Do men become dishonest once they sit in power?
It looks like that in Indian politics.
See the grandiose promise the Congress and the Left made when they captured power. They promised midday meals, job guarantee, improve agriculture and the rural areas. Now, see the job guarantee bill even before it is introduced in Parliament is diluted!Now, they talk of funds, selection of geographical areas and the number of days this supposed jobs are to be given.Who are these men and women? The PM, FM and the Planning Commission Deputy are all very clever men. They know what they are talking. Are they honest? May be. But they have no real power.
They are lightweights. They have no political stakes. They know, they have nothing to gain or lose. So, they talk like this!What about the Communists who are protesting, rather dishonestly.The Communists have no theories anymore, only mental blocks.So, they oppose petroleum price rise, they want jobs under the guarantee scheme for all rural families, they want PF interest rate raised, they also want the right to strike by “government employees”.They are the worst offenders of anything that really touches the lives of the poor and the disadvantaged.
The government is top heavy. The new norms of downsizing of government, transparent government, lean government, devolution of powers etc. are not seen anywhere in the scheme of this government. What is the message? You are again a cosy part of the evolving sociology of power structure, monopoly capitalism,exploitative class structure? A law for the ruling classes, another for the exploitative classes? What are the stakes now?The number of poor people, families, living with one dollar a day is too much.
The food-insecurity poor are concentrated in all States,more in UP, Bihar, Orissa and Maharashtra. There are disturbing news stories of farmers suicides, malnutrition deaths of children,tribal children and the poverty in the rural side is too visible. So too unemployment. Agriculture is losing as a profession. Everybody knows well. May be Mr.Sharad Pawar knows rather too well. Yet,what the Singh government does? Practically nothing. Are webeing too harsh? No honestly not! We all know that the USA, EU alone pay still very huge agri subsidies. EU cows get more subsidies than average Indian farmers.
All facts and figures have been given.An average EU cow is subsidised a dollar a day! Let our government subsidise our average farmer a dollar a day!While the US-EU are wanting India to reduce subsidies, our government at the WTO meets pretends to be safeguarding our farmers. Inside, our government is discouraging agri subsidies, as i fit is great economic wisdom! Our subsidy bill is Rs.1,16,000 crores in 2003-04. But this is for others! Not for farmers! We want direct farm subsidies. Economics is not everything. There are political power structure, the very sociology of the power.
In the Indian setup, there is a conspiracy of agri establishment,officials and bureaucrats and the very ignorance of the new upstart,urban and non-farming, OBCs have captured power.Mr.Chidambaram talks as if he had done big things for farmers. He does know that scheduled banks still charge as high as 14 per centfor farmers loans! So Mr.Ahluwalia says the agri credit target of doubling the amount in three years is not feasible within the 10thPlan.
The PM is simply not a reliable guide for he doesn’t speak and he had never been known to be a farmer friendly economist.This casual attitude of our government, ministers, MPs and the Leftists simply won’t do. There is no justification why subsidisation of agri sector should not start right from day one! As in tune with what is happening in all countries, more so in dominant agri economies.What matters today is how farmers lobby succeeds or fails. One thing is very clear. Agriculture is our backbone.
For our food security, national security and strategic self-reliance. Being such an important sector, agriculture needs heavy subsidies. Farmers’ subsidies would only restore farming’s health and dynamism.So, we say : any existing order, the status quo is never a good order in a democracy like ours! We need rational, radical policies for making our agricultural economy to sustain towards a vision of India as an agriculture power. All these call for hard thinking and hard decision making. Hope our ruling politicians get the message right!
Editor,Agriculture & Industry Survey