Saturday, December 9, 2023

Of Land Acquisition Bill, And Economic Illiteracy Of Educated Indians

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By Anang Pal Malik


What do I say? I can not run Economics 101 every time I write on Land Acquisition Bill. Just few factoids:
1. Grow potato on all the agricultural land in India, export them. Instead build one Boeing 747 and export it. You will earn the same money.
2. We are already surplus in food. Both the cash crops: wheat and sugarcane are in glut. Mills have not been able to sell sugar of this season at all. This year potato is in glut. And we have not covered even third of our arable land by artificial irrigation as yet.
3. Ditch digging, and the ditch you do not even need, is not an employment.
4. India will not become food valley of the world just because we refuse to acquire land. Food prices are falling all over the world, and folks would purchase from where they get the cheapest, and cheapest is where there is 100% mechanisation.
5. Has anybody consulted the children of farmers? What do they want? Not a single child in village wants to be a farmer. Not a single child. Simply because there is not enough land per family left to be a farmer of any consequences.
6. Has anybody bothered to consult the the girls in the villages? What do they want? Do they want the same drudgery as their mothers had- buffaloes, cooking, washing, buffaloes, cooking, buffaloes again before sleeping. Would anybody holding forth on Land Acquisition Bill marry his/her daughter into a village, if life is so pristine and beautiful there?
7. Left has successfully raised the two generations of economically illiterate Indians. They know nothing about economics, and they know nothing about villages, and they know nothing about villagers.
8. A peon’s family in a city has better life style than that of 90% of farmers. Peon’s children, when they come back from school, they actually get to do some homework. Unlike farmers’ children who need to take the cart to the fields, need to water the fields, need to serve feed to the buffaloes, need to water the buffaloes. Whole family of a farmer is doing one or the other related activity, only then they are able to eke out a living, if crop is not flattened by unseasonal rains.
9. V S Naipual’s word always haunt me,”Indians know so little outside their family and home.” Nothing illustrates this better than the “debate,” if shouting by economic illiterates in TV studios can be called debate, on the Land acquisition bill. As if the folks in media, academia, social media, opposition; have just landed from Mars, and have not travelled beyond loot-iyans Delhi, but know how the 70 crore human beings should live their lives. They do not even know that in the villages of Punjab, Haryana, Western UP there are no landless labourer. Locals work in the cities and towns, and in the farm either the members of land owner’s family work or the labour comes from West Bengal. (Yes, folks from East UP and Bihar long ago graduated to being watchmen in the private banks.)
10. And finally, only 1% of Americans are engaged in agriculture, still average American earns 30 times more than what an Indian earns every year, and no, Americans are not only not starving because of this shift of population from agriculture to Industry, they export food to almost all countries of the world. But to understand this, you need to learn at least basic economics, instead of picking up catch phrases and slogans from Tehelka, Outlook, The Times Of India, and Hindu, and Indian Express…and all of them. And somebody please shut down JNU, TISS, and DU if India wants to survive as a country. Because those who took to guns in Punjab were farmers’ children only, and they took to guns precisely because unlike their fathers, they did not have enough land to farm, because the socialists ruling us had made sure ( and are still making sure) that we do not industrialise. The pressure cooker that is rural India, the day it will explode, all your beautiful facebook statuses weeping over the farmers whose lands have been seized and given to “Corporates” would be blown away, and so would be you.
11. And by the way all the farmers’ agitations you see on TV, against Land acquisitions, every now and then, are agitations to maximize compensation, as everybody would naturally try. Otherwise, farmers love Land acquisitions. Yep, you read that right, farmers love land acquisitions.

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