Land Acquisition: Kurushetra for Modi Government


Land Acquisition Bill blindly targets every land owned by the farmers. It is an undeclared emergency in the country. Despite heavy losses, farmers are proud to practice their profession. They are the life saviors of India. Without food grains where will the nation go? The Western mentality of destroying India’s agriculture indirectly through liberal advice, think-tanks and professionals are easily listened by every person who is occupying the seat of power in New Delhi. Why our governing people lose their head and thinking capacity? Instead of acquiring farm lands for private development, government must encourage private investment in agriculture. Farmers must be given loans at lowest interest, subsidy, encourage organic farming, discourage heavy usage of fertilizers and pesticides. Wastelands must be used for industry. If wastelands in villages close to ports and railway stations are used then there is no need for agricultural lands.

If agriculture is saved; India is saved. If farmers are destroyed then the nation is destroyed. Why to confront the wise farmers who are passionate to save this nation?

Times of India writes on 24 February 2015

Acknowledging the growing storm of opposition unity to changes in land acquisition legislation, Prime Minister Modi has sought cooperation of all parties, saying that “in a democracy, there should be dialogue, discussion and positive outcome.” President Pranab Mukherjee too sought “cooperation” from all MPs, telling both Houses of Parliament that the land acquisition law had been “suitably refined” even as he declared that the government attaches “paramount importance to safeguard the interest of farmers and families affected by land acquisition”.

The ordinance on land acquisition was part of Modi’s initial push to kick-start domestic investments. Yet, just weeks after the sobering Delhi verdict and under attack from motley opposition parties as well as groups within the Sangh Parivar – who accuse it of being “anti-farmer” and “pro-industry” – there are signs that the government may take a conciliatory approach and meet opposition half-way. The PM’s wedding diplomacy in Saifai with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi reflect this new approach.

BJP’s problem is that it supported the original land bill when in opposition. It has contributed as much as anybody else to the aura of piety around the bill. But the fact is that stringent conditions in the original bill hobble economic growth and state governments, across party lines, have complained that its clauses are unworkable in practice. If farmers get fair compensation for their land, they shouldn’t be seen universally as “victims” of land acquisition. And it’s quite plausible that their children will be happier with jobs in industry than having to till subdivided plots of land inherited from their parents. There should be no shame in course correction now and it’s the government that must bell the cat.

While there may be some give and take on the fine print, Modi must stick to his guns while deploying all of his diplomatic skills in bringing sections of the opposition on board. In a make-or-break budget session which will be a test case for his credentials as an economic reformer, the fate of land legislation is symbolic. If Modi blinks it will give a negative signal to industry which is impatient for big-ticket reforms. Restrictions on buying land are one of the key reasons holding up projects worth almost $300 billion and the PM must walk his talk.


Drought Everywhere

The world is blankly looking up the sky for rains. Non stoppable heat waves had laughing fast run on the planet. Even some of the coolest places faced the heat of the summer this year.With no signs of rain in the coming days the world is heading towards a severe drought situation. Without blaming others, the Government should step forward to sought out the pending problems. Otherwise it will lead anti-social events that may the toll of the government.

Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times on 25 July 2012

A couple of weeks ago northeastern United States was gripped by a severe heat wave. As I write this, however, it’s a fairly cool day in New Jersey, considering that it’s late July. Weather is like that; it fluctuates. And this banal observation may be what dooms us to climate catastrophe, in two ways. On one side, the variability of temperatures from day to day and year to year makes it easy to miss, ignore or obscure the longer-term upward trend. On the other, even a fairly modest rise in average temperatures translates into a much higher frequency of extreme events — like the devastating drought now gripping America’s heartland — that do vast damage.

On the first point: Even with the best will in the world, it would be hard for most people to stay focused on the big picture in the face of short-run fluctuations. When the mercury is high and the crops are withering, everyone talks about it, and some make the connection to global warming. But let the days grow a bit cooler and the rains fall, and inevitably people’s attention turns to other matters.

