PM, Sonia Gandhi just talk casually!

About helping the farmers!

Who said the PM is a transparent man or really sensitive to farmers, farm decline or farm imports? Farmers’ suicides that continue don’t evoke any response from those in New Delhi. Delhi is really door hai! The PM, Sonia Gandhi or the FM don’t show any concern for all these things. They seem to inhabit a different, far-off rarified world.

After he expanded the Cabinet and after he held his second press conference the country found out in him a different persona. He seems to be a man for himself, confident in his own secret ways and he seems to be inviting criticisms, mild and strident, from a wider section of the media. He is called obfuscating (The Hindu).He seems to be full of “I, me and myself”(The Asian Age) and so on.

His record in office could be anything. It all depends upon those who look at the world according to his or her lens. As for his record for the agriculture front he is a dismal failure! He is talking all the time about an economic growth rate of 8 per cent. He even became bold and sounded populist when he promised a 10 per cent growth! What does the growth rate mean?

Nothing! It is about what is the economic development priorities like, that matters. So, seen in this perspective, agriculture under Dr.Manmohan Singh regime is a distinctive area of failure. Now we have the shame of importing wheat after seven years. Not only that, there is widespread speculation about India going for a massive import bill. Does the Prime Minister speak once about this widespread anxiety inside and outside of the farm sector? No, he doesn’t. Not only that while his own farm minister was signing the order for import he in his press conference denied having this import on his mind!

His much-favored rate of growth is very poor in the farm sector; it is just nearly 2 per cent while the claims in official terms are for 4 per cent. As a highly competent economist we expect from the PM some explanation or at least his own ideas as to what he intends to do for the Indian agriculture.

Much more ironical is the new populism of Sonia Gandhi on the election eve. While her favorite Finance Minister is giving a lecture( or an academic or better  what  he had picked up from his bankers or other hacks?) about the difficulties in lending farmers at a lower rate of interest(lower than what is now about 14 per cent for farm loans, this not taking into account the hassles of negotiating for bank loans by farmers)  Sonia Gandhi goes on a tour of rural Maharashtra and knowing the mood of the rural India she promises 80,000 crores more fund for farm credit than what the Finance Minister had  targeted! From where this massive fund would come?

The FM would now oblige her? And how? We have no clue.  We need more emphasis on agricultural productivity and we should keep the goal of food self-sufficiency. This is a sacred mantra for the Indian farmers and the Indian sense of independence. The AP CM Dr.Rajashekar Reddy is talking of seeking American help to activate our agri sector. He notes that America produces 30 per cent of the world food needs with just 4 per cent of people on the farming sector. Yes, this is true for USA, also for EU. But what is good for American agriculture is not good for Indian agriculture.

India would remain for a long time a predominantly an agrarian economy. India can’t compete with USA in agri productivity and also agri export markets. America has other advantages and it is world super power in the military and economic strength.

So, what India and the current Indian government should do is to become honest in its preoccupations with the private sector lobbies, urban lobbies for leaving agriculture for the exploitation of the big companies. So, this government might succeed or fall depending upon how its election-eve populism wins or the people win their wisdom and common sense when the elections come round.

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