Farms need insurance, not doles
Unseasonal rain and winds have caused widespread damage to an estimated 50 lakh hectares of rabi crop in north and central India. States seem too ready with demands for doles from the Centre and are least concerned about promoting the concept of a progressive crop insurance. The basic cornerstone of any insurance architecture is actuarial data. In respect of our agrarian sector, which is vast and fractured into small holdings, we have not directed our efforts in any meaningful way through all these decades. Our socialist leanings have never led us to think beyond a mai-baap sarkar. The business of insurance has always been regarded as exploitation for profit by the capitalists. Under this facade, the politicians have found greater political use for handing out doles and nurturing a vote bank. The inherent ‘leakages’ also provide sustenance to lower functionaries through their share of this amorphous and largely unaccounted pie of doles. If we had seeded the concept of insuring crop failures far earlier, we would have developed a superior agro data-bank and the agro-intelligence that goes with it. Apart from serving the purposes of addressing crop distress, we would have had greater thrust in areas of agro-productivity, processing, marketing, as collateral progress. Political will alone can bring in this quantum jump in the quality of pan -Indian agro-management.
Curbing black money
Apropos of the edit ‘Black magic’ (March 25), the editorial has stressed the need for preventing the generation of black money in resonance with tax evasions and tax planning by the taxpayer rather than unearthing the illegal wealth stashed abroad through punitive measures and laws, in which one could easily find loopholes. Tax-evading corporate sharks must be brought under the lens to prevent generation of black money and the GAAR, now deferred, must find quick implementation irrespective of the accompanying menace of overreaching tax officials in the application of GAAR. The nexus between politicians and business people is the root cause for the generation of black money and the government has the onus to plug the holes there. However, is it sensible to expect severe laws preventing generation of black money from a government that is appeasing corporates with tax reduction and deferring of GAAR?
Apropos of your edit ‘Caste-away’, only proper education for the coming generation of the backward classes can help end reservation. As your edit points out, household income levels significantly improve if the primary income-earner of the household is a graduate. But to get to a stage where there are enough educated and trained (for jobs) members in economically backward households, reservation in educational institutions remains a must. Otherwise, the pressing concern of providing for the household will deviate the youngsters from education and lead them to low-remuneration informal sector jobs that perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
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