Thursday, 23 April 2015

Rahul Gandhi – Congress’s Politics of Suit-Boot, Land Bill and MSP (Minimum Support Price)

Listening to Rahul Gandhi during his speeches in Ramlila Ground and in the Parliament this week, I must admit that one needs more than a thick skin and hypocrisy to call a Govt. “Suit-Boot Sarkar”, headed by a Prime Minister who has proved his worth in administration, good governance, economic development and apolitical progressive outlook in the face of unmatched adversity and sabotage during his stint as Gujarat Chief Minister for 3 terms and throughout his public life. Congress Party whose 60 years of misrule and Nehru-Gandhi leadership are responsible for the economic, social and political mess of this nation, who in its last 10 years in power run the most corrupt Govt. in India’s history and bedded every  corrupt person/organization, crony capitalist, black marketer, anti-national & anti-social criminal, this country could find, want  the people of this nation to forget its past history & track record  and believe Rahul Gandhi’s pathetic rhetoric with crocodile tears that  Modi Govt. is run by a  party for industrialists & business men and that Modi took loan from them to win the last election.  From the Jeep scam during  Nehru Govt. after independence  to the Coalgate scam in 2013, it was the “Suited-Booted” people who have always funded Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi family’s ill-gotten wealth and this country is not ready to believe Rahul Gandhi anymore.  Can Rahul Gandhi, who has failed to distinguish so far in any form of human activity in his life, answer if  all the PMs from his family since Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi  walked around in South Block in loin cloth? Even after 66 years of independence- Rahul, Gandhi family and Congress want rest of India and Indians to remain “Bhookha-Naanga”, so that only Gandhi family and its chamchas can wear Suit -Boot. Rahul never felt  “Suit-Boot” is evil, when his great grandfather  wore it, stitching in London with an imported Rose pinned on it every day, he never thought about the same when his father wore it but when an OBC Prime Minister could dare to wore it, he felt it is exploitation and disregard to India’s common men. He also never felt bad, when he was wearing suits & enjoying fancy vacations as youngster (not that he has stopped that now), while Narendra Modi  was a tea seller and later a Swayamshevak in a pair of shirt and Payjamah.  The suit is a symbol of modernity and empowerment for those who have been shackled by various social and economic hierarchies. Hence, B.R. Ambedkar always wore suit for that reason. Actually, Rahul Gandhi, his family and Congress party can’t tolerate any leader who can see eye to eye with them and  walk in the world stage keeping India’s head high. This is nothing but sheer jealousy and  naked misrepresentation of facts to pull wool over eyes of people of this nation. Else how can he dare to say such things immediately after his 56 day long “Aam Aadmi’s Sabbatical” abroad?

Even if Rahul Gandhi conveniently forgets, people of this nation have not - that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who made land acquisition beyond judicial review and told the displaced people to make way for the Hirakud Dam saying, "if you are to suffer, you should suffer in the interest of the country". He also forgot that his grandmother  Indira Gandhi amended the law to declare that farmers, whose land was taken forcibly by the Govt. didn’t deserve  "compensation" but only an "amount" because all landowners were  hoarders and exploiters. He also forgot to remember that the  biggest land grab in India's history happened during his Govt.'s rule, under the garb of the sham special economic  zones (SEZ).  Also, this nation has not forgotten how UPA Govt. helped the “National Damaad” Robert Vadra to grab land in prime locations at throw away prices by duping farmers  to eventually sell to corporates & businessmen like DLF owners to make windfall gain. Getting his facts wrong on the Gujarat Model, Rahul Gandhi made ludicrous claims saying Modi wants to turn entire India into Gujarat for Land Acquisition forgetting that the Supreme Court had praised the Gujarat Model of Land Acquisition finding it just, transparent and corruption free.  Perhaps his tutors forgot to tell him that  DIPP under the UPA rule had hailed Gujarat’s success with Land Acquisition as worthy of emulation by other states. So what is wrong if Modi is trying to replicate the same just, transparent and corruption free law every where in the country to give farmers their due, promote industrial development and jobs to large number of  young Indians. Yes, his new law will put Robert Vadras of the world out of job and bring economic development to common men by removing red tape, delay,  land hoarding  and justified price, which is making Congress and the other political parties uneasy who are in the business of  making a career out of keeping India and Indians underdeveloped economically, socially and politically.

