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Tags: , , , , , , | Category: Diario de Anita, General, Travel, Viaje

(Español) Mi diario de India (Dia 1)

Día 1. Nueva Delhi

Llegada a aeropuerto de Nueva Delhi

Llegada a aeropuerto de Nueva Delhi

Nada más que aterrar en ese desconocido país, dos de los Trabajadores del aeropuerto al que llegué, me recibieron con sonrisas y amabilidades, Característica que más adelante asocié A LOS miembros de esta sociedad. Elogiaban mi nombre, que sin saberlo yo, es de origen hundú.

Uno de ellos, uniformado, acostumbrado a ver todo tipo de gente (trabajador de aeropuerto), se soprendió al ver un pendiente en mi lengua, INCLUSO Llego a preguntarme de que se Trataba Y si en mi país se consideraba algo bonito. En ese momento me impacto, Durante el viaje me daria cuenta que el impacto sobre el uso de los “piercings”  seria muy superior para todos ellos

Pasamos a esperar las maletas, e inocentemente fuimos un pecado comprar agua Ni siquiera pensar en el precio, ¡equivalente a 20 céntimos de euro! Quizás ese fuera uno de los primeros momentos de asimilación y Concienciación del lugar donde nos encontrabamos y de la categoría de la experiencia que estábamos a punto de empezar.

Enseguida nos Recibió Vikas, el que a partir de ese momento Iba a coger el papel de guia y educador acompañante del grupo. Nada más verlo, nos quedó demostrada la hospitalidad de la que ibamos un poder gaudir En todo ese viaje. Iba acompañado por dos hombres, los Cuales nos invitaron a tomar café en una sala  escoltada con personajes y sus metralletas. Segunda caracteristica que nos Iba a acompañar Durante toda nuestra estancia, por aquel maravilloso país.

Aún nos Quedaba por Conocer a nuestro chofer, un hindú que en aquel momento Yo Creía “típico” Por su turbante en la cabeza, luego aprendí que formaba parte de un grupo social, “los sijh”. Este nos ofrecia su “4×4″ de nueve plazas. Dejo en libre la imaginación de tal.

La Estación de Tren (Pahar Ganj) - Nueva Delhi

La Estación de Tren (Pahar Ganj) - Nueva Delhi

¡Genial la carretera sin ley! Sin duda en la India saben conducir. Pocas veces he visto un control asi ante tanto desorden.

Por fin Empezamos a introducirnos en contexto. Llegamos al centro de la capital, Delhi, y pasamos a ser el centro de atención, nunca podriamos llegarnos a imaginar lo que nos esperaba, de momento ¡seguíamos en una zona turísticamente adaptada! Nos observaban, unos curiosos, INTERESADOS Los Otros. Bazares y las Regatos empezaron dominar las Calles, y Empezamos a percibir la escencia de la India … o a lo que yo llamaria ahora ,el tópico de aquel País.

Bochorno Increible, jamás sentido. Insoportable picor en la comida, jamás imaginado.

Y andar y andar, y observar. Pobreza, sonrisas, curiosos … y terminar en un tren, rumbo a una lejana y diferente India y, muerta de sueño estirada en la segunda litera de tres a esperar más de doce horas llegar hasta Patna. Allí nos esperaba El primer hotel, y el comienzo del segundo día …..

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Mid-Day Meal Scheme and teachers performance

News published on Bihar Times (Online news of Bihar) on 7th of Oct 2009

Bihar to dissociate teachers from Mid-Day Meal Scheme

Patna, (BiharTimes): The state government is planning to completely dissociate teachers from the Mid-Day Meal Scheme as it is taking a huge toll on the education of the children. It is also working on alternative mechanism to monitor and run the Scheme. Help of some NGOs are being sought in this direction. The state government has sent teams to Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Tamil Nadu to study the implementation of Scheme in those states.

The move is in response to the growing demand for dissociating teachers from the job as it harms teaching in schools. The report of the Comptroller And Auditor General (CAG) had also pointed out at loss of precious teaching time due to involvement of teachers in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.

