Lip-service to agriculture won’t do

PS Rangi’s article “Rejuvenating agriculture” (Dec 8) is an incomplete analysis of the many ills afflicting the farm sector. Palliatives and shibboleths cannot deliver the goods. First, the Indian agriculture’s share has dwindled to 20 per cent of the GDP though 58 per cent of the population is still dependent on it. With declining farm holdings and incomes, the preponderant factors in land allocation (crop pattern) by the farmers are economic rather than non-economic.

Secondly, higher investments in the agro-processing sector may be the need of the hour. Punjab has adequate cold storage capacity. The MNCs and other agro processors should learn to give remunerative prices to the farmers.

Thirdly, increased credit facilities for farmers alone are not enough. Why not enable the farming sector to generate economic surplus through a suitable policy package for revamping it?

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And finally, the political elite pays lip-service to the farm sector while it wants a paradigm shift on production, marketing and export fronts. This is not forthcoming because of paucity of funds, corruption, vested interests and WTO pressure.

Dr PREM SINGH DAHIYA, President, Centre for Dev. & Agri Research, Rohtak


The writer says the monoculture of rice in the kharif and wheat in the rabi season has caused serious problems like the depletion of groundwater resources, biodiversity and multi-nutrient deficiencies in soils. He argues the need to shift agriculture from crop cultivation to fruits, vegetables, fodder and foresty and so on.

His suggestions are good but on the flip side, the writer controversially wants relaxation in land ceilings to make operational farm size more economical, scrapping of the essential commodities, trade restrictions on stock limits of private traders, abolition of the levy system on sugar and rice and the government purchasing these from the open market for the PDS — all of which, in India’s political economy, will favour the big farmer and the rapacious trader. The writer should not go overboard in favour of the market forces and overstate his otherwise good case.

VINOD CHAUDHURY, St Stephen’s College, Delhi


India is an agro-based economy. About 80 per cent people depend on agriculture. But we are not developing much. We have to develop Indian agriculture first. Our agriculture production is seven times less than that of Japan (in per acre agriculture production). Our per acre employment in agriculture sector is three times less than that of Japan.

To develop the industries, we have to increase the purchasing power so that the demand will increase. To develop agriculture, we have to control floods and improve the irrigation facilities.

M.L. SINHA, Tapa (Sangrur)

How best to tackle AIDS

AIDS has emerged as a deadly disease in recent times. Public awareness camps, workshops, seminars and rallies are regularly organised to keep this deadly disease away. The main stress is on safe sex.

However, in the name of safe sex, signal goes to the public that there is no problem in pre-marital and extra-marital sexual affairs if you use condom each time while having sex. Instead of propagating safe sex, our slogan should be ‘No pre-marital sex’ and total loyalty to your life partner.

S.S. MINHAS, Govt. College, Ropar

N-plant a must

The Punjab government must go head with its plan for a nuclear power plant. Uninterrupted power will be a boon for industrial growth which will have immediate and long-term economic gains for the state as well as the nation. Lack of adequate power is responsible for industrial sickness.

Ignoring such a venture, fearing the Pakistan threat perception is not a credible option. As for seismology of the region, large volume of water accumulated at one place tends to change the isostatic balance, which may cause earthquake.

As regards the problem of nuclear waste, effective management is the simple answer. The real energy lies in the atom and if we are that bad a manager, no use in finding fault with any kind of arrangement — be it nuclear or conventional.



Once again, politicians and experts are making strong claims for Punjab being awarded a nuclear power plant to help meet its current and future power needs. In 2001, a nuclear plant was proposed at Daroli in Sangrur district on the banks of the Bhakra canal.

After considerable discussion and investigation, the idea was dropped as the Daroli site was found to be too risky.

The nuclear power plant should not only have safe foundation but also be strong enough to meet the normal loads. It should also be seismic-proof.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh


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