Population of Tamilnadu-child population


Population of Tamilnadu in 2011 of 72.1 million accounts for about 5.9% of India’s population of 1210 million. Tamilnadu is the 7th largest state in the country behind UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh,Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. However, the population of children of Tamilnadu of 0-6 years, is only 6.89 million which works out to only 4.3% of the total child population of 158.7 million. It ranks 9th largest behind Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In the normal course, Tamilnadu’s population in India’s population would also in future come to around 4.4%. But this level of population will not be able to maintain the fairly large industry, agriculture and service sector in the state. There will naturally be migration from densly populated states like Bihar, UP, West Bengal and low income states like Orissa. To sustain the industry, agriculture and service sector development, the state should devise ways and means to permanently absorb the population from other states by creating necessary conditions like extending education in mother tongue to the migrant children, providing all facilities and concessions to them as are being given to local population like free rations, clothing, house sites, houses etc.

Budget – Funds for scientific research and development


In the coming budget, the Finance Minister should provide  funds for scientific research and development for the following among others:

1. for all the proposals received from departments of Space, Atomic Enery, Ocean Development, Science and Technology, Meteorological Department, Geological Survey and related departments

2 for private individuals and institutions for carrying on scientific research

3. for matching grants for research by industry

4. for establishing new research organisations

5  for grants to universities/colleges for undertaking research

6.. for supplying laboratory equipment fo universities/ colleges   through University Grants Commission

7. for artificial rain making

8. for research and development of robots

9 for establishment of a separate council for promotion of scientific cooperation with foreign countries and for undertaking joint research projects with foreign countries and international organizations

10. for carrying intensive research through more than one organisation,on alternate fuels,

Considering the fact that at present expenditure on research in India is very low and the fact that many small countries cannot afford to undertake research on account of paucity of funds and inadequacy of research personnel,  the budget allocation for research in 2015-16 should be atleast double that of the allocation in the current year.

Constitution and laws of a country


A country’s constitution and the laws should be based on the culture, traditions, beliefs etc. In a country where animal sacrifice is a custom during festivals, the laws of the country should not ban animal sacrifice. In the society in which jallikattu (subduing bulls) is a tradition, no laws and regulations should ban this. Values of other countries or what is considered good or bad by intellectuals, social activists etc. should not be imposed on the common people. Breaking cocunuts on the heads of the people, walking on the fire etc. during festivals are traditions of the people of Tamilnadu.  Some people may consider these as dangerous but the solution is to station ambulances with first aid facilities at the sites and  not banning the same. Some tribal societies have special customs and traditions which to other people may be bad.. But there should be no interference with this.

Alternate building materials-need to develop


The economy of India suffered in the recent past due to lower growth rate in construction sector. The construction sector suffered because of shortage of sand and the controls imposed by state governments on samd quarrying. There is public opinion against exploitation of sand. The state governments should do more on encouraging and funding research on making sea sand suitable for construction by modifying the same, Similarly a time may come when there will be shortage of raw materials for cement. The same may be the case for iron as well. The governments should fund extensive research on developing alternate materials for sand, cement and iron. Though wood is a renewable source, there could be constraints on its supply. Bricks may not pose a big problem.Shortage of manpower may arise with the expandion of manufacturing and service industries.Mechanisation needs to be introduced on a larger scale.

Food Security-expansion of irrigation


Total world production of cereals increased from 2353 million MT in 2007 to 2566 million MT in 2012 i.e by 9.1% in 5 years while the population during this period went up by around 6% only. Thus the per capita availability has gone up. What is more important is that in the food deficit Africa the growth rates of food prouction are higher than the world average growth rates.In Africa the increase in cereal production is 25.2% and in roots and tubers 26.4%. Similarly there is considerable increase of around 15% in production of vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and milk. To sustain this increase, expansion of irrigation is important. Construction of dams, lakes, digging of canals, diversion of rivers should be given priority. Simultaneously micro irrigation like drip and sprinkler irrigation should also be undertaken.

The current per capita production of cereals at 350 kg per year is more than sufficient. The surplus will become more pronounced if feeding animals with cereals is reduced and fodder production is increased.

Enough food grains are produced. Giving buying power to the people will ensure food security.

Wiping out world food deficit


World food situation is not as alarming as is reported by FAO, media etc.

1.If D.R.Congo and Angola which together have as much land as India (over3 million sq.km) and which receive as much rainfall as India could bring under cultivation as large land as India, get yield of 2.5MT/ha as in India ( which is very low compared to world average or countries like China,US,) and produce about230 million MT, Africa will become self sufficient in food grains.The world will become surplus in grains for many years to come.

2.If India increases yield from 2.5MT/ha on its cereal acreage of 92 million ha to about 4 MT/ha (against china’s yield of 5.5MT/ha and US’ yield of 6.9 MT/ha) the additional food production of about 138 million MT will wipe out deficit in Africa. The world would be faced with huge surplus leading to fall in prices.

3.If US and other developed countries bring down the consumption of meat by 50%, consumption still being many times that of India, the grains saved from feeding animals will more than offset the African grain deficit and the world will have surplus for many years.

4.If Russia can increase average yield on its 32 million ha from 1.8 MT/ha to3.8 MT/ha half of the deficit in Africa will be wiped out.

