MANIFESTO FOR ELECTIONS TO TAMILNADU LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(2)

25/02/2016
  1. AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION

The government will procure all the vegetables that could not be sold to the public from producers at a guaranteed price of Rs.10/- per kg for tomato and Rs.15/ per kg for brinjal. Rates will be fixed for other vegetables treating these as base prices. Procurement price for paddy will be fixed at Rs.1800 per quintal. The prices of agricultural produce are very low and unremunerative and there is a need to increase the prices.

The wages of unskilled agricultural and other laborers have gone up from Rs.35 per day to Rs.150 per day in the last few years for women and from Rs.70 per day to Rs.350- Rs.400 per day for men. This is a welcome correction of wage level. The employers have got used to this high wage level. Similarly consumers will get used to higher prices of agricultural produce particularly since our government will provide jobs to all able bodied and willing people by undertaking massive works like digging lakes, canals, wells, laying roads,  power transmission lines, solar power stations, hydro-electric power stations etc.

government would set up a separate Ministry for irrigation. In addition to constructing new dams and canals, this ministry would have the following responsibilities;

i.Linking rivers in the state.

iii.Creating links among lakes and between lakes and rivers.

  1. looking after the Lake management including deepening lakes and continuously desilting them
  2. Creating new lakes to ensure that each village has a lake
    vi. Looking after Water management including draining rain water in pits and other shallow water into the nearby lakes. Water left in pits evaporates and it does not recharge ground water. When lakes have sufficient water, underground water will be recharged.

vii. Keeping the lakes and rivers clean

viii. Cleaning waste water and then using the same for irrigation without letting into the lake. This will ensure that lake water is not contaminated and this water can be used for drinking after purification.

  1. Cleaning river banks and ensuring that no garbage is dumped there
  2. Sanctioning loans for digging irrigation wells including bore wells. If lakes have water, digging wells will not lower the water table. It is wrong to ban new bore wells,
  3. Tamilnadu receives around 100 cm of rainfall per year on an average. If the rainwater is harvested to the maximum extent possible, two- three crops can be raised in most of the places. Tamilnadu will become surplus in food grains under our government.

xiii. While supplying water to people from reservoirs/rivers hundreds of kilometres away is welcome, this is not as reliable a source as local lake water.

xiii. Each district would have a senior water resources development officer with technical staff and with adequate powers to sanction construction of lakes and related work

The per capita production of food grains (rice, wheat, coarse grains and pulses) in India is less than 200kg per year while in the world it is over300 kg. This means that India’s performance in agriculture needs to be improved vastly. In India among the various states, Tamilnadu’s performance is very poor. During 2009-10, India produced 218 million tonnes for a population of around 1180 million. The per capita production is about 185 kg per year. Tamilnadu state produced about 8.0 million tonnes for a population of about 67 million people, which works out to a per capita production of only 120kg per year.

India’s production went up from 176 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 218 million tonnes in 2009-10 which works out to about 24%increase in 20 years. This increase itself is low. But increase in Tamilnadu is very much lower at 8% from 7.4 million tonnes in 1990-91 to only 8.0 million tonnes in 2009-10.

With the policies of our government, agricultural production will increase atleast by 100% in 5 years.

Water is a renewable resource. The ground water automatically gets recharged as it rains and there is no problem in exploiting ground water. There is no question of excessive exploitation as once the water dries underground there can be no exploitation. Moreover, the dangers of flood will be minimized when there are more open and borewells and lakes as the recharge of ground water and lakes will take much of rain water leaving lesser water to flow into the rivers.

Subsidies to farmers will be gradually reduced; if necessary by increasing the prices of their produce.

restrictions on exploitation of ground water will be removed.

To meet the labour shortage in agricultural sector, there will be further mechanization-in sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, thrashing etc.

Restrictions on farmers and others for removing soil from the lakes for use in fields, brick kilns etc. and the lakes will be removed as this will lead to desilting of lakes free of cost.

While the quantum of rainfall in a year has not changed much, the rainfall has not been timely. In order to ensure timely rainfall, it would be useful to resort to cloud seeding and simultaneously to undertake research on refining the existing technology to achieve lower cost, safety, avoid pollution, avoid lower rains during the period subsequent to cloud seeding. Research by as many universities as are willing would also be funded by the government. Cloud seeding is not new to Tamilnadu, as it had already undertaken several times in the past starting from 1960s in Nilgiris district, though there was a long break after 1960s. Several countries, particularly in Asia like Thailand, China etc are resorting to cloud seeding. Each district would have one organization to undertake this operation. It can be a public or private organization.

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Tamilnadu population 2011-natural growth and immigration

13/06/2011

According to provisional 2011 census data, the population of Tamilnadu state, India increased during 2001-2011 by 97 lakh(9.7million) from 6.24 crores(62.4 million) to 7.21 crores. The birth rate was 15.3 per 1000, death rate was 7.6/1000 and the natural increase was 8.6/1000. The natural increase works out to 53 lakhs, the balance of 44 lakhs being net immigaration(incoming migration-outgoing migration) from neighbouring states and mostely from high population growth states like Bihar, Jharkhand etc. But for the immigrants, the economy of Tamilnadu would have been in very bad shape. There would have been no growth at all. Does this mean that there is shortage of labour?