Besides, the Scheme has encouraged widespread corruption and in many schools there are reports of poor quality of meal being served to the children. One of the headmasters posted in Buxar district told bihartimes.com that the Scheme has become a headache for honest man like him as he is unable to keep everyone from panchayat to education department in good humour. Besides, he said no class is possible after the fourth period as teachers get involved in serving meal.

My comments…

Associating teachers in any other activities other than teaching will be disatrous for the education quality in the govenment school.
Teacher-students ratio is already worst in the sate and pushing extra activities will take their time off from teaching. An NGO prabhat in Sarmera Block of Nalanda is conducting a survey of government schools and we have some primary data which shows following trends:

1. Unsually high number of registered students, sometime more than the total children in the school catchment area.
2. Attendance registers are showing inflated number of attendance.
3. In many schools midday meal is never given, in some school it was distributed last year for some time (and in same period there was visit of some officers to monitor the school).
4. In all schools visited there was no seperate kitchen. In side of a class room there was small earthen stove (chulha) and often children have to study in the same class room if some day they decided to cook some midday meal.
5. Material were sold before it arrived to school.
6. One teacher (normally head teacher) has to be busy in bringing grains, selling grains, attending meeting etc.
7. Most of the schools under monitoring have 1-3 teachers and often only one teachers are present controling more than 100 children. In some cases the school is upper primary with more than 300 registred children with 2 teachers (1 teachers often present).
8. Often result of those schools are very good (more than 90% pass with some 50% excellent result).

9. In one particular village where NGO is running a school, the attendance of the children in the government school has dropped to 5-10 (froms 200+ ) but they are still showing high attendance of the children.

Now one can guess what is happening there…
They have to show high attendace for getting more grain, to show good record of the school which serve objective of Bihar Govt as well as school teachers.
In recent year performance record of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan from Bihar has been excellent however reality is very different.
In next few months we will be publishing our survey…
Vikas
Currently in UK
(Guiding and monitoring activities of Prabhat in Bihar)

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Experience in India

First of all, I’d like to introduce myself.

I’m Javier, a boy from Barcelona (Spain) who was in Pojh (Bihar, India) last July. I was there with the NGO. We were a group of 7 young people (including Marta who already wrote on the website).

As she mostly commented on her impressions about India, I’ll try to focus on the experience we lived. How it was organised, its aims and finally my point of view.

The main point of the experience was the visit to Pojh, the village the NGO mostly interacts with. Before arriving to Pojh, we landed on Delhi and we went to Patna. On the way to Pojh, we visited other places, like University of Nalanda.

After spending 10 days in Pojh, we went to Gaya and Bodh Gaya, to finally go back to Delhi, where we sightsaw until our depart day (including a one-day-trip to Agra).

We could say the journey was mostly touristic, except for the stay in Pojh. There, we mixed up (up to a point) with the villagers. We walked among them, we ate their food (not the spicy one), they showed their way of life and traditions to us… They were really some “immersion” days that helped us to discover the India that almost no tourist get to know. That cultural exchange was the best I took back from India. Living with them and “like them”, discovering how they cook, how they  interact with nature, how they interact with each other and with us… it was really enriching to discover a so different culture, with a so different set of values and with so many things to teach us.

I think this was one of the main objectives of the experience, and it was completely fullfilled. Anyway, I must add we found a high linguistic barrier. It was really disappointing, even distressing, to try to communicate and realising after a while it was not so easy as we were told.

The other main objective was to be aware of the village situation, their lacks and their needs, and to start a deep reflexion on how to develop rural areas like Pojh’s one. This is a subject to write a lot about, so I’ll leave it for next posts as I expect to be an active member of this website.

Thanks for reading it and my apologies for my English (I live in France now and it’s getting worse ans worse…).

See you soon.

