Posted below is an article by Ms Tavleen Singh on how Sonia had killed our economy with the Food Security Bill and the Land bill pushed by her son Rahul (I never like to use the Gandhi surname for them, I wish others also do the same.). In this context, I wish to state some of my observations.
My observation is that a time is going to come very soon, when we would not have enough food grains to feed our billion plus population. Today we can boast of surplus production and a growth in production of food grains, but this would not continue if Food Bill comes to stay. The proponents of the Bill say that more production would result as the farmers would be ensured of a minimum assured price for their produce. But the reality would be otherwise. When a farmer is assured of food for his household, he need not and would not use his energy to grow that food which he gets free and for which he would have to fight out time and again to enhance the minimum support price. He would find it judicious to grow other crops that would fetch him good price or higher margins. I have come across a couple of farmers in Tamil nadu who said this to me.
Tamilnadu is supplying rice at no cost and at cheap cost (Rs 2/ kg) since the earlier regime under Karunanidhi. After Jayalalithaa had come, the quality of this rice is also said to be good. So Tamilnadu is a test State of what happens to farming patterns and food production if food grains are available free of cost. The farmers whom I met from 2 different places – one from Theni and another from Tanjore, said that they stopped growing paddy and shifted to more lucrative cash crops. The availability of rice from Govt made them put into use their resources into making other crops that bring them more money. However in Tamilnadu scenario, Jayalaithaa is making sure that the rural economy is working well and rice production is increasing. The All India figures for rice production (see here) had fallen in the last couple of years whereas the production in Tamilnadu had increased (see here). Without Jayalalithaa’s rural economy model, this cannot continue. Same thing at the national level – if the penchant is not on reviving rural economy and increasing rice and grain production, the country would soon become hunger-ridden.
It is also likely that those who have good resources including water, would go for export varieties to earn more and there would not be enough grains coming to Govt godowns for distribution through PDS. In this context the best idea I ever heard was from Ms Vandana Shiva who told in Arnab’s debate that the farmer is the best source of Food security and not this bill. That is a valid point. She wanted a stop to GM seeds and fertiliser and pesticide subsidies which make a substantial part of governmental spending. Let the govt not spend money on these but make sure that the farmer gets water and grow in natural ways. Help the farmer to grow more food and let the govt do only governance – by overseeing that farming goes on well, and distribution goes on well.
Today’s TOL carried an Editorial which talked about the need for GM seeds to enhance food security! In this context I cannot help thinking about how agriculture had existed in this country for 1000s of years.
No farmer was known to have bought seeds until 100 years ago; or rather I would say before Independence. A part of his produce would be saved as seeds for the next season. The land was recycled with natural manure and pests were avoided – hold your breath – by astrology. Yes, agricultural astrology was well established in our country by which they chose to do farming activities on certain combination of planets and sun and moon which ensured that the crops were not spoiled by pests or floods or fire.
Tamilians would be familiar with a Tamil Panchanga popularly known as “Paambu Panchanga” (Snake Panchanga) which owes this name to the image of a long snake in its cover page.
The snake represents “Rahu Phani chakra” which is helpful in identifying the days for sowing so that pests and threat from floods and fire are averted. The farmer’s image above the snake, represents the “Hala” or “kalappai Chakra” which helps in identifying the ploughing days for making good crops. The writers of this Panchanga got a copy right for this cover even before our Independence. This tells about the popularity of these two methods in raising crops among the farmers and this could not have happened had this not been a reliable guide to safe and bountiful farming. Those days are gone and that knowledge is gone.
Today, instead of helping the farming community to enhance their production and ensuring that their produce reaches all the people, the Govt is taking up roles which it must not. This Bill has no scope for maximising grains or rice production. In a few years, severe shortage of grains is what is going to be the gift of Sonia. We will be forced to import grains which would make our woes worst. From being an agricultural country which can be self sufficient to feed its billion mouths, we are going to be short of grains and hungry for ever. That is Sonia’s vision of India as Slum dogs and she and her coterie as Millionaires!
