Sunday, October 16, 2005

Future of a prosperous India: Agriculture

India had been a self sufficient nation for centuries where the village was a self sustaining entity with its own cultural identity. God blessed us with fertile lands and intellecutally capable people who utilized the blessings and catapulted as a Global power to recon with till the 17th century.

Then came the colonial rule of India, a dark part of our history. The rule of British on India was unfortunate in a lot of ways and if we are to introspect, lack of scientific innovation, absence of quest for knowledge, lack of solidarity amongst Indians and absence of a strong conviction to defend our homeland are some of the root causes of why we were ruled by so few of another race for more than two centuries.

The colonial era was marked with a focus to transport wealth and capability into the European nations and destroying the fine balance and self sufficiency of Indian economy. While India is a strong nation that has historically been able to survive the ravages of invasions, the systematic destruction of grass root village economy brought the Indian village economy to bankruptcy. The independent India not only inherited the bankrupt state of Indian villages, it also inherited a cultural corruption that forced us to believe in inferiority of our race, religion and scientific achievements.

50 years and more of freedom, we've had some achievements like that of the green revolution courtesy scientists like M.S. Swaminathan, however, we still have 54% of Indian citizens engaged in agriculture contributing only 29% to the GDP of India. We need more scientific innovation and growth in low cost agricultural technologies that would contribute to the self sustenance and competitive edge of Indian agriculturists. It is important to note that we're talking abour more than half of the country that is engaged in agriculture( 54% ) with a majority of farmers having small land holdings making large scale farming techniques irrelevant to most Indian farmers.

Our honorary president of India, A.P.J Kalam in his speech to the nation envisions that India can become a global power if we were to have 44% of our nation engaged in agriculture with the rest split in manufacturing and services sector respectively. The challenge is not only to wean 10% off the agriculture successfully and absorb them in manufacturing/services sector within the rural sector, but also to ensure that the remaining 44% of Indian agriculturist are able to produce more food grains and other natural products at a scale and competitive edge which can be compared to that of America.
Dr Kalam envisages that the focus should be towards PURA -Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. PURA we hope would facilitate creation of employment in the rural areas itself. The aim is to provide physical, electronic and knowledge connectivities to a cluster of villages thereby leading to their economic connectivity and prosperity.

While PURA aims at building the infrastructure in the conventional way, we as urban citizens should also try to understand more about the potential of agriculture, socio-economic conditions of the villages as a unique entity while making attempts to disseminate awareness about an education system that would work in the best interest of the citizens of rural India.

If life gives you an opportunity to help a farmer, then do not shy away, coz he is the one who brings food to our table.
This article is in honour of the farmers who lost their lives to poverty and to those who continue to struggle year on year to somehow make ends meet and yet they do not give up their culture "Agri-culture"


Blogger Venkatesh said...

Hmmm....very interesting...and thought provoking.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

Hi, I came here through a link at Desi Pundit.

Thanks for that broad overview.

Now, tell me this. This is not a rhetorical question. This is a question for which I have been trying to find an answer for a while now.

India has already reached self-sufficiency in foodgrain production. (What we need is to make it available for everyone so noone goes hungry. That's a different problem.)

If you take agriculture, all by itself, it has reached its plateau. Its further growth (in terms of production) will require serious exports. But who will we export to? Unless the Big Three -- the US, Europe and Japan -- dismantle their subsidies for agriculture, Indian export in agriculture is not going to go anywhere.

Under these circumstances, shouldn't we be looking at options other than agriculture to keep the rural people occupied?

If anything, a rising rural prosperity (admittedly, only for the rich farmers with large holdings) will ensure a steady advance of technology, which will only push more and more men and women out of work.

IMHO, the future of people in rural India lies not in agriculture, but something else. The big question is: what is THAT something else?

11:08 PM  
Blogger piqxxx said...

There are some factual errors. India has been ruled by foreign races for at least a thousand years or more - in fact the British were the last foreign race in our country. One of the first would be Alexander's generals.

Secondly the concept of motherland and nation was ill defined before the British marked out the area ruled by their Governer-general in India. In fact that changed too in 1930 when Burma and Ceylon were split off and again in 1947. Before that the subcontinent was ruled by numerous kings, only three of which were able to bring the whole country (as we know it today) under their control.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Ninja said...

what can be said about that,quite true,I'll try my best to help them....!

6:50 AM  
Blogger Ninja said...

What can be said about that!I'll try my best to help them in future.

6:52 AM  

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