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EU farm subsidy, world poverty and Indian farmers’ suicide

Recently I was in Tarragona (Spain) and had some discussion about poverty in India, Indians’ resistance to EU-US farm subsidies, and links to poverty and farmers’ suicide in India. I was putting some strong points like we in Europe are equally responsible for farmers’ suicide and poverty in the world. We all have blood in our hand!!! Our tax money is used to make world trade distorted and unfavourable for poor famers in India, Africa and many other poor countries. Many of us don’t understand this argument that how we normal people contribute to world poverty. I will try to explain this with simple illustration of European farms’ subsidies and how it has been used.

The EU spends more than half its annual budget (about €53 billion in 2007) in farm subsidies. The subsidies cost each European Union citizen around €110 a year, according to the European Commission. The money is raised from customs duties, sales taxes and a contribution made by each EU country based on its wealth which again comes from national tax. We in Europe are paying double for our food — one for higher food prices in the stores and then for the taxes that goes to pay for farm subsidies.

Europe farm subsidies started as production incentives in the 1960s, when its goal was to increase the food supply and help farm communities still recovering from the ravages of World War II. The practice of tying subsidies to food production, which led to vast surpluses in the 1980s, was eliminated in a series of reforms, and grants to landowners are now based on the amount of land farmed, rather than how much is grown on it.

But now who is receiving the farm subsidies?

In 2008, Elizabeth the queen of England receive £473,500 for a a 20,000-acre royal retreat in England; Prince Albert II of Monaco got a dole of €507,972 for his wheat farms in France; The duke of Westminster (the third richest person in Britain with a fortune estimated at £6.5 billion) receives £486,534 for his farm.

Look who else receives this free flow of tax money: ÀRIDS ROMÀ (http://www.aridsroma.cat/presentacio.htm) a construction company from Lleida (Cataluña) receives €1.59 millions, Ligabue Catering (http://www.ligabue.it/pages/en/home.php) a Venice caterer that serves airlines and luxury cruise ships, received €148,000 in export subsidies in 2008  (for what? sugar and dairy creamer sachets sold to airlines and cruise ships which literally prevented the company to import from other part of the world).

Who else? Cargill ( a multi-national agriculture firm from USA) received at least €10.5 million. This was sort of bribe to Cargill to operate business from EU instead of shifting to some poorer country.

EU argue that much of the subsidies given to rich and multinationals ultimately trickles down to local farmers, since without them many of them might import cheaper food elsewhere. But the rebates have a powerful effect on global trade by depressing world prices and undercutting poor farmers outside Europe, whose incomes are damaged. It is another form of distorting global trade, and a system that encouraged overproduction of food (compromising environment).

If the objective of subsidies is to supplement farm income, then it should be means tested — that is, going to people who have low incomes. However a typical small farmer in Romania might qualify for about €400 in subsidies, and that may not be guaranteed that he will receive it.

Let see see some data from Spain and see the huge disparity with some poor country.

Spain

Total spending on Farm Subsidies: €6,619 Million

Contribution per citizen: €104

Spending per citizen: €146

Spending per farm: €6,135

Spending per farm worker: €7,010

Spending per hectare: €261

 (Source: http://farmsubsidy.org)

Now let me give you some data from a typical farm in Bihar (India). Average land holding in Pojh (where NGO Prabhat is working) is 0.6 hectare.

Average income per farm (per farming family) is Rs 14,700 (€225), Income per hectare is about Rs 20,000 (about €300). Which means Spanish farm workers receive 30 times more subsidies from EU to what a farmers earn in Pojh. EU spends almost equal amount on per hectare as subsidies to what a farmer earn in one hectare in Pojh. That is the scale of disparity which keeps world poor still poor. 70% poor of world and more than 80% of Bihar depend on agriculture. If developed countries are honest in their approach to remove the world poverty, then they will make agriculture of poor countries more competitive. 

Now I guess you understand my friend why farmers in India have no option but suicide…

Lets cheers for those subsidies of Queens and kings in EU and salvation of farmers in India & Africa!!!

