It is generally agreed that freedom from hunger has been the most fundamental difference that helped Independent India rise up the global socio-economic hierarchy. The achievement is attributed to Dr. M. S. Swaminathan (August 7, 1925 – September 28, 2023). Dr. Swaminathan was more than a great scientist, it needed a genius of a different stature to shepherd India through its regulatory tangles and bureaucratic ways to usher in a transformative regime and that too at the farm level. Never before in Indian history had policy-level success been achieved on such a massive scale in such quick time.
A month back, it was evident beyond doubt that wheat yields were down due to the exceptional heat wave and government procurement of wheat would also remain far below the last year levels. But, the mirage of excess production, caused due to wrong estimates of wheat production and analytics by government agencies has led to misplaced policy decisions. In its exuberance to be a messiah to the world, India prodded private trade to export vast quantities of grain, which they complied with gusto. The central government also bravely announced an extension of the subsidized food programme by six months. Therefore, the government of India’s announcement to ban export of wheat has come like a bolt from the sky not only for Indian farmers, traders but also for the international community. Expectedly India has lost credibility and even the G7 has criticized the move.
The lockdown impacts different farming spaces differently and unless the bureaucracy consults the affected stakeholders the farm sector crisis will only deepen.
AAP stood for change and Punjab was ripe for the picking but an overconfident and inexperienced AAP floundered with its messaging and its issues
Engineering a systematic failure of the rural co-operative banking sector would be an unpardonable desecration that seems to be in the making
Yet another election with the same promises exposes the state of the politicians, surrounded by non-farmer courtiers who cannot even drum up new slogans.
Policies fail because policy-makers do not know the ground realities and do not consult those that know. The GST is a prime example
Prayers were answered as the monsoon made landfall in Kerala, close to where Vasco da Gama landed in 1498. Its impact on political fortunes will be just as significant. This government has promised to double farm incomes in six years and economists argued that this would be impossible because it would entail a 12 per cent annual growth in incomes, something that is unprecedented globally.
Food insecurity stems not from insufficient production but from irrational use and inequitable distribution of resources coupled with inaccessibility to food.
The Seventh Pay Commission recommends an additional annual benefit of Rs 1 lakh crore for salaried employees and pensioners. Where does it leave the hapless farmer?