PS from astrology:
( Brihad Samhita chapter 47 - verse 28) "If Saturn and Rahu should meet, crops would be injured; commodity would become scarce; husbands and wives would be at strife; there would be drought and famine in the land; cows would suffer death and men would become exceedingly lazy"
Today Saturn and Rahu are moving towards each other in Libra (trader sign) and are 3 degrees apart. They will be meeting each other around 25th of September. This Food bill coming at this time is indicative of what is going to happen to agriculture as is outlined in the above verse.
Let’s talk about Sonia
Tavleen Singh :
Sun Sep 01 2013, 03:02 hrs
Such an ominous sense of bad times and foreboding hangs over political Delhi today that it is hard to remember that Sonia Gandhi took power in a happy, hopeful time 10 years ago. When she first chose Manmohan Singh to govern India on her behalf, the economy was booming, foreign investors were flocking to our shores and young Indians were coming home from studies abroad instead of staying on. Remember? Remember how economic analysts predicted that by 2050, at the latest, India would enter the ranks of middle-income countries and would become able to offer all her citizens a release from the unrelenting horror of poverty?
This dream of prosperity is what Sonia has killed in the decade that she has been India’s de facto prime minister. She has killed it by changing our economic direction and taking us back to the times when Indira Gandhi sold us a more diminished dream—‘Garibi hatao’. With the passage of the food security and land Bills in the Lok Sabha last week, Sonia has made it clear that this is all she wants for India. Not prosperity but just the removal of poverty. She seems uninterested in India becoming a rich and prosperous country with fine, modern cities and a growing middle class. Could it be because such things threaten dynastic democracy?
It is easier to persuade Indians mired in poverty and marginal farming that dynastic democracy is in their best interests because like in feudal times, they will be looked after. They will be given cheap food grain and they will be given the right not to sell their land so that they can continue being subsistence farmers forever and ever. Of course they will have to do without roads, electricity, clean water, modern health care and sanitation, but so what? They can go to the ration shop and get their cheap food grain. And they can go to court and demand that their children be allowed to attend Delhi’s Sanskriti School, currently filled with the children of politicians and bureaucrats, because they have the right to education.
Sonia’s ‘rights-based governance’ and her vaunted ‘concern for the poor’ has brought the Indian economy to its knees. And there is no chance of it reviving because who is going to invest in a country in which the new land law makes buying land almost impossible? Under the new law you would need the consent of 80 per cent of the local population to acquire land for a road or an airport and then you would need to spend years ‘rehabilitating’ the affected families. Sonia’s acolytes went public after the land Bill was passed to declare that the law would make up for ‘centuries of injustice done to Indian farmers’. Incidentally, when farmers discover that they cannot sell irrigated land as easily as before, the proverbial you-know-what could really hit the ceiling. But by then there will be a new government in Delhi.
After the damage done by this one, we must hope that it will be a government with a happier economic vision. But since our leading opposition party has supported two of the most retrogressive laws ever made, the BJP does not deserve this chance. Narendra Modi is the only political leader, since Jawaharlal Nehru, who has articulated an economic vision that is new and definitely not socialist but how can he implement it with the Congress party’s B team as his A team? He needs to ask himself this question.
There were ways to oppose both the very flawed new laws that Sonia and Rahul have taken proud credit for. Why did the BJP not try and find them? Why did they not point out that if we spent the Rs 125,000 crore we will be spending by next year on food security on sanitation, better school meals and rural health care, we would end malnutrition and create desperately needed public services? Why did they not oppose the land Bill on the grounds that it would make it impossible to build the modern infrastructure without which India cannot move forward? These are questions that will be asked over and over again in the years to come. Meanwhile, we must reconcile ourselves to the sad reality that Sonia Gandhi’s socialism has ensured that India becomes the sick man of South Asia.
This is a terrifying thought in the week that we caught Yasin Bhatkal, allegedly responsible for nearly every jihadi terrorist act in the past decade. What does jihadi terrorism have to do with our economic collapse? Everything. In the 21st century, a country’s strength is measured as much by its economic might as it is by its military prowess. So an economically weak India is easy prey. Is it any wonder that the pall of gloom that hangs over India gets darker every day?
Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh