Elections and the rural rich!
How rich-poor divide will keep Indian villages always exploited!
Rich candidates vs. the poor voters and the constant picture of rural India!
Agriculture, the largest employer still and yet the rich politicians, the dynastic successors will define the future of the villages and the future of India as well?
We need a grand vision. Who can provide the same?
Yes, we want to write about the agriculture sector more. More about lives in the villages.
It is very tempting to do so we just now read about the elections at Uttarkhand state where 54% of farms are less than two hectares. The hill districts, 11 mountain districts read life a tragedy.
No politician in the elections spoke about agriculture! Why, this is the same story in the agriculturally rich Punjab where the two contending leaders, Mr.Badal and Amarinder Singh are the richest and the biggest land owners! Who cares?
Money, more so the liquor flowed and yet the poll was peaceful, though the six TV channels and the three major dailies were issued show cause notice.
So, this is all too electoral politics?
The rich candidates and the poor voters, or the rich vs. the poor will widen only.
That is politics and that is also economics too!
So, for a change we want to ask some hard questions.
Will there be villages in the India of the future?
Will there be a rural society?
India is a large and diverse country. However, the Indian growth story, as it is called by insiders and outsiders, is what catches the attention of many sections of the Indian audience as well as the foreigners.
Now, there is a slowdown, if not a plain fall in the growth rate. The current rate is something like 7.5%.This is compared most often with what China has been achieving, growth in 2011 at 8.9%, without taking note of the two countries very much diversity.
The two countries are facing different set of challenges. In China there is this great urban migration on a large scale, it seems. China is a great exporting country; it is the Chinese export-led growth that is in contrast with the largely internally growing economy that is one big contrast.
China is now concentrating, we are told (see the latest Economist magazine) on building railways, roads and housing. So far it is noted that about 160illion migrants from the countryside to provide the cheap labour in coastal cities that concentrate on export industries. Now, there are reports about unrest in the industrial factories, there are demands for higher wages and even there are unrests in village administrations and also there are political changes with the latest 18th Congress of the Community party since it was established in 1921 and a new set of leaders are going to take parting the change of leaders.
We in India don’t have any such situation.
In India, we have democracy and now there is a sense of pressure in India for change with Prime Minister Singh running off steam, as such, with a series of corruption scams that have tested the patience of the people.
What is talked of now in India is the subject of a policy paralysis.
What is this policy paralysis?
There is a series of confusions since the starting of the 20-G scam came to the fore.
The UPA-II has proved to be a coalition of vested interests. The political allies of the Congress have developed their own vested interests; the Trinamul wants to take cover under some imagined state autonomy. This is another name for non-performance and in fact the regional ally like Trinamool is faced with a serious policy paralysis. Even the basic minimum administration is missing. The CM has taken too many gambles to prove how ineffective her g hold on the administration is. The series of unforgivable infant deaths would have removed the last bastion of any sympathy for her even from her own admirers.
So too in the South for the AIADMK.
The CM had won such an overwhelming election success but once in power she proved that she has no other agenda except to undo whatever development projects the DMK might have done.
Of course, this is no excuse to leave out the vast number of scams the DMK ministers and their strongmen like land grabbing has indulged so far.
These are two examples of how the coalition parties have proved their use or non-use.
So, the question is both political and administrative.
In terms of politics we see the Congress has no great vision whatever and whatever little it had it evaporated under the ineffective leadership of the poor PM.
He is not a naturally elected leader.
Unless, the Indian polity evolves as a genuine democracy, it adheres to some basic democratic and parliamentary principles; it can’t manage the great many challenges.
As per the latest opinion polls, the Congress stands a very slim chance of winning in the next elections.
So, there is the big question mark.
How to compare China with India beyond a point?
In China, the Communist party dictatorship is there, in spite of the latest news about unrest in large parts of rural China and also in industrial establishments for higher wages.
But it looks, that India must become a place where large private investment, both FDI as well as investments by private sector must come from.
To make the next plan, the 12th plan, a success, it is noted by all, even by those who all attended the World Economic Forum, both the Indian participants as well as the foreign experts, world bank and IMF officials and others, India must attract more FDI, more investments.
This is said so many times and we in India must also realise what outsiders say.
India is seen as the clear favourite when it comes to investment. Though at present China might be attracting more investment, our democracy and open society must be seen as a long-term advantage.
How to ensure that such a democracy and open society addresses the great concerns of the largest number of people, the mass of the people, the poor and the disadvantaged.
Here only the role of rural India, the role of our villages come into top priority areas.
One great disappointment is that we have some clever men as Cabinet ministers. But they have proved flops: P.Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and even lately Jairam Ramesh.
They have suddenly become non-performers. Why, even the health minister is seen nowhere.
Thus, critical areas like education, health, rural development; our much-hyped panchayat raj is not discussed lately.
This of course includes the very top issue of agricultural transformation.
Of course Sharad Pawar is talking lot of practical common sense. But as a policy maker, as a great growth strategist what is his contribution?
He is seen as a cricket-loving man. So too his one or two other party colleagues. Thus, our agriculture suffered. In the sense our farmers continued with their suicide tales, there is much neglecting terms of policy reforms, no emphasis on rural credit expansion. We expected him, as great Maharashtrian leaders with an impressive track record in co-operative sugar industry would take forward the co-operative principle to launch some big schemes like an all India co-operative bank etc.
This is surely a great disappointment,
As for civil aviation, it proved a disaster under Proful Patel, his valued colleague.
So, somethings stick in public mind. We associate with some leaders for some failures; success rare is noticed, of course!
We have to see that the Indian villages won’t go away! Indian villages would continue to define Indian unity, Indian values and Indian mindset.
There are now talks of smaller states. More smaller states welcome! But let us not forget with more states our rural mass of people will get their due.
More schools, education opportunities, more panchayat raj institutions getting more funds and autonomy, with the latest technologies, a better and justice-driven distribution of foods and opportunities, more employment and the Indian youth and the Indian future become more tuned to a stronger India.