A vision for India’s villages!
Hopes for a sustainable world!
Hopes for a stable and equitable world!
All these revolve around how we see agriculture and the rural lives!
All are big themes and big thinking! This calls for some fresh thinking and fresh ideas. Too many people, all experts and visionaries and all with wider world experience and even experience in the governments and outside ,in their chosen fields have given us great many ideas in these areas.
Here, we are concerned about a sector that is agriculture and that too in the largely village and rural Indian context.
There is any number of views and voices of approval and even apologies and also at the same time many voices of dissent and even strongly held convictions.
The point here that India is now more and more, it seems, about cities and urban issues and urban visions. However, there is the constant fear of the vote-bank politics. That pulls the government to come up with some themes and also solutions by way of dishing out subsidies.
This subsidy-driven rural solution is as bad any other state-level freebies, like free colour TVs and mixies free laptops etc.
The latest corruption scandal that is now one more burden of the UPA-11’s credibility is the Rs.52 crores farm loan write-off.
This has led to Vidarbha farmers and those on the borders of AP to come out with a novel protest of beating the drums in front of the PSU banks that didn’t do an honest job. These banks, that must be the focal point of write off didn’t do any write off, says Mr.Tiwari of the Farmers Andolan in Nagpur.
The point is that the PM who made a special visit to Nagpur, or Wardha along with Mr.Sharad Pawar and offered a package and after all this fanfare how did this scandal take place?
The Pm promises action. Who would believe the PM’s words?
What happened to his various previous promises on so many other scams?
The credibility of our leaders is so low as to make things so meaningless and turn cynical and seek for desperate remedies.
So, there is a wide awakening among the public and in particular among the interest groups, be it NGOs or be it the business lobbies to share in a common vision for the future of our villages, for our agriculture.
India today is a very advanced agriculture country; we are number one rice exporter for the second year in running.
This was made possible, of course by government policies, with all the unacceptable farmers’ suicides and other negative features of our agriculture policy.
The simple one explanation for our doing well on the agri front is that agriculture is the world’s largest economy.
The world’s five largest grain exporters-USA, Australia, Canada, Argentina and the European Union-are now also joined by other new grain exporters or exporters-too-soon-to-be, India, Brazil and Thailand and some other South East Asian countries.
Simply being self-sufficient in food is no more a big deal. It is important now that the world must become one basket for food availability. Specially, food supplies must be augmented from all countries that are rich or to put in otherwise, as strategically important resources.
The strategically important resources, as far further of the global agriculture is concerned, are water, of course, river water and land resources, there are desertification and degradation of earth’s resources(see last page)and also river waters flowing, from one origin to other countries, like Brahmaputra, in China and flowing through India, Bangladesh and down into other South Asian states and also latest(see last page)the Tigris and Euphrates(see last page)that originate Mesopotamia to Syria Iraq and Iran.
In India itself, we have to shift our water-intensive crops in Punjab and Haryana to Eastern states where the soil fertility and also water resources are better available than in the traditional rice/wheat rotation in Punjab.
Of course, there is the other great issue of certain new themes and new challenges.
They are ,first climate change, second, earth warming and third, environment degradation, as in India and China (there it is much more serious) and also the other themes like urbanisation vs the future of our villages.
There is a total blindness among the Indian policy makers.
There are too many do-gooders around Sonia Gandhi who, sorry to say, is totally insensitive to people at the grassroots.
She seems to imagine that her current leadership will run through for long. Also, there is a divorce of sorts among the rural people and the Delhi-based do-gooders, most f them returned IAS officials and these officials and policemen abound at 10, Jan Path as well as in state Raj Bhavans!
So much for our distorted visions!
Let us at least recognize there is a new vision possible for Indian agriculture and rural India.
India can become a leading player in creating and building a new vision for agriculture and rural well-being based on scientific findings as well as traditional rural lifestyles, more autonomy at the grass roots with a more benign and positive new institutions like a decentralised panchayat raj etc.
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