Readers across the globe now have access to latest information in agriculture and related fields!
Yes, thanks to the spread of Internet and along without our website (agricultureinformation.com) now in its 8th year of operations, there is a huge reservoir of demand for latest information in agriculture and related fields.
This need we now address to fulfill.
Thanks to this new venture and diversification to put the magazine’s content on the web, we hope to reach out to a worldwide audience and hope to provide them with a bouquet of services. The business potential for agri sector is thus multiplied many times.
Readers can now order their subscriptions over the web.
Now, our thoughts on what it is like with the Prime Minister taking over the finance portfolio as well in the wake of the Mumbai outrage that had shaken the country to its core value system.
What is the future looks like?
Where is the agriculture debate? Where it is likely to head?
Agriculture won’t go away as long as there are experts are around! Yes, the agriculture debate is becoming more and more difficult for those participating in the debates. That is for the rich and powerful and influential. The rich, powerful and the influential are the corporates, those who want to seize the farm lands for their Special Economic Zones and even for factories like the just aborted Tata car factory in West Bengal .And also the powerful include the ruthless politicians of the present, like the Central and the state government functionaries, we see how the economic experts around the Prime Minister, including the Pm himself talk always in terms of rate of growth, fiscal deficit and also in terms of figures, quantity of funds allocated etc. The whole debate about agriculture has become quantity of grains produced and exported and imported.
We wonder whether any of our ministers really care for ideas, new or old. One wonders whether anyone among them, including the PM and his close colleagues, have read or remember Schumachar’s “Small is Beautiful”, a book that once helped to see the world in a more benign way.
Now, we have lost touch with reality even with our own people. We treat agriculture as if people don’t matter, as if only the quantity of grains produced and distributed matters.
Schumachar says that the people, of course he means here the real people, the mass of rural people and he says we have to remember that there is a psychological structure to people’s life and their work.
If we destroy the confidence, their honesty and their integrity and their truth-believing way of life then you can’t create wealth in any sustainable way and the lives of the mass of people would become unviable! There would be no psychological faith of the people in what they do and in what they transact and what they consider to be the bedrock of their way of life.
Indian agriculture is always, that is historically bound up with the rural credit system. Historically, the village money lender, the professional mahajan had existed for ages, from the Mughal and even from the pre-Moghal times. Says Prof.Irafan Habib (Indian economy: 1858-1914(Tulika Books).Traditional money lenders and the traditional Indian farmer as a choric debtor is well-established.
So, for over many centuries, certainly during the British rule and even after in Independent India, we have still the hold of the village money lender who is holding the key to villager’s survival.
So, the massive Rs.70, 000 crore farmers debt write-off, yes massive it was, didn’t revive agriculture in a positive way. Also, even after this write off, now in the last years of the second decade of economic reforms, as far as agriculture sector’s progress is concerned it is far from satisfactory.
It is because; the Central government doesn’t seem to believe in any systematic institutional reforms. This is for making agricultural credit as integral part of farming activities.
Even after the massive write off, farmers find themselves in no better conditions. There are discrimination between the PSB borrowers and the co-op credit society borrowers.
Is there any hope that with all our growth, our IT expertise, our Internet spread, though as low as just 2 per cent on date and yet with such hopes raised by new messiahs like Nandan Nilekani, as he expounds in his new book, can we hope to radically recast our rural economic scenario?
Can we make the Indian farmer a free man, an independent production powerhouse, a dignified individual?
Can we come out with new institutional reforms?
We must. Otherwise, there is no way we can claim any new meaning to our other host of activities and talks.
The wipe off must have been entrusted to the expert committees, not managed by the Finance Ministry directly and the relenting to farmers and small non-farm borrowers haven’t been revived in any sustainable manner.
The rural regional banks were amalgamated with the original sponsors, the PSBs and this has only made matters worse.
The urban and educated bank employees see themselves as outsiders and they see for their own pay and perks and the farmers, rural people’s interests are left out.
The RRBs for whatever their faults as well as the existing co-operative credit system must have been nurtured by the decentralised banks, at the state and district levels.
Unless the PM and the FM and experts like them have a historical perspective, they wont know that any amount of allocations through periodical acts through the highly unsatisfactory banking system wont create the bonding the borrowers would have with the lenders!
We have to see farmers as people who matter in the larger scheme of things.
You have to have insights into the rural psychology.
You can’t create voters and vote banks so blatantly! This is what you have all done now.
That is why rural debt would only growth as in keeping with the historic trend in India! Let us ask our now PM cum FM and others in the Planning Commission to read at least, Prof.Irfan Habib and some others, including Schumachar’s Small is Beautiful and now the one by Nandan Nilekani. To understand that it is needed now, in the last phase of the second decade of reforms, the fundamental reforms in agriculture is to re-establish the rural credit system through co-operatives and RRBs and improve on that base.
We invite our readers to visit our web pages and post their comments and make the journal a real interactive power for the larger good of agriculture and the many issues that impinge on that score, global warming, green issues and many other issues that impact the lives of the masses of people.