Vikas

 

Related blog: http://blog.savevillage.org/?p=20

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Brazil and Bihar – different context but same story

Land distribution in Brazil

Today, 47 percent of Brazil’s land is owned by just 1 percent of the population, making the country’s land distribution the second most unequal in the world and a glaring inequality in a nation known for its stark division between rich and poor. As a result, a class of four and a half million people are left on the verge of starvation, without land of their own.   Brazil has one of the biggest GDPs in the world, larger than the combined economies of all the other countries in South America. But nearly a quarter of Brazil’s 186 million people live below the poverty line, many of them in notorious urban slums, or favelas.

The landowners family has owned the land  running in many thousands hectares for few generations. Native Brazilian or African immigrants population claims that they are absentee landlords whose ancestors took possession in an illegal 19th-century land grab. In recent years there were some people movements like Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or MST, a national movement with more than 1.5 million members.  The MST acts like Robin Hood, seizing what they consider to be "unproductive" land and redistributing it to the landless poor. They rely on the Brazilian constitution, which states that all land must be productive. Absentee landlords can be compelled to forfeit idle land. Since its beginnings more than 20 years ago, the MST has pushed the government to redistribute more than 20 million acres to nearly 400,000 families. Landowners are understandably furious and want the state to guarantee their rights, and if they don’t then they will do it themselves.

However going beyond these social problem, this article will look from economic perspective. Contrary to Brazil, India has more equal land distribution thanks to some early legislative changes after independence in 1947.  Next section will give short introduction about land distribution in Bihar and India and then a comparative analysis will be presented to find out the real problem and political motives.

 

Land Distribution in Bihar

Bihar inherited a feudal agrarian system (Zamindari system). Zamindari system was introduced by Muslim rulers (Mughals) where an official (Zamindar) employed by the rulers to collect taxes from farmers. Britsih inhereited it and modified it to suit their purpose. System become more cruel and rigid during British period as lagan/tax was must and no excuse (even natural calamity) was accepted.  The ownership and control of land was highly concentrated in a few landlords and intermediaries whose main intention was to extract maximum rent, either in cash or kind, from tenants. As a result, agricultural productivity suffered and oppression of tenants resulted in a progressive deterioration of their plight. The zamindari system was mostly abolished in India soon after its independence with the help of Sealing Act and Bhoodan (Land Donation) movement . As a result of abolition of Zamindari, most of intermediaries and tenants got proprietary rights of lands i.e. they became the land owners. This has resulted in improving their economic and social conditions relatively but it need to be analysed.                                 

A national survey data from 1999-2000 shows that at all-India level 59 % of the Rural Labour Households were with cultivated land.  This has decreased from previous survey of 1993-94 which shows about 61% rural labour household possess cultivated land. Among the major states, Rajasthan (78%) had the highest percentage of households possessing cultivated land followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with close to 70% percent households with cultivable land.   The lowest percentage of households with land was that of Tamil Nadu (33%).  In respect of Agricultural Labour Households, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with more than 60% was at top followed by Orissa (57%).  Here also Punjab & Haryana were at the lowest level with 11% and 20% households, respectively, with cultivated land.

As regards Rural Labour Households, at all-India level, 41% of the households possessed the cultivated land during 1999-2000.  Among the major states, the highest percentage of households with cultivated land was observed in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa with more than 50% households with cultivated land .  The lowest percentage was found in Punjab (8.79%). In respect of Agricultural Labour Households, 43% of the households at national level had the cultivated land. 

Poverty and land distribution and politics

In relation to world poverty, around 70% of the poor in India live in rural areas, mainly in areas weakly integrated into mainstream economic, political and social infrastructures, and over 70% of these rely mainly on agriculture, more than half being primarily agricultural labourers. Poverty has important structural dimensions – of age, gender and caste. It has been reported that the poor are widely denied access to infrastructure, services and benefits directed specifically towards them through government programmes. Poverty in India is more scary in northern-central area of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. These states also have highest rural population and more equal land distribution.

Brazilian society also displays huge inequality between the city and rural areas, between regions, and between social classes. The income difference between rich and poor is among the most substantial in the world. As a result, Brazil has amongst the highest income inequality in the world.

