Join this Group for Updates and Discussions on this Blog (and a few others)!

Google Groups Join

Friday, March 04, 2016

isolated farm sector reforms won't work...

disturbed by the reflections and sharing of the post-budget analysis by friends as much as the budget supposedly 'pro-farmer and pro-poor'. i haven't studied by the budget in depth, but, going by what is being criticized i can see its flaws. but that is not the point i am trying to record here...

the point is that we are missing the point.

rural economy is not managed by a community of farmers 'employed' in agriculture, people who work 9 - 5 in the field and somehow need to be supported, encouraged and motivated to continue to be doing what they are doing.  agriculture as it is practiced in India is more of a community activity. there are farmers, farm labourers, farmer implement makers, blacksmiths, cattle experts, herbal experts, seed savers, transplanting women specialists, harvesting groups, dehusking groups, ploughing bull herders, traders....agriculture is a complex vocation that involves several other skills and knowledge apart from sowing-harvesting and all that is in between.

the important fact to recognize is that agriculture does not prosper in isolation in the rural economy, many other vocations on which agriculture is based on, need to be present and prospering for agriculture to prosper.

one of the reasons why such a large number of knowledge and knowledge practitioners thrive in rural economic condition is that they are sustained by the agriculture community and in turn they support the agriculture activity. these service providers bring in a variety of skills and knowledge that is important for the continuation of agriculture and takes care of the needs of the farming activity. these people are technicians of several trades.  technical knowledge and not specific 'technology' is the requirement of agriculture. most people cannot differentiate between the two. most indigenous farmers know the science of mechanical things. they can bind, combine, build, repair, break, weave, sieve, winnow...and several other skills with materials that are available locally with their bare hands. these are techniques that require several domains of technical knowledge, these techniques being practiced with their hands and not through any devices means they are low - cost and not creating dependency with other people.

often in organic farming programmes we talk about the need for the input cost to be reduced as much as the output cost to be enhanced for the agricultural activity to be viable. this extends further both ways, the more accessible natural resources are to farmers, they more they can benefit, the less they need to spend on other needs for their life, the more they benefit as well. when farmers have money, they can support other service providers, create common assets, build local community and culture. currently, major amount of rural economy is supporting the privatized and usurial education system of this country. the education system as an investment has several high risks and the private entrepreneurs who manage these 'businesses' load all risks of the system on the poor farmers who send their children to these institutions. majority of the land sales of agricultural lands as well as debt of farmers is to provide english education to their children. unless there are high quality education institutions catering to the local people in rural parts of this country, we are not going to be in a position to reduce the main outflow of money from rural economy.

english language education has been seen as a 'solution' to the rural economic 'problems' in an era when economic well being ensured power and english education gave people ready access to economic betterment. it is no longer so. the problems have always been social and not economical in india. and social problems can be only partly resolved if it is to be resolved through economic means, it needs the person to be isolated from the social space for the issue to be resolved. hence, people move from rural to urban centres to resolve earn more and revisit the village to scale higher in the social ladder. however they are no longer part of the society in the first place and any new found scaling of height is meaningless unless they return to the village. this doesn't happen and the social order is torn asunder and never mended again. social problems, if they need to completely resolved, need to be resolved through social means and not economic ones. these social means include process of dialogue and democracy. the platforms and forums for these are available at the village level, however, they are not adequately activated or made relevant as the people who populate these platforms do not have either the vision or the welfare of the community as the primary motive.

the dis-empowerment of the local governing platform and enhanced importance of english language education as a solution are promoted through ideological, philosophical and political formulations that are reductionist in their understanding of the rural economy and its sustainability. the need for a knowledge and orientation of governance, that provides a vision as well as places the community and its economic well being as the main focus, is one of the biggest necessity of rural society today. such a knowledge of governance needs to be placed and function out of the rural community itself.

 <<need to add more here>>

any government policy, social / political initiative, economic empowerment project / activity that may be initiated in the rural space needs to provide for all the above - a strong and substantial village community, a strengthening of the platforms of governance, facilitation and prosperity of diverse economic activity and good quality local educational institutions.

No comments:

Read by Label