Too little practical wisdom in agriculture
We have just spent a week in the village and had come back to Bangalore. What impressions we get? There is too much fancy talk about agriculture as reported in the English press. There is now news about setting about knowledge centres in the villages! As if this is going to change the farmers’ lives! The Central Government seems to have simply left out agriculture from their scheme of things! Do you hear any news from the government? From the Prime Minister? From the agri minister? Or, from the rural development minister?
All you hear about agriculture is from retired agri scientists or some routine official announcements. What we saw in the villages this time? Practically, there is no water, the ground water levels are going down. The rich and poor farmers give a contrast. The poor farmers sink in debts, they cling to their two or three acre plots. They borrow or invest from what they have in sinking one bore well. Soon they go dry! So, the poor farmers are driven to desperate situations. The so-called rich farmers don’t put their money in farming. They invest in non-farm businesses. It is the businessmen in the semi-rural areas who thrive. The villages are witnessing the migration of the people, the educated and the uneducated, to the towns. The villages are facing no unemployment! There is a shortage of labour! More so for agri activities.
Yet, what we see in Delhi? The Communist leaders met the PM and pleaded for a new legislation to protect agri labour! The Communist leaders all look well-dressed, pants and belts, they look like well-off civil servants. Bourgeois! So, we live in an India where the gap between the rural India and the urban India is widening.
Politics too has become strictly for the rich and well-off and the professional classes, lawyers to government servants, have learnt to co-exist for their own ‘vested interests’. There are so many antiquated laws about landownership. These are discouraging to buy or invest in land. In a developed district town like Coimbatore, the revenue department can be said to reflect the current mindset of the power structure. The transactions of buying and selling of lands is interrupted for months and perhaps some years, because the District Collector told us that patta books cant be issued to farmers!
So, how farmers would do their farming? How to borrow or take credit or go about doing farming? There are certain laws like Tenancy Protection Act which is administered by the revenue dept. The revenue dept. is the oldest dept. and also now, the most corrupt and beyond any reform! Poor farmers, innocently still visit the Collector’s offices for redressing the grievances! No grievances are redressed! Poor Collectors! They have lost all their powers, they are pawns in the hands of visiting ministers or senior officers from the headquarters!
Farmers’ lives are really tragic! They are being exploited by so many intermediaries. It is a great tragedy that when what we need is practical solutions to enable farmers to do farming, we in India, are caught by a system of vested interests that talk on behalf of farmers while the talkers simply have no personal stakes!
After one year in office, the UPA is not even talking about issues of public interest. All we hear is everyone is trying to solve his or her personal problems like how to escape from prosecution for corruption!
Where is panchayat raj? Where is the freedom for farmers? A real tragedy because our democracy had become under Manmohan Singh government a great drag on the lives of the poor, the villagers, the farmers. Only those who get government salaries, from teachers to Members of Parliament and to the higher-ups, are enjoying the fruits of democracy!
So, what little we do in Vadamalai Media, is about how to enable farmers, farm-related businessmen to put their money and efforts in ventures or projects that would have a bearing on the rural economy. These little efforts in the direction of a market-driven economy environment we hope will contribute towards creating a changed mindset among the rural India’s more energetic leaders to a new prosperous agrarian economy.
Rural India needs a new development ideology. This ideology has to expose the vested interests that are holding up the progress of the rural people. These vested interests need to be exposed through dedicated work by a set of new development strategies.
Vadamalai media is committed to give India such a development strategy for agriculture. Our various initiatives, more in particular in the Internet Media, are likely to shake-up the lethargy that we notice in the various dormant institutions, the agri universities, the various Central government undertakings dedicated to agriculture development.
Our print media is only one step towards unleasing the enormous potential that lies dormant for the lack of a new vision and a new prophet! Now, you can see that a new vision is before you!