Monday, 8 January 2007

Indian Bankers Upbeat - Indian Farmers Suicidal

Indian bankers are strongly upbeat about the overall situation from their perspectives, of the Indian rural scenario. Ask them, to point to some signs of the reasons for their optimism, and they promptly refer you to some report produced by some well paid think tanks / consultants who would be only too happy to follow up, with a Powerpoint presentation, showing the upward trends in the "disposable rural incomes" in India, the investments by Indian government in rural infrastructure, the photo of the farmer with the mobile phone, checking out the latest harvest prices in international mandis and receiving SMS messages of when to hold, and when to dispose of his food crops, depending on share market prices and Indian GDP forecasts, and the Reddys of Andhra, who are voluntarily surrendering their lands to the state, and getting kudos for disposing off land they should not have had in the first place.

It also becomes an ocassion for the Income Tax lawyers to join in and show their patriotism and loyalty towards Mr Chidambaram's tight tax collection regime and computerization in IRS. Should we not increase the tax base now, as per the latest reports from the Indian bankers with a significant footprint in the rural sector ?
ICICI chief Mr Kamath has shown the sleight of hands, that only corporate Indian banks can, and that too supposedly during the tenure of a Communist supported Central government. He says .. "After all, there is a lot of money to be made from rural areas ".
This just goes to show that in modern India, one man's meat is another's poison, bald vultures notwithstanding.
And yes, it does make one wonder whether the psychological states of pessimism and optimism, are due to the family genes, the bodily hormones, or due to the trouser pant pockets, as long as the middlemen all line up on your side.
Urban Indian economists are busy making their tryst with destiny. While looking at rural areas and populations as one vast potential market, rather than, the backbone of Indian cities and the well being of the country as a whole, they are themselves looking for investment consultancy contracts from foreign investors, suggesting how to facilitate doling out tax sops for Special Export Zones (SEZ), in a bid to further nudge and reward the dynamism of the corporate houses, and for patriotic purposes, in a bid to clamber on top of the Chinese dragon, as the bankers begin to position themselves to reposess farmlands from indebted, distressed and suicidal Indian farmers.
Ask these economists about a retirement scheme for farmers or social security for rural Indians and they will start pointing out the paltry pittance legislated by Shri Vajpayee, as a step too far.
The farmers of India now need armies of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health experts to combat their chronic depression, that Oxbridge trained economists are winking at and mass inducing.
All the Optimists, reside in urban areas and all the Pessimists are now living in rural areas. The architects of the Second Green Revolution are busy playing the moves and countermoves and enacting roles of Shatranj ke Khiladi even as the bugles of the East India Company sound on the horizon. Satayajit Ray would surely have some acerbic comments for the modern day Nawabs of Oudh.
Make merry while the sun shines. The great saga of the untold Indian story of an undeclared Farmer Exit Policy takes shape.
And they used to talk of Shylock as that smirking Jew, who would have his pound of flesh. Indian farms are becoming one massive siphon for agricultural surplus, at rates that even the colonial rulers would have shied from.

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