Dwiddly

My notes and musings …

Posts Tagged ‘policy

On planning. executing. responding.

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The idea of removing large value currency due to large scale counterfeiting is a good thing. I also agree that it is important to make it a surprise move. The logistics of the currency exchange in a country with a population and geography as India is a big challenge that almost no one has dared to undertake in the recent past. So irrespective of the merits of the exercise, kudos to the powers that are for taking on a challenge that most would have shied away from.

The first impact of any news among people living on the edge is almost always the same – panic. This is true not just in rural India, it is true even for the most urban communities of the most developed countries (think reactions to news of terrorist attacks, storms, hurricanes, etc.). And when the currency exchange bomb was dropped, the response was no different. People were scampering from pillar to post to convert the few 500 and 1000 rupee notes they have to the new/fresh currency. And they still are, even after a week.

Most day to day needs would cost around 100 to 200 rupees (thankfully!!). So what does one do with the new 2000 rupee notes when nobody is ready to part with the few smaller denomination currencies they have? So now they are scampering around for new currencies of the large denominations AND for smaller denomination older currencies.

A few simple questions about the implementation of the currency exchange policy. Not whether the currency exchange is warranted; Not Whether it will achieve its objectives. Just on Planning. Execution. Responding. :

  1. When you are rolling back 500 and 1000 rupee notes, would you not want to make sure that the smaller value new currency reaches the people first rather than the larger value one?
  2. When you are planning a roll back of the 500 and 1000 rupee notes, could a whole load of 100 rupee notes not have been printed and dispatched to currency exchange centers to service the obviously expected rush for legal currency to transact business with?
  3. What is the number of people estimated to land at a currency exchange center in an hour? Had sufficient currency reached these centers even a few days after the announcement? Were there sufficient people working at these centers to service the rush? Could some other personnel not have been pulled in to do assist in this work?
  4. How are you any different when the people who were already being crushed under the wheels of ‘development’ get crushed further ? (access and ability to use cash is what defines the poor !!)
  5. Could you not have chosen a better time than the planting period for the rabi crop? Ok, you missed it. But when you created exceptions for transport agencies (and later on added) utility companies and other amenities but EVEN in that list you do not include agri input vendors, who are your advisors? what news are you reading? Who does your heart blead for??

Taking on a challenge: brave

Not preparing adequately : unwise, foolhardy.

Not taking the plight of small traders, farmers, labourers :  callous.

Responding to cries of the middle class : playing to the gallery.

Written by Dwiji

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 07:35

Irrigation: the classic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

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Historically, farming was a rain fed practice. Even today, after spending lakhs of crores (or trillions, if you prefer that system of counting large numbers) of rupees and $s on irrigation systems and destroying almost all river ecosystems across the world, ~20% of cultivated land is irrigated. And ~60% of food production comes from rain fed farms. For more interesting facts and figures on irrigation, please see this comprehensive FAO ready reckoner and explore the website.

If we look at the budgetary outlays in India (and in other countries too) investments in agriculture are invariably dominated by investments in irrigation. Isn’t it high time people call the bluff and realized that if we really want to have a food system that survives the changing climate and tumultuous financial systems, we need to develop our rain fed farms.

Increasing spending on irrigation will of course mean more contracts and constructions. And construction, after all is the best way for people in power to make more money.

“There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow !! Oh ho, why do you worry about all the money we are making you spend to get to this pot of gold, or about the wrecked ecosystems we are leaving behind! you are such an ‘anti-national’ !!”

Written by Dwiji

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 at 04:51

Make mutli/mixed-cropping mandatory to avail of any farm incentives or subsidies

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As I mentioned in a post earlier today, repeated extreme weather events (are they increasing in frequency?) such as hail storms, heat and cold waves, unseasonal rains, cyclones, are laying bare the faulty premise of today’s agricultural system, not just in India but across the world. Those farmers who are holding out against the pressures of the market & the agri establishment and are going in for multi-cropping are able to take home something. While most farmers who depend on prescriptions, typically of mono cropping the latest hot thing in the market, are having to migrate to manual labour markets in urban areas.

On most sustainable farming forums, many an agri. scientist and  dept. official have waxed eloquently about the merits of multi-cropping and the need to move towards that. And there have been a few schemes and programs that promote mixed cropping. But these are too few and are no where sufficient in meeting the need of the hour.

I feel its time to take it up a notch – make mutli/mixed-cropping mandatory to avail of any government incentives or subsidies in farming. Stop using public money to push farmers further into the mono cropping trap and deeper into debt. There have been enough farmers ending their lives, almost all of them were practicing mono-cropping, and those surviving getting buried deeper and deeper in debt. Instead of spending ever more amounts of public money on a failed model, let us change course and consciously put our resources behind a form of farming that is economically viable and socio-ecologically sustainable. We should stop the use of tax payer money to fund the destruction of farmers’ soil, their families and their children’s future. All this for supporting a supply chain that even after all this provides empty calories and chemical rich things labeled as ‘food’.

Written by Dwiji

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 at 17:12

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