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Tags: , | Category: Agriculture, Community development, Farmers, General, Social System model, environment

Underdeveloped Agriculture – cause of the most of cities’ problem

Blaming poor villagers for our cities problems seems a strange logic but this is very true at least in India. When I was talking to some researchers in urban planning at university of Sheffield, they found it very interesting complex system research in social science.
Let me start with some revealing news from India. Half of the population of Mumbai lives in Slum. Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai or other second/third tier cities of India has more or less same picture. Most of the surface water pollution is stemming from slums. Most of the disease/health problems lies in slums. Most of the crime case either planned or occur in slums. Infrastructure is not coping with increasing slum population. Development index or liveability of cities are decreasing due to these slums….
Now lets look who is living in these slums, they are mostly the migrant workers from poor rural part of India. If you investigate it further you will find that these people are mostly from UP, Bihar, Bengal or other less developed states of India. Further these states are mostly agriculture dependent economy and more than 80% of their population live in villages. The settlements in these area started many thousands years ago due to rich fertile land and evolution of some of the best agrarian society in the world history. They shaped the history of India and given its present identity. These northern states played major role in Indian economy till late 19th century due to dominance of agriculture. However loosing lustre of agriculture and no alternative development of economy made them one of the most poor in the world. These people struggle to find their way with their limited capacity for many decades but when rest of India started rising, they started migrating for their survival. In contrast to economic migration in many part of world, most of the migration of poor villagers from these states are desperate attempt to survive. System measurably failed to improve the agriculture or develop alternative economy in these states.
So if you look at the pattern of migration and systematic failure of system in these states and emerging problems in Indian cities, it will become clear to you that root cause is underdeveloped agriculture.

Should government can do something?
Recently central government as well as state government have announced many slum rehabilatation projects. Looking at cost of these projects, a simple estimates will be more than 1 million IR per slum dweller family to give them a decent home. If you add other infrastucture burden and environmental cost, it may go beyond 2 millions IR.
Average land holding of India is about 2 acres which translate into 0.3-0.5 million worth of properties of average farmers. This is what we are creating in Indian economy. Jobs generators in village are now poorer than a slum dwellers in city and often following the path of migration. It looks like current policies of government is giving paracetamol to get rid of chronic cold and fever symptom but actually it’s not curing cancer… Now farmers are asking:
Why one should stay in Village?
This is a big question and society and government need to answer this…

Vikas

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2 comments to Underdeveloped Agriculture – cause of the most of cities’ problem

  • I couldn’t agree more with this article, Vikas. The problem is that our governments have not come up to the taste of rural India still the way we would have wanted. Although we do see some of the tier II cities coming up & there is a focus from the governments to develop them so that we don’t swell the bigger ones & create a population explosion that may create all of the issues that you underlines above. Developing the second rung of cities shall be the first towards creating opportunities for rural people however there is still a need for the Governments to create employment within the rural areas as well – one way could be better agricultural mechanics & gurantee schemes to buy the produce so that the poor farmers don’t have to face the brunt everytime.I am sure if they get a regular source of income, issues could be killed much easier way. regards..Neeraj

  • Vikas

    Thanks Neeraj for your comment. If you look at history of cities, it has always been a settlement pattern near job source. However creating second tier cities without improving job sector is not going to work. Government should focus on decentralisation of job sector which will create housing demand and private secor will take the responsibility of infrastructure development. Currently government is doing just opposite atleast in northern states…

    Vikas

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