a three-year course but I was given an exemption after I got First in M.A.in India, at Visva-Bharati. Otherwise, I should have had studied the French language!

The serious point here is that after I bought a pocket edition of the Peloponnesian War, translated by the famed scholar, Livingstone, I started to read more about Greece and Rome.There is a tradition in Oxford that students plan to travel to Rome and Greece over land, by travelling by hitchhiking and otherwise and I was also planning a trip while at Oxford. There was money and time and yet for some unknown reasons that trip didn’t materialize.

But now looking back, some 60 odd years, my life’s fulfillment of seeing Rome and Greece came my way, thanks to propitious circumstances. I was able to realise my dreams that I went with my family and we stayed longer than we anticipated. We spent enough time and explored almost all the historic sites and other monuments.

There were  many pleasant encounters too! Sometimes our tourist guide, a pleasant lady, used to look out for us, “the English speaking 5-member family, please wait, I will speak to you separately, as you already know more about this history”, as she was speaking to the
French, German and other European language visitors asking us to stand aside so that she could speak to us separately for she found out that we were the well-read and more eager to know more details!

The serious point I want to make here is that unfortunately, we in India, have been fed on the Macaulay system of education that limited Indians to learn English language only for becoming clerks in various British establishments. The ICS fellows too fell only in this category of obedient and subservient servants of the British colonial masters, right?

Other many more thoughts of much gravitas are: A whole lot of many generations of Indians, starting from the establishment of the East India Company in AD.1600 onwards, we the so-called English educated Indians, from the time of the great Raja Ram Mohan Roy, onwards were not even aware of what the study of Greece and Rome meant for the British ruling classes. The British, the aristocratic upper crust, imagined themselves to have cast in the ancient Greek and Roman multi-touch – Robert Clive started at the bottom of the social order, soon others, the Lords and Earls and other titled names added their own names to the ruling elite! Once the Brits learnt to grab territories in India, Robert Clive’s first victory at Arcot in Madras Presidency to Plassey battle in 1757 where, they also learnt to keep Indians’ ignorance of the great histories of the past. Greece and Rome were of no use for Indian subjects.

An educated Indian must have become an enlightened Indian. Alas! This had never happened. The more colonies the Brits occupied and ruled the more they kept the special secrets of Empire, Imperialism to themselves. Pericles, Julius Caesar and many others and the great battles of the past, the Italian Renaissance, the French Revolution, the European Enlightenment all stayed outside the concerns of the Indians. The maharajas were worse in their ignorance and self-indulgence.

They were strictly kept out of any learning processes or learning any lessons! So, readers can find now, as we submit humbly, that even our great leaders of such stature, Rajaram Mohan Roy of the Bengal Renaissance, even Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi and why even the modern-minded Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, I submit, operated in a world that was much richer and deeper in many spheres of the working of the man’s mind and reflections.

Rabindranath Tagore, FRAS (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), Writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, painter- the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913

Rabindranath Tagore, FRAS (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), Writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, painter- the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913

Alas! Indians missed the many opportunities. Robert Clive, started as a clerk in Madras, rose to become the empire’s greatest achiever! It was only after the battle of Plassey, the British had a taste of the Indian booty and the upper classes, the aristocrats started one Oxford College alone, namely the Balliol which sent out some 23 Viceroys! They were taught Plato as their bible, the one who took so much pride in such achievement was the College Warden, Benjamin Jowett. Indians remained outside their charmed circles. So, we leave the readers at this point, though it is time that we also start learning more on this Perfidious Albion and their treacherous empire-building tales with much more critical eyes than we were fed by the conventional histories descending on India.

What all destructions they had caused; the great famines and pestilence and starvations and deaths on such vast scales. Starting from Clive and ending with the bulldog, Winston Churchill. It is time we start afresh.

We have to recast our education system upside down!We have to teach classics, all the great works of great philosophers, thinkers, ancient histories to European Enlightenment.

Even the great Tagore, in his conception and articulation of a world University, the Visva-Bharati, saw West and East only in modern Europe and modern Asia. So too, others! Though Tagore invited and got great western thinkers like the French saint Sylvain Levi and other Europeans, they too didn’t see the relevance of classical education of Greece and Rome as basic foundations and the Greek philosophy and ancient democracy, Roman law and
Republican virtues.

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.

In three crucial Hindi heartland states!
What does this election win means?
Means the rural distress in the agri sector nearly over?
Rahul’s new found confidence justifies his current speeches and even his threatening postures?
Yes, yes, he has every reason to be enthused about his hard-won battles!

rahul-gandhiBut then write-off of farm loans in MP and Chattisgarh, may be in  Rajasthan too might trigger further demands for the BJP-ruled states too! Why not?

It will take some more time, may be only after the 2019 big test, that further promises and even some write-off might be demanded.
Already the Karnataka write-off is half way.

The hard reality is that write-off of farm loans are never easy and never solved the current persisting farm distress. This needs hard thinking too.

Let us be a bit realistic and also so honest that even in the
Congress times of old there never was such a proposal, write-off of crop loans. It needs experts and also much field level experience.
At the micro level and macro level issues and realities.

