Guyana-India Economic Co-operation


Gold is the main item of export for Guyana contributing over 40% to total exports. India is a very large importer of gold. India should explore possibilities of import of gold directly from Guyana , if necessary by undertaking of refining etc.

The second major item of export of Guyana is Rice. Guyana has large uncultivated but cultivable land. Indian companies can lease land for cultivation of Paddy, set up rice mills and increase exports of rice from Guyana. Guyana’s trade deficit can be wiped out.Indian companies can earn good profits as Guyana has fertile land and abundant rainfall.

Sugar is the fourth largest item of Guyana’s exports. Here also Indian companies can set up sugar mills and also lease land for cultivating sugarcane for feeding the mills. With increased sugar production, there will be increase in the production of molasses which can feed Rum factories. Guyana’s Rum is famous and Indian companies can produce and export Rum from Guyana.

Guyana also produces and exports rough diamonds and India is a large importer of this item. India can directly import diamond from Guyana .India can also explore possibilities of diamond exploration.

Some of the items which Guyana can import from India are: motor vehicles , including cars, sugar machinery, agricultural machinery like tractors, harvesters etc.Guyana consumes wheat but does not produce the same. Guyana can import wheat/wheat flour from India. The quantity will not be huge as the total population of Guyana is less than one million.

There are also possibilities for cooperation between the two countries in laying railway lines in Guyana and construction of bridges across rivers

Agriculture- Bangladesh performs better than India


According to FAO, India has arable land of 157 million hectares(ha). It has a population of about 1250 million people. The density of population per ha of arable land is about 8 persons.

Bangladesh has arable land of 7.7.million ha and a population of about 155 million. The density of population per ha of arable land is about 20 persons i.e. about 2.5times that of India.

Bangladesh annually produces about 51 million MT of food grains, mostly paddy(not rice).i.e. about 330kg per head per year while India annually produces about 280 million MT(paddy taken into account- not rice)i.e. only about 225kg per head per year. It is strange that even with low per capita production India occasionally exports food grains while Bangladesh imports food grains.

Bangladesh receives rainfall of about 265 cm annually while India receives only about 110 cm of rainfall. But low production of grains in India is not due to shortage of water,It is due to under utilization of water as can be seen from the very large quantity of river water joining the sea in various parts of India.There shold be more lakes and dams in India and river and rain water should be drained in these lakes and dams .

Bangladesh takes two/three crops in a years on larger proportion of land than India. Average paddy yield in Bangladesh is also high at around 4.3 MT/ha while in India it is about 3.5 MT/ha. Thus while on an ha of arable land Bangladesh produces about 6.5 MT of food grains, India produces only about 1.8 MT(India produces coarse grains on rain fed areas where the yield is very low and this brings down annual production on an ha of land.

India needs to spend more time and energy on finding ways for better utilization of rain/river water -by linking rivers with rivers, rivers with lakes, recharging ground water etc.

Should the farmers also not have higher income?


In the last three years, wages of unskilled workers have gone up by almost three times. In rural areas, women workers in the agricultural sector  are paid Rs.100 per day against Rs.30 in 2006. Men workers get around Rs.150- Rs.200 a day against Rs.60 per day 3 years ago. Workers in the construction sites get about Rs.300 per day in towns. In the last 3 years, Central and state Government employees and as well as employees of public sector undertakings received substantial hikes (more than 100%) in their salaries by way of new pay scales, higher dearness allowances, higher house rent allowances etc. In many of the towns and villages, self employed people have hiked charges for their services by 100% or more. For example hair cutting charges have gone up from Rs.10 to Rs.20. Tailoring charges for a shirt has gone up from Rs.25 to more than Rs.60. Private doctors’ consultation charges have increased from Rs.20 to Rs.40. The shopkeepers have increased their profit margins.

Thus the people across several sectors of the economy have 100- 200% more money than they had 3 -4 years ago. Then why cannot they pay 50% more for their rice, wheat, pulses, sugar and vegetables?  30 years ago garlic sold at Rs.30 per kilo. In 2008 also garlic sold at Rs.30. Only recently it has gone up to Rs.60. In the last 3 years the increase in the prices of rice, wheat, sugar, vegetables etc. put together is less than 100%. When every other sector has got higher income, should not the farmers also get higher income by way of higher prices for their produce?