Having different contexts of land distribution and social structure, Brazil and Bihar display the same symptom of poverty. 

Problem of Bihar is that there was too much emphasis on right of land but less on consolidation of land. Recent report of the Bihar Land Reforms Commission (2006-08) has put emphasis on distribution of land and right to tenants but consolidation of land could not get place in the report. However, the consolidation of land is expected to exert more positive influence on agricultural production and productivity. Land reform has been hot topics among social reformists as well as political mass. Before independence the social as well political class have very blurred line and often objective of both group was same. Land reform was driven by social agenda and primary led by socialist class in their initial days. However it was hijacked by political class often in disguise of social reformer. This crucial issue got a ugly twist and become cause of long social tension between two artificial classes created in the society. Often the victims of this tension were innocent people from both artificially created classes of the society ( landowner and landless).

In comparison, Brazil has better consolidation of land as only few owns large chunk of cultivable land, but it has failed to protect the right of labourers which resulted in extreme poverty. These landowners have been exploiting the native and African labourers since time of colonization (or land grab era) and system has failed to change the situation.

Is there universal solution of poverty?

Governments of Brazil and Bihar have same strategy for solving rural poverty, more equal land distribution. In Bihar land distribution has already failed to alleviate the poverty problem and agriculture industry is already ruined. Brazil which has a flourishing agriculture of the world and contributing significantly in its export basket. If it try to emulate socialistic system and decrease the size of land (or a more equal distribution), it may loose this leverage.

So is there a universal solution of rural poverty? I guess obvious answer can be NO. But… beneath all these symptoms and obvious cause there lies some deep rooted problem of social system. Both Brazil and Bihar failed to develop a integrated social system where society takes a collective ownership role. Bihar land distribution deconsolidated its land size and society become island of isolation. Where as in Brazil ownership of land were with few people and working population were denied the fair right or in other term they have been isolated from main land and remain isolated island. Now if we look at these problem from integrated system perspective, they exhibit same system problem and can be solved in same way.

Without going deep in the mathematics of system science, lets put it in a social integration perspective. Bihar and Brazil needs social integration where Bihar will get more consolidated resources and Brazil will get better profit sharing. Finally community will own the natural resources and will collectively use it for the benefits of the community. They will also learn to use it more sustainably as it has been proved that collective consciousness gives more sustainable system.

Vikas

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Patrick Swayze, City of Joy and Bihar

“One thing I’m not going to do is chase staying alive. You spend so much time chasing staying alive, you won’t live.” Patrick Swayze.

The actor Patrick Swayze died on 14th of Sept 2009 at the age of 57 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Still from film City of Joy

Still from film City of Joy

Patric Swayze was leading actor of City of Joy, a film based on real life priest Gaston Grandjean, living in Calcutta (Kolkata), India. City of Joy is a novel written by Dominique Lapierre (1985) and a 1992 film directed by Roland Joffé. The book reveals a very grim and stark picture of the living conditions in a Kolkata slum and move around the life in the slum called Anand Nagar ( literally means City of Joy) and the life of rickshaw puller, Hazari (played by leading Indian actor Om Puri) and his family.
Patric also worked in some other famous film like Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

Now you must be wondering what is this all about Bihar here? If you have watched City of Joy then you may remember rickshaw puller, Hazari. Hazari was playing role of immigrant labourer from Bihar. Story move around the group of immigrants from Bihar and their life in slum of Kolkata. The story is real depiction of Bihari labourers and Kolkata use to be their preferred destination. Now these Bihari immigrants have spread all over India and their situation has got worst.

Dominique Lapierre’s book and film city of joy helped to highlight problem of slums in Kalkota/India but I doubt anyone tried to understand real problem. Why these Bihari labourers are immigrating? Many NGOs and charity organisation are working in Kalkota or other slums of India but how many of them are trying to reach Bihar.
I doubt if we understand the real problem of Hazari and why Hazari exist?