At present even the well-meaning Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi couldn’t do more than what his government has done for the farming community. We just don’t have some really well-meaning capable people at the top.

You see experts are urban-based?

And when the agri ministers or officials, let alone the Prime Minister don’t even speak out? Rahul Gandhi has promised write-off farm loans within ten days of coming back to power! Can he do this? Is there going to be any practical action in the time before the general election in 2019comes fast! Whom to trust when it comes to agri issues?

Very rarely we get to know of the farmers issues. Agri issues don’t make to it to TV news headlines unless it is a massive march or a big rally as it took place on November 30   in Delhi where came farmers in large numbers from all states, and the much-publicised 200 odd farmers organisations managed to gather such a large crowd of farmers. Only such massive rallies make good TV news and not when you discuss problems in cold print. And there are some critical factors like who organises the farmers.

Certainly political parties and they only one interest, that is of the coming elections and the parties gather together to win elections only.

Rahul Gandhi’s grand promises of writing off farm loans within ten days of coming to power is a myth and of course no one cares to ask such questions. It is the heat and the buzz that is all matters for the multiple TV channels and each channel makes lots of noise and some even screams hoarse and the louder the more viewer rating, right?
Yet the grand realities remain the same. A full page write up in the Hindu newspaper, of a 1,200 km travel by road by the newspaper’s correspondent  brings into sharp focus the  grim realities of rural living in the mostly desert state of Rajasthan and the various combinations of the castes of Rajasthan  had rejected the Vasundare Raje Scindia.

The villagers don’t show any unity as farmers and farmers are divided by castes and also classes.

There are rich farmers and poor farmers. It is not possible to gauge how the farmers are divided by political affiliations. In Rajasthan there is a sort of anger over the Rajasthan pride over the Padmavati film and also the manner in which the Rajasthan sentiment if hurt by the BJP not treating the senior Rajasthani leader, Jaswanth Singh who is ill and his son, Manvendra Singh who was with BJP and walked over to the Congress which had put him against the Chief Minister Vasundara Raje Scindia, a non Rajasthani!

It is widely predicted soon after the election process was over that the BJP might lose and the Congress might form the government. In Madhya Pradesh too, the Chief Minister Chauhan too face a tough Opposition, though he might scrap through and yet he would lose his shine, widely predicted again.

The point here is whether one part wins, the other loses, and the status of Indian agriculture, right now is one of deep distress.
No one seems to have any clue.

In the issue of the newspaper on another page it is highlighted how M.S.Swaminathan has co-authored a column, published from Bangalore, finally throwing out his hat and saying  that the GM cotton has failed, nay, all the GM crops a failure and GM technologies  won’t help, a  sustainable food production and nutritional security not possible by the GM technologies. So, we are left with no other alternative assurance, this government neither promises you these goals.

Now, what are we left with?

The same persisting rural distress and that means what?

Farmers suicides, as we write, in Maharashtra and UP as we write, and the government’s untrustworthy promises are only we are left with, ironically, every time with the every approaching elections!

So, it looks as though the time has come to see agriculture distress only in terms of electoral battles. Even the much hyped farm loan waiver in Karnataka is getting delayed.

And very soon the people, why, the farmers everywhere, seem to be ignored even in   Madhya Pradesh we saw police firing at Mandsaur where five farmers were killed in police firing!

While the Government’s Principal Scientific Adviser K.Vijay Raghavan had disputed the MSS research paper as deeply flawed, what is the real answer?

Alas! There is none in the official hierarchy to come out with an honest response. Nor we have any public intellectuals who can speak out.

Of course, it is not a scenario where we can leave with such a negative outlook when it comes to agricultural sector. In the outside world agriculture, food production and much else like ensuring nutrition to children and all such larger goals visionary goals are called for.FAO and other agencies have predicted serious consequences and emphasised future food needs of the world with higher populations. So let us think positively.

As far as this journal is concerned there are certain deeply entrenched policy prejudices that govern even today the agri sector in the country.

One, as the NIITI Aayog has come out with a model land legislation that suggests some bold reforms, make farming an equitable activity between the land owners and the tenants.

Currently, the tenancy and land ceiling and other issues are government by a rigid set of laws that have made farming unviable, among other factors.

Unless farming is seen as a possibly viable activity, more farmers would leave farming sector and move to other profitable activities like construction and other service industries.

There is a furious urbanisation process and many able-bodied people have left their rural habitats. In the north, from Bihar and UP, why other states like Odisha there is a seasonal migration to cities. From the other states too there is great migration process started, as for instance, most educated young man and women have moved to Bangalore and other cities. So, how do you care for agri productivity and production?

There two views for agriculture. One, the micro view and other macro view. The micro view is just look at problems in particular rural pockets. Life in the villages is becoming tougher every day. At the macro level we have bigger problems like Indian agriculture vs. the global agri issues, like agri trade and agri exports in particular.
WTO, why even the big agri economies like USA and China, they object to Indian agri subsidies. Now, India speaks a new agri export policy, doubling of exports. Fine!

It is our view that only when the agri exports rise, the farmers would get decent prices for their produce, as other countries, the USA, EU agri subsidies show. Let us feel confident on the agri front.
New governments must think on these lines. Jai Hind!