Economic growth slows down?
No, not at all!
See, the World Bank’s projection for the next year!
The very next day after the Prime Minister met the economists, came the World Bank projection of 7.3% for 2018 and 7.5 % in the next two years.
You see the economists these days have become more timid, academic and pro-government. The talents at the NITI Ayog seem limited.
It is the practical men, the politicians and the leaders who can take a broader view of things. It is the classes, in the Indian case, the caste groups, the privileged and the disadvantaged sections who can give policy makers a sense of robust reality and therefore some practical policy inputs.
One newspaper full page advertisement by a trade body put out even a crass claim of “How the Indian economy can grow at 10% per year for a decade”.
Is this not a certain madness, if not plain stupidity to trates the serious issue of economy growing or otherwise?
You see, we seem to be living through a particular way of politics and doing business and many other areas of national life.
First, economy is a tough field and its growth or slow-down depending upon various factors, politics included. Even the Prime Minister has not responded to the news about the economy slowing down. There are also various viewpoints as to why the economy slowed down. May be there are certain objective factors like the policies like Demonetisation or GST etc.
We need a more detailed analysis of policies we have adopted so far. The last three and half years are certainly a crucial period. Nor can we simply jump to the conclusion that the Indian economy under the UPA regime was all that good. The peoples’ perception certainly matters. There was large-scale corruption and the people were faced with many other issues like unemployment etc. The poverty ration, when compared to China, was still higher here.
And also, there is this reality that in the last three and half years there has been no doubt the Indian economy has undergone a great deal of structural shifts, there is transformation of the economy, there is solid growth in several key sectors.
There are external factors too like the crude oil prices that impact the Indian economy significantly. The chief statistician says that advance estimates indicate there is higher growth ahead. From one quarter to another there can be significant variations. Anyway, these are too serious issues for the government to take stock of the economic performance of the various sectors. Each issue needs separate and in-depth discussion.
It is another matter how the politician opinion is being shaped by the ruling and the Opposition parties. You see ours is a democracy and unlike, say, China, we have so many parties and also the highly extreme political polarisation in the polity. The PM also has characterised that there has been a paradigm shift. This is a fairly correct statement, it seems.
The important point here is however that the economy is big, next only to USA and China and as such we have to be very moderate in expressing opinion unless we are committed to the Indian story.
Our political institutions are fairly stable and we have a particular way of conducting ourselves, the media has a role, a responsible role and how the public opinion and public perception is shaped by these institutions.
As for particular sectors, we as a media devoted to the agri sector, has to note that a 2.1 per cent growth is certainly disappointing but not totally unexpected. We are sure the PM-NITI Ayog meet would deliberate on the agri sector issues in a more realistic way.
You see, agriculture would from now onwards become more complex, given the many related sector developments, from faster urbanisation than before, the coming of more National Highways and other infrastructure, telecommunications and of course the spread of education and the entry of more educated and skilled workforce, the traditional land-owning families getting consolidated or in the reverse, the disintegration of such families and also the land ownership further getting reduced.
You see, we are not just routine media in agriculture; we are committed to the agri sector’s future consolidation and strengthening of the rural livelihood future.
As such, we like to see that the industrial development that is taking place side by side of the rural development forces. This means certain new insights into the India’s villages’ future. You have to have a policy that enables the forces that make rural living a viable economic possibility in ten years to come.
Our view is that you have to make agriculture as a viable profession. Either as a small-farmer holding or a commercially viable business activity.
A feature of agri policy making in independent India was the abolition of zamindari system and the enactment of the many land reforms legislation. We saw the extreme features in Kerala which in 1959 under the Communist regime of EMS Namboodiripad, made the traditional tenants (under the traditional zenmi system) overnight land owners!
In other states, like Tamil Nadu too we saw the various land reforms, ceiling limits, tenancy protection etc. that in effect saw the gradual decline of agriculture.
Now, in our opinion, we pay the price for such “restrictive” land laws that there is an all-round decline in the profitability and viability of farming.
So, in our view, the only way to rejuvenate the agri sector is to make agricultural holdings viable. Viable in the sense we encourage more investments in agriculture, make agriculture high-tech, make possible for introduction of many new innovations in agri production or agri services, agri trading etc.
Vadamalai Media is carrying out so many stories that make anyone, including the policy makers, wonder even otherwise, under the older system of restrictive agriculture, such and so many innovative farming is possible.
So, instead of labouring the obvious truth, let us make agriculture sector more liberalised. A sort of 1991 economic liberalisation!
Yes, there is a strong political aspect to this sort of agri liberalisation. Politics? Yes, economics is not just devoid of politics. There is a whole new paradigm for agriculture reforms.
Agriculture trade,imports and exports and also there are many other aspects to agriculture production and of course distribution, the PDS, the consumer price and inflation that gets more media attention than the farmers’ woes.
So, you, the government ,has to deliberate, consult farmers leaders and other lobbies. We like to see that farming becomes a viable activity, more so to the new generation of youngsters from traditional farming families and also new generation of educated and also technically qualified persons who are entering into farming sector. Again, we like to refer the more serious readers to the pages of our journals and also our websites(www.agriculturalinformation.com).
The last issue carried a few pages on the US agriculture. There too there is the usual drought in US agriculture and also water shortage etc!
So, after a certain period we in India too must realise that we have to treat farmers vs. consumers as vote banks!
The time will come and force us to look at agri sector as an attractive investment destination! These are some of the thoughts to help agri policy makers.