Actually, the economy has not expanded so much as to lead to labour shortage.(In fact even with immigrants,the economy has not grown as much as it could have been) What has happened is that a large number of people of Tamilnadu have been taken away from the labour force because of the so called welfare measure of the government of Tamilnadu, like free food items, free clothig, free shelter, free schooling etc(Free medical treatment however is necessary). Because of the freebies, a person needs to work only fo 4-5days in a month to earn for his requirements For the rest of the days, people are made to lie idle. Hence, there has been need for people from other states to migrate to Tamilnadu.

The migrants who drive the growth engine of the state need to be looked after better. They have to be provided with all the welfare measures as are the local people. The goverment should allot house sites to them on a priority basis. In other words, government should encourage these migrants to settle in Tamilnadu permanently so that the farmers will intensify agriculture, industriliast will think of expanding their busiesses,service providers will enlarge their activities. Simultaneously, the government should minimise the welfare measures, so that the local labour is also fully available for agricultural, industrial and other activities.
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Poor Performance of Tamilnadu on agricultural front

15/01/2011

The per capita production of food grains (rice, wheat, coarse grains and pulses) in India is less than 200kg per year while in the world it is over300 kg. This means that India’s performance in agriculture needs to be improved vastly. In India among the various states, Tamilnadu’s performance is very poor. During 2009-10, India produced 218 million tonnes for a population of around 1180 million. The per capita production is about 185 kg per year. Tamilnadu state produced about 8.0 million tonnes for a population of about 67 million people, which works out to a per capita production of only 120kg per year.

India’s production went up from 176 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 218 million tonnes in 2009-10 which works out to about 24%increase in 20 years. This increase itself is low. But increase in Tamilnadu is very much lower at 8% from 7.4 million tonnes in 1990-91 to only 8.0 million tonnes in 2009-10.

The reasons for the slow growth in production in Tamilnadu are:

• unremunerative prices for agricultural products resulting from high cost of agricultural labour.

• insufficient water for irrigation. During rainy season, large quantity of water flows into the sea without irrigating fields, as water is released from reservoirs even though not required, for want of storage space. So the urgent need is to construct more reservoirs which could be even underground reservoirs if necessary.

• During rainy season, large quantity of water stagnates in shallow ditches. This water evaporates in 15-20 days after the rainy season. The period of stagnation is short and the depth of ditches is low and these do not permit recharge of underground water. What is required is to drain this water into nearby lakes where lakes exist nearby or to construct lakes in suitable area.

• Fertilizer use is satisfactory. In addition, there is enough manure by way of cow dung, chicken refuse, dry and green leaves etc.


Gap between the rich and the poor

15/03/2010

It was and continues to be fashion with leftist intellectuals and political parties to speak of the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer in India, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor. They find fault with the present and past governments for this.

 The rich are becoming richer because of the hard and long hours of work they put in. Similarly, the poor are becoming poorer because of their refusal to work hard and longer.

In the past, agricultural workers used to work for 8 hours a day but now they work only for 4-5 hours in most of the places. During this period, they take breaks for drinking water, smoking, tea and for lunch. The owner of a provision store who is rich, works from about 7 am to 9 pm i.e. for 14hours a day, taking break only for lunch and that too only for short time. The same is the case with other rich people.

 To meet the increased cost of living, the workers in United States and other developed countries look for second and third jobs. In India they look to the governments and the governments readily come up with more grants and subsidies as well as free supplies, while there is acute labour shortage in every sector of the economy- agriculture, construction, small scale industry, plantation, transport, domestic etc. The people who work for 4-5 hours can easily find second and even third jobs in their localities themseves in agriculture, construction etc. which would enable them not only to meet both ends meet but also have savings for them and their children.

It is time the governments reduce the grants and subsidies and advise the people to look for second and third shift jobs. The governments may however, simultaneously assist the people to acquire new skills for working in construction, small scale,  plantation, transport and other sectors


Land deals in Africa

17/02/2010

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

06/02/2010

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.


Simple ways for faster economic development

08/11/2009

Some of the measures which can be taken with very little investment for faster economic development in India are:

  1. Increasing the working hours  of all industrial, commercial, government and other employees from around 40 hours to 48 hours a week. This will result 20% increase in production in manufacturing sector, increase in value of services etc.
  2. Increasing the retirement age from around 58/60 years to 65 years. This will enable each person to increase his contribution to  GDP by over 15%.
  3. Providing opportunities to those already retired to work either from home or from factories/offices
  4. Introduction of more machinery in agricultural and plantation sectors which, suffers acute labour shortage. Tractors were introduced a few decades ago. Large scale introduction of harvesters, planters, weeders etc should be undertaken.
  5. Encouragement for handloom sector should be given up. Power loom sector should be encouraged in view of labour shortage in spinning, weaving, knitting and ready made garments sectors.