If one includes the supply of wheat, rice, pulses, sugar etc. in the public distribution system, the expenditure on food items of a family of low income (Rs.4,000- 2 workers in family earning Rs.200 per day for 20 days a month) is not even Rs.1,000 i.e. 25% of the income. Even in a very poor family, the expenditure on pilgrimages, sight-seeing, visiting friends and relatives, customary but avoidable ceremonies, beedies/cigarettes, alcohol, cell phone charges, transport charges – even the poor people ride motorbikes instead of cycles, cable connection for televisions, and such other items is much more than expenditure on food items.

Should the government worry about this “small increase” in the prices of agricultural produce when people have got “big increase” in their income? When the prices of vegetables like tomato crash to such a low level that the farmers do not harvest, the government does not worry about the losses to the farmers. When garlic price goes up by 50%, the government wants to bring down the price by allowing imports. When onion price goes up, exports are banned or curtailed and imports are allowed. Of course, government has also come to the support of farmers by waiving loans but this has left out many farmers. Instead of waiving loans or giving subsidies and grants, the government can allow the markets to decide the prices of all agricultural produce. If prices go up beyond the reach of the common people, government may buy from farmers at market rates and sell in public distribution system at subsidized rates.

Allowing prices of agricultural produce to go up, is the way to increase production. For a population of 1,300 million people, China produces 400-500 million MT of food grains i.e. an average of about 350 kg per head, per year while India produces only about 225 million MT for 115 million people i.e. only abut 200 kg per head per year! Excluding India, the world for a population of about 5,600 million, produces 1800-2000 million MT i.e. more than 320 kg per head!

Minimising corruption- discontinuance of subsidies and grants


It appears that if the government stops giving subsidies and grants to the people, corruption can be reduced. To ensure that the people do not suffer in the absence of the existing grants and subsidies, full time jobs could be created for them. In countries like India, it is very easy to create jobs. In countries like Japan, no more roads and railway lines need to be constructed but in India, the present length of these facilities need to be increased by five fold.

In Tamilnadu, people get rice in the ration shops (government distribution shops) at Rs.1 per kilo. In the shops, the minimum price of the rice sold (the quality of course is a little better) is Rs. 20. Every month, a family gets 20 kilograms of rice for Rs. 20 from ration shops. They save Rs.380. If issuing ration cards is delayed by even two months, the family would lose Rs.760. The officials in charge of issuing ration cards may think that when the family saves Rs.380 per month on rice alone (sugar, pulses, kerosene etc are also supplied at ration shops at lower rates), why should the family not pay him Rs.250 for his signature. This is how corruption starts. The family may feel that even after paying Rs.250, they would save substantial amount in getting ration card without much delay and so, may not mind bribing.

The Government provides scholarships to children and the amount is substantial. The Government also provides Television sets, cooking gas and stoves, agricultural land, certain seedlings, electricity for agriculture, house sites, clothes for festivals, marriage grants for girls, meals for pregnant women, expenses for childcare at the time birth, school books, uniforms, mid-day meals and much more all  free of cost. The Government also provides grants and subsidies for certain industries. Depending on the benefit that the grant/subsidy receiver gets, the official concerned may demand and the individual may not mind paying a bribe. Mainly, a few, who do not get any benefit for the service for which bribe is demanded complain.

Few people say that they got government jobs by paying bribes. None of them has any complaint. All of them seem to think that they can earn this money through corruption in a few months.

The other reason for the breeding of corruption is that there is no transparency in handling the issues. None of the employees including the senior most officers of a department or even the senior most officers of the government replies to the correspondence he receive, either by mail or by email. If people think that they can petition to the senior officers and get their due, they would not bribe lower rank officials. If every office is made to render their services to the extent possible, corruption would come down. For example, a person could apply for a ration card by post to the Village Administrative Officer who should be required to forward the same to the revenue officials after verification. The revenue officials should be asked to prepare the ration card and send the same directly to the concerned family, with a copy of the covering letter to the village official for his record.

In India, common people are the ones who breed corruption. They demand money for their votes. They demand several things, free of cost. There was an instance of people in a few places going to the private jewellery shop and demanding them to sell gold at Rs.500 per 8 grams against the prevailing price of Rs.10,000, saying that they heard that government had issued orders for the same.

After independence people have become lazy with the introduction of modern farming methods and modern gadgets in households. The time saved by the use of machineries is not used to do other work. They just rest and this has made them lazy. The governments have taken upon themselves the duties which the parents and other family members are to perform. In return, the government does not get any thing free from the people.

Corruption could be reduced considerably, if the government discontinues the subsidies and grants.