5.If African countries selling/leasing out land to foreigners insist on the investors cultivating food grains crops, Africa will become surplus in food grains.

6.If peace is brought in countries which have internal strife, food grains production in those countries will increase to the extent of removing food shortage in Africa.

From the above it is clear that it is not difficult to remove hunger from the world

World Population and food grain production


The world population is growing at the rate of about 1.3% – a few decades ago, the growth rate was over 2%- and will soon reach 7 billion. The world food grain production is around 2200 million tonnes which works out to a per capita production of about 300 kg per year. If cattle are not fed with grains the current level of production can sustain 10 billion people. India for its population of about 1175 million produces about 220 million tonnes and is said to be self-sufficient or even marginally surplus. This means that per capita food grain requirement is only about 200 kg per year.

In  recent years, the annual increase in food grain production is not satisfactory. However, with several countries in Africa and Latin America like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay selling or giving on lease large areas of farm land to foreign governments, foreign corporates and individuals, the production is likely to increase substantially in these continents. This is a welcome development, as Africa’s population growth rate is very high with several countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Madagascar, Nigeria and Tanzania registering population growth of 2% to 3.5%. Moreover, the continent is already highly deficit in grains.  Fortunately, in both Africa and Latin America, land utilization for agriculture is very low- less than 10% of the potentially arable land.. With the near stagnant or negative population growth in Europe, North America(here most of the growth is by immigration) and a few Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, the share of Africa and Latin America in world population  will keep increasing

The governments in Africa and Latin America should also allow foreign and local private sector to provide on “Build, Operate and Transfer” basis agricultural infrastructure like irrigation projects- dams and canals, rural roads, grain storage space etc. 

There is strong criticism in certain quarters against what they call “land grab” and “agri-colonialism” in Africa and Latin America. They also express fear that several small scale farmers will become jobless. These are unfounded. Bringing in large areas of land under cultivation and building infrastructure will generate large scale employment even if these sectors are completely mechanized. Since land utilization in these continents is very low, compared to other continents, there is not going to be any ecological problems. It is also to be remembered that some European countries including Russia have sold/leased out land to foreigners with a view to increase local food grain production. 

The growing world population should not cause worries if the land deals in Africa and Latin America become successful.

Land deals in Africa


It is good to know that a number of foreign corporates and individuals are showing interest in farming in Africa. Africa has been dependent on other countries for food for several decades. Land in Africa is not exploited much. If, for 2 to 3 decades, land is leased to foreign corporates/individuals, Africa can become self-sufficient or even surplus in food grains. But in some quarters, serious concern is shown on African land being used by foreigners to “sever” Africans from their cultural and socio-economic attachments to past, present and future. In this connection,  it may be mentioned that this takes place not only by land alienation but also  by:

  1. Globalization of  the economy and
  2. Religious conversions.

Both of these are widely prevalent on the continent.

By including suitable safeguards in the land deals, such as those below, Africa can gain from increased land productivity.

  1. Defining a maximum number of years  for  which the land could be leased with options for lease extentions
  2. Requiring land to be returned to its original owner after the lease with all agricultural implements/equipment  free of cost
  3. Limiting the number of foreign workers on the land
  4. Requiring foreigners to first satisfy domestic needs of their produce and then exporting the surplus
  5. Limiting the number of land deals per year
  6. Specifying the crops to be cultivated, land development to be undertaken and the irrigation facilities to be created
  7. Other conditions similar to “Build, Operate and Transfer” mode in infrastructure projects

With prudent policies, land deals would be a great boon to Africa.

Globalization of Agriculture in Africa


Africa is the country where the arable land utilized for cultivation is very low- less than 10%. This is much less than the land utilized in Asia and Europe. Similarly, the irrigation potential of all the rivers including Congo, Nile and Zambezi rivers are much less exploited compared to the rivers in other continents. Consequently, a large number of African countries are in severe food crisis not only now, but for a long time. Now out of a total of 31 countries n the world in severe shortage of food, 20 countries (Ethiopia, D.R.Congo, Uganda etc) are in Africa having a population of nearly 400 million. Theoretically it is definitely possible and also desirable for African countries to attain self-sufficiency/surplus in food grain production without involving foreigners. But after over 40-50 years of independence, most of the countries in Africa continue be deficit in food. The international community and the international organizations have been feeding a large number of people in these countries for a long period. During times of lower world production, international community would find it difficult to find food grains and buy at high rates. Therefore, urgent action has to be taken to increase food grain production in these countries. Like globalization of economy, the agriculture also may need globalization to realize food self-sufficiency. The following could perhaps be tried in most of the countries.

i. To Built, Own, Operate and Transfer(BOOT) Irrigation projects: The governments could allow the river and ground water available in the country to be tapped by the private sector, including the foreign companies. The private sector would set up projects at their cost and recover the same over a period by charging fee from farmers for the use of water. After the agreed period, the projects could be transferred to the local governments.

ii. The private sector may also be allowed to generate hydro-electric power and sell to the government or the consumers directly, after paying honorarium to the government.

iii. Unutilized arable land could leased for certain period- may be 20 or 30 years and if found necessary extended- to corporates, including foreign corporates with the condition that food grains should be produced and the same should be sold in the domestic market first and only surplus grain should be exported. The developed land when returned to the government after the lease period could be sold or freely distributed to the local farmers.