Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monsoons: A Much Needed Blessing

For centuries the trade winds have blown from Africa towards the Indian subcontinent and back twice a year.Since the dawn of civilization they have been the harbingers of good fortune or bad depending on the amount of rain they brought.

No matter where you stand on the Indian plains,after three months of summer,the sight of blue black clouds low in the horizon,the cold wind on your back and the smell of water in the air,cannot be expressed.The sheer joy of it can only be felt!

The sight of farmers staring at the sky,sitting on parched,riven dry earth have been imortalized in countless movies and documentaries.Yet the Indian farmer is still dependent on the monsoon rains.

This year stock market analysts await the rains more eargerly than the farmers or so it seems.Having touched India 4 days behind schedule,the rain gods have showered a surplus of 11% till date.Crucial to see how the whole season pans out before declaring the prediction from private player Skymet as the winner over IMD(Indian Meteorology Dept).

The biggest failure post independence for this country has been the inability to get irrigation technology or in plain speak - water to the individual farmer where and when he wants it.Underground acquifers are running dry across the entire state of Punjab and Haryana,which once led the green revolution.

The way to uplift the farmer has been to offer freebies or the MSP(Minimum Support Price) rather than getting investments flowing into technology.Countries like Israel,Denmark and Netherlands have developed such wonderful methods and the system of drip irrigation,yet none of the development has touched the Indian farmer.

The RBI governor talk of inflation control is doomed unless we can stop the suicides and mass migration to urban areas as the diminishing returns from agriculture destroy an entire clan of people leading to destruction of traditional knowledge and suitable methods to increase production.Add a lack of storage and supply chain issues and I for one do not see food inflation coming down in the near future.The cycles of rise-and-fall are diverging and becoming more pronounced.

Not difficult to change the situation in Sixty odd years but well nigh impossible to change the attitude of people in power,

Till then enjoy the pouring rain as it comes down hard releasing the typical earthy smell,washing down the dust,leaving the few city trees and shrubs gleaming green.....hopefully you will think of the forlorn figures pending down to planting paddy that comes to us as rice from the nearest department store.

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