Yes, says the new US President! See, agriculture is not just a job!
It is a way of life, a belief system, you know?
Yes, we have been running this magazine for years now. What is our experience?
We find that agriculture in India is being neglected by all sections of society. The government is interested to produce enough foodgrains to feed the Public Distribution System with an eye on the vote banks! If there is a food shortage or a food riot then any government would fall.
Yes that is how the Soviet Russia feel, you should know!
Also one more reason why Russia broke up was the fact that the Russians started importing food from the USA for years and when Gorbachev came to power, it was almost fully dependent upon the US foodgrains. All this has been fully written about and documented enough.
Even India was dependent upon the US food gift and only later we became with the Green Revolution somewhat self-sufficient in food production. Now, we have in fact some surplus food of sorts.
But the irony is that suddenly owing to our total neglect of the agriculture sector, owing more to the urban nature of our political class we have neglected the rural India and that is why we see a continuation of the farmer’s suicides.
Even the departing Lok Sabha Speaker, the redoubtable Somnath Chatterjee says that the Lok Sabha didn’t debate the farmer’s issues properly and there was always confrontation whenever the issues were raised.
It is a pity that in India which is supposed to be largely rural and about 60 or more percentage of people are engaged in farming as a source of livelihood, the agriculture policies are debated and shaped by bureaucrats or bureaucrats turned scientists and our successful agriculture spokesmen like Sharad Pawar has become a big businessman and he speaks for vested interests like the sugar lobby.
Pawar with due respect to his age and attainments, we have to say he hasn’t gone on to become the symbol and hopes of the millions of farmers across the country. He is seen as a Maratha strongman and we wish him well.
But again there are other farmers spokesmen and they are all dispersed and not organised into a powerful, all India Farmers Union as we have powerful Farmers Unions in EU and in the USA.
We have seen the UK Farmers Union office in London. What a huge setup it is! We don’t have anything like that.
We in India need such a powerful farmers lobby. This is democracy and we need powerful lobbying to get the sector’s demands met.
We at Vadamalai Media act as the powerful articulators of the farm sector, farmers aspirations and hopes and this we have been doing it for years hoping that the awaken farming sections would come forward to give their support by way of more subscriptions from farmers associations and farm industries sector.
One good news is here now.
That is the new US President Barack Obama has given his budget and that is supposed to be the biggest redistribution of wealth in US history.
One of the key components of Obama’s budget is a reduction in US farm subsidies!
US farm subsidies, the highest ever in history, is one of the key reasons why India is not able to save its farmers by boosting its agri exports and extending other concessions to our farmers.
This is a serious matter and needs separate discussion.
A 3.5 trillion budget, to tax the rich heavily and, a one trillion tax rise are sure to hit the concentrated wealth lobby of the US and there is going to be resistance to Obama’s proposals.
But the man deserves the world’s poor’s moral support and much more, understanding the issues that confront the world today.
US deficit, at 1.75 trillion, more than 12 per cent of the US GDP, is said to be the highest since the Second World War.
He targets farm subsidies and that is again unprecedented. There are rising anger and much irrational fears in the US corporate world.
But a leader must take some gamble, and gamble it is, say his critics.
In India we see weak responses.
There is no leader who thinks. All our current crop of leaders is followers! Followers of whom?
Readers can draw their own conclusions.
We don’t feel proud of our own people. Our ministers, see most of them are not even politicians, they are all drawn from urban professions, so many successful or otherwise, lawyers, these people live in Delhi and the ministerial jobs given by a pleased Sonia Gandhi comes in as a perquisite!
Minister’s jobs are great privileges.
Minister’s jobs must be given to political people, people who come from the people themselves, from the villages.
There are some 7 or 8 crucial Cabinet portfolios that are kept vacant.
Why Sonia Gandhi does things like this?
The Prime Minister is handicapped and now sick as well.
Poor Pranab Mukerjee is overburdened and his current budget is nothing but an election propaganda announcements.
How do you expect the country feel enthused?
We needed change on the lines of what change Obama promised and now he gives!
A refreshing change is what India needs.
So, agriculture, farming, rural India, we have to look forward with hope and confidence and the spread of education in the countryside, the education of girls and empowerment of women are all the hopes for a prosperous India and the vibrant countryside!