Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beef Over Beef

Farmers at work in Myanmar

The politicians in India are debating diet of nation, some of them with quite loose tongues (Sangeet Som, Manohar Lal Khattar, Assasuddin Owaisi, Mohammad Azam to name a few). Meanwhile, the filth elected by popular mandate has forgot that alternative to beef is pulses, with regards to protein content and as a staple component of Indian diet and at Rs 200/kg those are now costlier than beef. So, while beef is a politically ill-advised diet, pulses are no longer pocket friendly.

This brings us to focus of government in last 1 year and 6 months. Mr. Modi has been on a world tour attracting investment in Indian manufacturing sector, the Make In India programme and his passion for providing Facebook to every Indian is world famous. The effort has attracted investments, albeit it seems directed wrongly. The country needs to focus on infrastructure, but politicians (including Mr.Arun Jaitley) have forgotten the infrastructure is not only railways and roadways (Mr. Gadkari might, dreamily, relay whole Indian highway network and go gung-ho about it). It also includes support and networks for an agrarian economy, alternative energy schemes, housing schemes which are affordable. Clean India campaign is very praise-worthy and some impact is visible now-a-days. Yoga politics is a personal choice with little or no implication outside RSS shakhas.

The current vision and policy seems to be short-sighted and should, probably, be revised to focus on modernizing the farms of India. And modernization is not to be confused with mechanization. The entrepreneurs in India today are well placed to help develop alternative crop collection, storage, sorting and distribution systems and also market them. Replacing red-tape ridden food programmes of governments. With large, educated workforce, a big part of which are engineers, doctors, managers, agriculturists the focus ought to be on incensing them to work in creative endeavours like rural economy and not jumping into urban rat-race or chasing an unreal American dream, loaned by corporations.

There have been reports and observations of a collapsed real-estate sector. The reason for which are misplaced focus on developing luxury housing, ignoring the sustained demands for low-cost housing. An unsold inventory of nearly a million apartments indicates stagnation in demand of such projects and a bad case of hollow urbanization of a truly rural nation, such 'development' is resulting in loss of prime agricultural lands in Doab regions of Ganga and Yamuna and pressurising resources in other parts of India.

Ideas in this post might sound socialist, but are truthfully capitalist and rightist on any economic parameter and if India's right wing fails to steer it forward in those directions, that would be the true failure of the Indian mandate and the Modi government. The beef would be then with the rightist hope and missed opportunity of a global scale.