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Free Trade Doesn't Help Agriculture

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4021 Anuradha Mittal | February 22, 2007 Foreign Policy In Focus FPIF asked Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute and Gawain Kripke of Oxfam the following questions: Is it possible or desirable to construct an agricultural subsidy system in the North that protects small farmers in both the North and South? Is there a role for protective tariffs for agriculture in the global south? Some argue that agriculture should not be included in tariff reduction discussions at the WTO. Is this advisable or even possible? This is Anuradha Mittal’s essay. The most forceful justification for agricultural subsidies is that they are needed to save small farmers and preserve a way […]

Trade: A free for all ?

Trade: A Free for all? While farmers in developed countries, constituting less than three per cent of the population, enjoy huge subsidies, India actually taxes its farmers. With substantive cuts in subsidies for power and fertilizer, and a fall in the selling price of agricultural produce due to dumping by developed countries, farmers face a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. DIONNE BUNSHA He stood defiantly as the truck hurtled straight towards him. And he refused to budge. The truck did not relent either. While participating in the boycott of British cotton imports, Babu Genu was mowed down by a truck carrying foreign cotton. He died instantly. Babu Genu’s […]

At the margin of economic boom

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2007/02/2… Rasheeda Bhagat There is a growing chorus against the viability of Indian agriculture. A checklist of concerns and a wish-list for Budget 2007… The tottering Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh faced another blow last week as 35-year-old Maniram, a farmer from Mahoba district, tried to immolate himself even as the UP Chief Minister was thundering at a rally in Mahoba: “Not a single farmer has committed suicide in UP during my regime and those making such claims are Opposition-sponsored agents. Farmer suicides are taking place only in Congress-ruled states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.” Maniram sustained over 50 per cent burn injuries and was in a serious condition. […]

One suicide every 8 hours

One suicide every 8 hours Jaideep Hardikar Vidarbha remains a grim statistic. One suicide in every eight hours. More than half of those who committed suicide were between 20 and 45, their most productive years.  The Maharashtra government says as many as 1920 farmers committed suicide between January 1, 2001 and August 19, 2006. Nearly 2.8 million of the 3.2 million cotton farmers are defaulters, reports Jaideep Hardikar Suicide count There are no authentic figures on the exact number of farm suicides in Vidarbha, but the Maharashtra government accepts a figure of 1920 from January 1, 2001 to August 19, 2006. The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers’ movement, […]

Failure in Irrigation

http://www.business-standard.com/common/storypage…. Business Standard / New Delhi February 21, 2007 Farmer suicides and distress in the countryside have taken on the dimensions of a national scandal. What farmers need most of all is assured water for irrigating their crops; indeed, many suicides by farmers have been traced to the disastrous drilling of bore wells that turn out to be dry or to crop failure because the rains did not come. That is why the rapid expansion of irrigation was made one of the six components of the ambitious Bharat Nirman project. So it is a tragedy that the objective has been lost sight of when it comes to budgets and programme execution. […]

India Not Shining?

http://meeashutoshboltoy.blogspot.com/2007/02/indi… There have been a lot of dissapointing news for the nation in the past month or so:1. Farmer suicides -> Despite government interventions, farmers in Vidarbha and elsewhere continue to kill themselves. Reasons? Governments not doing enough to solve their problems. Aam admi’s party no longer cares for the poor. Solutions? Eliminate private money lending. Do away with BT Cotton and similar sinister schemes. Waive farmer loans in a manner similar to that of waiving industrial loans.2. Inflation -> Spiralling costs of essential commodities. Reasons? Might be out of the control of the government. Solutions? No short term remedy in sight. Medium and long term controls already in place. […]

India-the land of contradictions

From Alternative Perspective by Madhukar ShuklaNOTE: 1 crore = 10mn; 1 lac = 0.1mn; $1 = about Rs.45India is world’s 2nd largest exporter of rice, and world’s 5th largest exporter of wheatOver past 5 years, on average 15,000 farmers have committed suicide every year (i.e., 4-5/day) due to poverty and indebtness. An Indian farmer household has an average debt of Rs 12,585 – 82% farmer households in Andhra Pradesh, 74.5% in Tamil Nadu, 65.4% in Punjab, 61.1% in Karnataka, 54.8% in Maharashtra, etc. live in debt.India is world’s 2nd largest fruit and vegetables producer, and the largest producer of milkOne third of India’s population goes hungry to bed everyday.India is […]

Punjab and Gujarat-Rich states, rich politicians, poor track records, negative images

http://www.isvarmurti.com/2007/02/19/punjab-and-gu… The NDTV show on the Punjab farmer’s suicides came as a rude shock! The heart-breaking scenes, the tears and misery of the women who lost their husbands were too much to bear viewing for long. Yet, the feature did a great national service for highlighting what is held back from the public view the many contradictions and distortions that have come to characterise Punjab agriculture. What was often highlighted, made great public displays in the newspapers and TV channels is the Bharti Mittal’s Wal-Mart foray or Pepsi Company’s entry into the agri sector. The Green Revolution creates a false image and that false image had stuck in public memory, […]

RTI ACT-six farmer suicides per day

Nearly 7,000 farmers committed suicide in different parts of the country in just three years, according to government statistics alone. The average is even more frightening: it works out to six farmers killing themselves every day during that period. Despite this, no mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of implementation of the Prime Minister’s special package for the farmers of 31 suicide-prone districts across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, according to the reply furnished by the Union agriculture ministry to a set of questions posed by this newspaper under the Right to Information Act. The figures, complete only till November 2006, reveal that 6,899 farmers […]

Congress Privy Purse for New Maharajas

Dr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Union Council of Ministers, Government of India, North Block, New Delhi – 110 001. 2) Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Chairperson, Empowered Group of Ministers – SEZs, Government of India, North Block, New Delhi – 110 001 . Hon’ble Sirs, We are greatly concerned and disturbed with the rapidly deteriorating Rural Economic Conditions across the various States in India, especially the parts which are dependent upon the Agriculture as main source of income. The Policies of the Governments either at Union or the States are killing the Rural Economy. The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) culture has posed great threat to the survival of poorest of […]

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