The first of them is the poor and the farmers. The major neglect of the farm sector has led to increased debt burden and increased pressure. There are no alternate sources of livelihood. This has led to the inevitable. Suicides. There have been instances when governments brushed aside suicides claiming that this has become a fashion. Death is a fashion in their realm of thinking.
Even as the Congress CM’s were brainstorming on how to induct Rahul Gandhi into main stream congress politics, 10 more farmers left this world. Few more weavers had their last breath. Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan singh acting as if the Rural gods of INDIA stressed the need for immediate remedial measures. But these have been very few and far.
In course of my research stints on various issues to improve my knowledge, I came across a shocking story. The plan mooted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This will be the final deathblow to the already crippling life of farmers.
The plan being, RBI has constituted a 6 member committee in May 2006 asking them to come up with modalities to implement a grand idea. The idea is , From now on Banks will lend to the Money lenders directly at low interest rates from their burgeoning reserves thanks to increased savings by the middle class. The moneylenders will then be responsible to disburse loans to the poor and the farmers. They will legalize this. The logic being,Money lenders have the largest network and the widest reach. They will enact a law legalizing this and putting in place provisions to provide loans at nominal interest rates. This will institutionalize the Rural credit system. Also the money lenders have a proven track record of 100% loan recovery by means of coercion etc. This is where banks have failed. So they feel it will be an efficient system. This is their idea.
They are justifying the high interest rates citing the high maintenance costs that are a part of rural credit system. This is due to the fact that the loans are small in size and there are ought to be many more transactions involved. Banks cannot take it on themselves according to them. This will be the final deathblow to the farmer who is already on the brink of extinction. Money lenders will now have the legal sanctity to coerce and recover loans. We already know how these people maintain two accounts (one for the black money and one for the white)and grow their kitty of black money. This step will further encourage them and they will go scott free. This step will be regressive one. The fact being in these troubling times ,the state should have come forward and help the farmer,take the onus on itself. Rather it is getting away from its responsibility.
The second issue being compulsory primary education. There was this grand plan of Right to Education Bill. This would have revolutionized the primary education system. It would have become a fundamental right. There are 6 crore children out of school. We are busy drafting Office of profit bills. But when it comes to primary education, both the center and the state shy away from their responsibilities.
Primary education was a state subject initially. But keeping in view the importance and the need for a uniform policy, this was put in the Joint list of subjects of state and center. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan(SSA) was one such initiative where the center and the states should fund in the ratio of 75:25. Not even 20% of the funds allotted for this year have been spent by the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The draft education bill would have cost us an additional 44000 crores. The over all spending on education will be less than 2% of GDP even with the additional layout.
Government is not ready even to take this burden. The bill is on the back burner now. Only GOD knows if this bill would ever come to light. Instead the center is pushing it onto states to device their own strategies.
The children and their future will in no way influence electoral politics. This is the reason why education is such a neglected subject. Never in our elections, you would see a leader stressing on the need for better education.
The people affected by these two issues are almost 70% of our population but still the issues which are ought to be the most vital are the most neglected. Unless special emphasis is laid on these two issues and immediate remedial measures are taken, Developed Nation is a distant dream and Vision 2020 will remain a utopian word.
On my part, I will try my best to educate people and do my best to find more voices to echo my views so that they make a huge sound and shake the apathetic Government……………….