This is the mandate for the government! Some simple common sense proposals!
Monsoon uncertainties are an integral part of agriculture. Anywhere and in any country. This must be widely known. So, any screaming headlines, in the print or TV media must not make much of any sense and must not create any alarm either.
The agriculture minister is the critical voice and he or she must be heard and seen at all times.
Now, under Mr.Modi, he is not. We don’t even know his name either, sorry!
An agriculture minister must also be seen as touring all parts of the country.
In India, the current scenario and the national mood is one of euphoria as well as great deal of anxiety. Why, readers can make up their own minds!
We seem to be doing many things are not thought previously as the domain of the government or governance. Yoga days is one example. Is this a national priority?
What on earth yoga, a traditional Indian practice, is now centre stage?
So too many other acts and activities of the government.
Agriculture has been our media venture and media concern for us for the last quarter century or so. So, readers must understand our mood. We are not too excited by what the government has done so far in the last 13 months in the domain of agriculture.
There is here a sort of short-term and very narrow focus on agriculture and rural development. Agriculture is where the largest Indian people are engaged. So too, we thought, the Prime Minister’s attention. The PM must be seen as very concerned about the framers’ suicides.
Please allot more funds to raise the compensations to the affected farmers.
There must be with the latest IT tools a real time monitoring of the farmers distress and immediate relief must be reaching the affected spots almost at once. Why not?
Now, the Indian agriculture scene is not good. There is a widespread distress in the rural pockets.
One other way is to make the price stabilisation fund more active, there can’t be any sudden price falls and a shock and distress over essential commodities prices. There must be a reasonable cushion for the sudden price fluctuations.
So, onion and potato, besides pulses are the critical agri commodities that hit the public attention and makes “news”!
Media is also playing a helpful role but only in creating sensationalism. Why not like weather forecast, make the food prices forecast almost a daily news bulletin.
What the DD is doing is inexcusable. Public service broadcasting must be more active and the minister concerned also must be seen and heard. Rural development is now a new area. No more you can talk of rural development as in the old fashion.
There is great deal of awareness in the rural areas and the next government can easily be defeated if you don’t take the rural areas affairs seriously. So, there is a need to ensure there is a safety mechanism that prevents distress hitting the rural people, be it over prices or jobs or even health and services.
Now, government services are also a new area where the government’s much touted social media tools must be deployed. A new power has come into the hands of the people, especially in the rural areas, through the mobile phones and so you have to bring about new services, new opportunities, to hear and redress grievances.
In the end, we have to become more balanced. Land owning is a big burden these days, everywhere, for all sizes, big and small farmers. So, liberlaise a bit the landownership, tenancy rights and also the size of land holdings.
Unless you really realise that land ownership is a private decision for concerned families and individuals, you would be keeping Indian agriculture only in the debt trap.
Time some new and radical change in the mindset is needed.
Allow a reasonable size on the holdings, say 100 acres minimum, if new technologies are brought in, new investments are brought in. A sort of middle sized holdings only can draw rural families to stay in agriculture. We need the youth in agriculture. We need bit modern and well-off families to stay back on the rural front.
There is no ideological role for this topic. Socialism gone out of fashion and so too capitalism is also gone out of fashion in farming. Bit corporate are having it easy by manipulating many laws to acquire and retain control on vast acres of rural lands.
This anomaly must be removed.
We are engaged in farming! Not for the money sake, for the sake of tradition and continuity in our family heritage. We lose money. We know it and yet continue to hold on! There must be hundreds of families like ours.
So please understand the rural stress and also this observation must give a clue to the farmer’s suicides. There is more than money here. There is a whole set of ideas and ideals like honour, family reputation and keeping one’s words etc.
Agriculture is both money and also a time-tested idea and ideals.