But I guess working for a cause, the problem need to be sexy, it need to have “wow” factor like City of Joy. May be Bihar is not giving that sexy appeal to attract NGOs/social institutions. There will be many City of Joy and millions Hazari as mother of all “the Bihar” will never appeal us to help Hazari in his village.

Vikas

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Corruption- a part of Indian life

Corruption, unfortunately, extends into every sphere of Indians’ life and is almost unavoidable. Money can get you just about anything: ticket for election from national parties, a good job, transfer to good place if you have job, a good education, a gas connection, admission of your children to good school, a sleeping birth in a train, permission to jump the queue for buying train tickets or getting in the train, special treatment at temple for special price (so even god/s have accepted corruption).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdJs2snj0iI

But don’t think that India is not the most corrupt country in the world. That distinction belongs to Bangladesh, which finished dead last among 91 countries surveyed for the 2002 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. India ranked 71st, while Pakistan was 79th, allowing Indians to brag that they’re more honest than their neighbors and they always say that If you want to see real corruption, just cross the border. Even husbands have to bribe wives just to have children…

And the real actors always plead their innocence and for them this is not a bribe, this is a donation… And ofcourse they are very honest person. As a wise man once said, it pays to be honest.”

 Like climate change , India’s corruption is also a perenial discussion. And even before climate change I remember we often have this dicussion in the leasure time of university.  A super – enthusiasts use to suggest – the ‘death sentence should be like China “… the most practical tips -’ yaar it’s better to fix rate …”.  As a freelance corner panelist, we were worried for the future and not involved in “give-take” business. However we never realised how corrupt we are word and real intention. Many of us were try hard to get some over paying job and many of them already have become real money maker. Rest of us who have not got that opportunity are still discussing about corruption.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gcrc8eNdx8

Incidentally, I was never in ‘taker’  position, but many instance of feeling of pain and shame of not “giving”. Unability to not giving makes you socially down graded and often you will be insulted in full view of public.

You must be wondering why the Indians are so tolerant? Why is it that elected leader blamed for corruption in telephone department and party expelled him and he formed a new party with telephone symbol and won the election with overwhelming majority. Wondering wheather he got easy publicity and name linked with telephone helped him to win the election.

Corruption is so acceptable that we stop using this word ”corruption”, better we call it by different name like donation, gift or sharing etc etc.  In childhood we were taught – ‘who eat by sharing get holly Ganga bath’  or some share of bread flour for the fish, one bread for cow, one for dog , and little for crow,  means for everyone something. I guess our officials inforce that social teaching word by word. In the system share is for everyone and if something is left then it goes to real beneficiary.

We all have many friends and relatives who are running their house with this support. Their children are getting good education, and then contributing to new found economic growth of India. Many of them are buying new houses in our modernising metro and contributing to real state sector. They are also employing many agents to run their sprawling donation business. Those agents are officaly unemployed but they are running their houses with ease.  So I guess this donation system is also contributing in economic progress and wealth distribution.

Vikas

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Green revolution and sustainable agriculture

(0n 12th of Sept 2009, Norman Borlaug, father of green revolution died)

