Here we are in the thick of the supposed Monsoon season and it’s frikkin’ bone dry all over India. Usually, most urban Indian residents complain of the Monsoon since it leads to floods and is a general nuisance. This year the complaining is due to a lack of water which is leading to water cuts and don’t get me started on the havoc it has on farmers – the largest industry in India by revenue and people employed.
Several days ago the news channels were mentioning that the Prime Minister was going to meet with the Chief Minister’s from the affected drought states. What is that meeting going to accomplish? Are they going to schedule a meeting with Mother Nature and fix the problem. Everybody knows that the Monsoons come every year and yet every year India suffers from either too much or too little rain. There seems to be no long term strategy in dealing with this perennial problem. There are a host of initiatives that could potentially lessen the burden such as rain water harvesting but India always seems to be focused on the short term strategies.
I grew up in Southern Indiana in a sea of corn fields and I bet more innovation comes from that small region then all of India. I fail to understand how a country who prospered with it’s “Green Revolution” in the 1960’s seems so far behind in terms of technology. I’m sure there are pockets in India that are using the latest in technology and benefitting, but what about the rest. Punjab is the first place that comes to mind, they say there are more Mercedes Benzes in this part of India then anywhere else to give you an idea of the wealth creation from farming. But, beyond that I think most farmers are suffering. If you stop by my dad’s hometown in Madhya Pradesh you would be hard pressed to find many tractors farming the land, instead most of it is manual labor.
The government has helped the farming industry with many things such as no taxes, free water and free electricity but I think some of those are band-aid’s on the real problem – lack of innovation. The government always seems willing to throw USD 5-10 billion at forgiving farmers debts but when it comes to spending the same about on new farming technology it gets politicized. If farmers were committing suicide in droves over the past 2 years, I’m sure this year we are going to hit record numbers. And the government’s response – forgiveness of debt, a couple thousand dollars and a guaranteed government job for the oldest son.