India is been almost a brand lately, esp. in last 5 years India is shining with all international brands, too many jobs, too much talent and every one in the world trying to lure the youngest population (read market with purchasing power). It’s India Inc. which is 3rd largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. Sounds impressive! Isn’t it.
When I was in school it was taught that India is agricultural based country and there was a time when India was independent for grains (“Harit Kranti”).
Then came the era when India became back office destination for global out sourcing and customer service. India is a major exporter of highly-skilled workers in software and financial services, and software engineering. Other sectors like manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, nanotechnology, telecommunication, shipbuilding, aviation and tourism are showing strong potentials with higher growth rates. Every thing started looking great! Too many jobs, Indians not only becoming one of the best work force but many entrepreneurs and new age businessmen emerged from India Inc.!! We all proudly said “I’m an Indian”
Everything was going right every rich, becoming rich, educated Indian thought things are great in India there was reverse trend people dumped their jobs in US of A and came to mother land to join better jobs or start a business. VC money started flowing in. Apparently every Indian was happy spending weekends in Mall incurring huge purchase bills, entertainment, amusement and what not. Gucci became god and Tommy became necessity of Time. Wow! Looks great….
But same time there was something happening to that 60-65% population who do farming for their living. 1997 reported 1st case of a farmer’s Suicide in Vidarbha – Maharashtra. More than 50,000 farmers took their lives for various reasons.
The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds which needed fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved.
As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seeds with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness. As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide. In the state of Bihar, when farm saved corn seed was displaced by Monsanto’s hybrid corn, the entire crop failed creating Rs. 4 billion losses and increased poverty for already desperately poor farmers. Rs. 1 Lakh was given by Govt. to some of the families (yeah! That’s the cost of any life in India). I’m sure this money didn’t reach the deserving families either- It’s a different issue we may have to discuss that separately.
I will not give more reasons, facts and figures here because avg. Indian (read urban India which matters advertisers) has less attention span. Media is not doing anything about it as avg. Indian (read above definition) has no time to be concerned about it on weekends and watch it on News and such stories on channels and news papers wouldn’t get any advertisers. C’mon who likes poverty in India Inc. – they are busy in creating story of how one heroine dumped her boy friend for an old jerk.
Here I’m not supporting any “ism” or “ist” side of mine nor do I have any hopes of influencing even a single avg. India. But since it’s my blog and that freedom allows me to at least wonder why there is so much disparity amongst people? Why not at least 40% farmer driving a car of selling their crops in open market on their own terms.
I know avg. India would not even read this post fully as it seems long and he can’t relate to it. But I can’t help it and I’m ashamed that farmer is dying in an agricultural based country.