Rahul pated his own back by saying that Congress led UPA Govt. raised MSP to help farmers, but what he hide was that it benefited the middle men, hoarders and politicians more than the poor farmers and was the main reason behind the spiralling food inflation in the country which resulted in his party reduced to 44 seats in Lok Sabha during the last General Elections.  True that it is politically impossible for any Govt.  in a predominantly rural democracy like India to consistently pay Indian farmers less than global prices. But domestic  MSP for wheat was raised substantially, year after year, from Rs 650 per quintal in 2006-07 to Rs 1,350 per quintal in 2012-13. Rice and many other food grain prices went up in a similar way and that stoked food inflation. On one side, middle men and hoarders of food products profited by creating artificial scarcity of many food products every year, on the other side farmers never completely got their due and also had to pay higher prices for buying food and other items.  And today, when world wheat and maize prices have crashed, many Indian farmers now get more than American ones. Further, the excess procurement by Govt. due to MSP has led to reduced supply in open market. The CAG report has pointed out that in 2006-2007, 63.3 million tonnes of rice landed in the open market but by 2011-2012, this had fallen by a huge 23.6% to 48.3 million tonnes. Similarly in 2006-2007, the total amount of wheat in the open market stood at 62.1 million tonnes, which by 2011-2012,had dropped to 61.4 million tonnes. Hence,  the Govt. needs to stop procuring more than what it needs to run its various programmes. And once the Govt. cuts down procurement, it will be beneficial on the fiscal deficit front as well as help moderate inflation. This becomes even more important given that the Indian Meteorological Department expects the monsoon to be below normal at 93% of the long period average. But this can’t happen if MSP is continuously raised due to political reasons.  Hence, it is prudent to go slow on MSP increases in the coming years leading to a structural solution to food supply and food inflation, which will benefit  of all people, the common men most.

By politicising the Land Acquisition bill and MSP issue,  actually Rahul Gandhi, Congress  and the opposition parties are doing a disservice to the farmers & the poor and harming the national economy.  It is creating an impression that this nation doesn’t need industry and infrastructure. They are misleading the nation that  agriculture is more important than any other business and economic activity.  The agricultural Census data clearly bear out the fact that Indian agriculture is dominated by small and marginal subsistence farmers providing mainly for self -consumption. In India while land is scarce, there are simply too many people engaged in land intensive employment activities like agriculture resulting in low productivity and thereby low wages resulting in lower standard of living. The proportion of the work force of some 478 million is approximately 52%, 14% and 34% in agriculture, industry and service sectors respectively in India. India’s rural population, most of whom work in agriculture account for 71% in the decade of 2000-2009. At present, the overwhelming majority of farmers earn very little. So, the only way of economic upliftment of this large population is to push the low productive, low earning population out of agriculture based employment activities to industrial and service sectors. This shift in employment will rebalance the economy by improving the productivity of both the industrial and agriculture sectors. This will free up land for making it available for infrastructure, industry and housing resulting in growth of job opportunities in rural areas – making land sellers benefit both from higher value for their land and new job opportunities. It’s also important to provide alternate job opportunities to the landless poor, who are dependent on seasonal agricultural employment for livelihood. Wages will rise as infrastructure projects start blooming in the rural areas. This will reduce the pressure of migration to the cities by making employment in rural areas attractive. This will also lead to improvement in yield of food grains by use of modern technology and free up land for cultivation of higher-value crops which will bring greater remuneration to farmers. The assumption that giving up land will impact food production/security is completely false. Food production depends on improving agricultural productivity, which is achieved from land consolidation, use of improved technology, mechanised farming and more contract (or even corporate) farming etc. None of it is possible if Indian agriculture is burdened with supporting so many mouths. Not just industry and infrastructure, even agricultural growth needs land consolidation by getting people to discard smaller uneconomic land holdings and move to non-agricultural jobs.

Thus, Rahul Gandhi has established once again to the nation that either he is a liar or he has no knowledge about the Land Reform Bill and the various aspects of our economy. Making speeches just 4 times in 11 years in Parliament does not reflect the Intellectual capability of the Congress Vice President but it rather shows what a poor grasp he has on the national issues. So, the best advice Congress party could give him is to keep quiet and let others think that he is an idiot rather than to speak and confirm it.