Making things much worse, of course, is the role of players who don’t have the best will in the world. Climate change denial is a major industry, lavishly financed by Exxon, the Koch brothers and others with a financial stake in the continued burning of fossil fuels. And exploiting variability is one of the key tricks of that industry’s trade. Applications range from the Fox News perennial — “It’s cold outside! Al Gore was wrong!” — to the constant claims that we’re experiencing global cooling, not warming, because it’s not as hot right now as it was a few years back.

How should we think about the relationship between climate change and day-to-day experience? Almost a quarter of a century ago James Hansen, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist who did more than anyone to put climate change on the agenda, suggested the analogy of loaded dice. Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a dice with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

And so it has proved. As documented in a new paper by Dr Hansen and others, cold summers by historical standards still happen, but rarely, while hot summers have in fact become roughly twice as prevalent. And nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.

But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than three per cent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about one degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.

The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the US heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.

Now, may be this drought will break in time to avoid the worst. But there will be more events like this. Joseph Romm, the influential climate blogger, has coined the term “Dust-Bowlification” for the prospect of extended periods of extreme drought in formerly productive agricultural areas. He has been arguing for some time that this phenomenon, with its disastrous effects on food security, is likely to be the leading edge of damage from climate change, taking place over the next few decades; the drowning of Florida by rising sea levels and all that will come later. And here it comes.

Will the current drought finally lead to serious climate action? History isn’t encouraging. The deniers will surely keep on denying, especially because conceding at this point that the science they’ve trashed was right all along would be to admit their own culpability for the looming disaster. And the public is all too likely to lose interest again the next time the dice comes up white or blue.

But let’s hope that this time is different. For large scale damage from climate change is no longer a disaster waiting to happen. It’s happening now.

The wheat import crime

wheat2.jpgAam aadmi rhetoric mongering UPA government is committing sin after sin against the commoners. The liberal import of wheat when the local granaries are overflowing is the recent case in point. Unfortunately there is not a single soul in the power corridors to take the responsibility to explain the reason behind the wheat import. The man responsible for the explanation – union agriculture minister is busy in cricketing and politicking.

The crimes are committed at multiple levels. One, higher prices paid to the imported wheat. Two, lower MSP to the wheat producing Indian farmers. Three, the quality of the imported wheat is inferior and beyond human consumption. Four, a large scale of the PDS wheat is stolen by the vested interests in connivance with the government authorities. Five, no seriousness and sincerity among the concerned people to adequately explain the motives behind the wheat import.

The State Trading Corporation (STC) had floated three global tenders to import nearly 15 lakh tonnes of wheat at a maximum cost of USD 389.45 and a minimum cost of USD 263 a tone. Surprisingly the low cost tender was cancelled and an exorbitant amount was paid to import 12 lakh tonnes of wheat. This higher price payment tells the naked truth. The wheat import was to benefit certain individuals and parties. Clearly the aim is not to uplift the poor people.

On the other hand the national food grain production has gone up to 209.32 million tonnes which is 4.71 million tonnes higher than the previous year’s production. Out of this the wheat production was 74.89 million tonnes which is 5.65 million tonnes higher than the previous year’s production.  There are 101 million tones of wheat available in the central pool as on 1 October 2007.

Why the government is reluctant in procuring wheat from the local farmers? What is the harm in giving better prices to them? These questions need immediate answers.

Source: The Business Line, 5 October 2007

Under the cover to help the poor, the government is destroying their lives. Either they are suffering with the poor quality of food grains supplied or not delivered the subsidized products at all. According to a report by The Times of India, Rs. 32,000 crore worth of food grains were stolen in the last three years. Except 12 states, rest of the country faces the large-scale diversion of PDS for private profit. Not a single grain of wheat reaches the targeted poor people of North eastern states. This region’s problems are compounded with terrorism, corruption and lack of physical infrastructure.

Liberalising the food sector is an essential step to prevent the pretentious actions of the state.  The mill owners should be allowed to import food grains directly. They should be given import duty concessions and all technical assistance. The government can serve the poor better by withdrawing its good intentions but bad outcome programming. The sooner it is done the better the food security of the nation. The agriculture ministry should be the starting point of  this noble Indian mission.