Revolution is defined as “drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving”.
The term “Green Revolution” was first used in 1968 by former USAID director William Gaud, who noted the spread of the new technologies and said: “These and other developments in the field of agriculture contain the makings of a new revolution. It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White Revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution.”[1]
In reality green revolution started in 1945 with transformational thinking and practice in agriculture. One significant factor in this revolution was the Mexican government’s initiative to establish an agricultural research station to develop high yielding varieties of wheat that could be used to feed the rapidly growing population of the country. Later Mexican agriculture research centre became an informal international research institution in 1959, and in 1963 it formally became CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center). American agronomist, Norman Ernest Borlaug played major role in at CIMMYT. He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties. For his contribution, he won the Nobel Peace Prize (1970), the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and also an awardee of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest civilian honour to non-citizens of exemplary accomplishment.
The Green Revolution contributed significatnly in technology transfer from developed world to poor countries. These technologies included improved crop varieties, irrigation methods and management, chemical fertilizers (mainly nitrogen and phosphate), chemical pesticides, management practices etc. The story of wheat was main success story but later it was replicated for rice in Asia. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) established in Philippines with the help of Ford and Rockefeller Foundations played major role in high yielding rice varietal research.
World Cereal production more than doubled between the years 1961 – 1985 mainly due to increase in production in developing nations which was mainly contributed by higher yield of of rice, maize, and wheat during that period. The production increases can be attributed roughly equally to irrigation, fertilizer, and seed development, at least in the case of Asian rice. So the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are the main factors of Green Revolution.
The high yielding varieties needed high amount of water in frequent interval of irrigation and high dose of chemical fertiliser. While agricultural output increased as a result of the Green Revolution, the energy input to produce a crop has increased faster [2]. Therefore, the per unit of crops produced to energy input has decreased over time. Use of petroleum related agriculture chemicals (fertiliser and pesticide) and high energy need for irrigation made agriculture highly dependent on fossil fuel. So some of the fear of the Peak Oil theory also haunts agriculture [3].  It has also been blamed for vulnerability to insect pest because most HYV strains have been developed in controlled laboratory conditions were not very resistant to local insects and pests. Sometime it looks like a fixed design scheme to control the whole agriculture supply chian system and loaded in favour of capitalisation of agriculture.  The seeds needed to be purchased, along with sufficient quantities of fertilisers and pesticides.

Many negative effects of green revolution have started emmerging, some of them are:

Soil fertility: High dependency on chemical fertilizer and long term use has destroyed the natural fertility of soil by changing the soil ecology.
Water Quantity and quality: These high yield varieties are extremely water intensive and after wide spread and mono cropping practices has resulted in depleting groundwater in many parts of world.
Careless use of agriculture chemicals have also polluted our rivers and groundwater.
Decreasing Biodiversity: The green revolution has also affected both agricultural biodiversity and wild biodiversity. Practice of mono cropping has reduced agricultural biodiversity, as it relied on just a few high-yield varieties of each crop. It has been reported that there were over 127 varieties of rice alone being cultivated in the India during the pre-green revolution period which steadily dropped and had reduced to 18 within the first two decades of the Green Revolution period.

Socioeconomic impacts: There is a big discussion about socio-economic impact of green revolution in developing countries. It has increased the food security of countries like India, Mexico, China and saved valuable foreign currencies. Governments of those countries were able to divert their resources to other development work and some of which are paying dividends in recent upsurge in industrial and service sectors of those countries. However the transition from traditional agriculture which were more sustainable to Green Revolution agriculture (dependent on outer inputs: a less sustainable/unsustainable model ) led to some emerging socioeconomic problems. Smaller farmers often went into debt, which in many cases results in a loss of their farmland and even suicide. It has also increased the class disparity as wealthier farmers had better access to resources (credit and land) and benefited more from green revolution. It also increased the regional disparity as some regions were able to adopt Green Revolution agriculture more readily than others (for political or geographical reasons) as the case of Punjab, Haryana Vs. Bihar. Even though, Bihar has better soil and water resources, Bihari farmers didn’t reap the benefit of green revolution. The increased level of mechanization on larger farms blamed for high unemployment in villages and mass migration to cities.

Many of these concerns can be blamed on poor implementaion but still one can question the sustainability of green revolution. Pro-green revolutionists have started talking about second green revolution by use of genetically engineered seeds, better farm technology etc. However few are in mood to analyse the 50 years of green revolution and learn from some of its failing.

Vikas

1. Speech by William S. Gaud to the Society for International Development. 1968
http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech-info/topics/borlaug/borlaug-green.html (accessed on 7th Sept 2009)

2. Energy Bulletin (Published Apr 1 2005 by Powerswitch (UK), Archived Apr 1 2005)
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/5045 (Accessed on 7th Sept 2009)

3. Rising food prices curb aid to global poor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0724/p01s01-wogi.html (Accessed on 7th Sept 2009)

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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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Tags: | Category: Agriculture, Farmers, Social Problem, environment

India’s draught

Draught situation in North India

Draught situation in North India

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