The UPA’s poll plank, for some concocted reason, was the common man and rural India. Since columnists had decided the government’s plank after the election, those in power felt obliged to play along. And, the National Commission on Farmers was set up. The chairman, Dr MS Swaminathan, has written several columns bemoaning several things: lack of agricultural research, poor farm practices, inadequate facilities in terms of cold storage, lack of marketing and vast areas still having no irrigation whatsoever. And after educating everyone about what really has to be done, Dr MS Swaminathan has come up with a document that reads more like a blog. No concrete agenda, no real targets or solutions.
And then, bizarrely and with no real data to support the claim, the document states this,
We urge the Central and State Governments to consider seriously the question of including Agriculture under the Concurrent List in Schedule VII, Article 246 of the Constitution. Important policy decisions like those relating to prices, credit and trade, are taken by the Government of India (GoI). Also, several pieces of legislation including the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, the Biodiversity Act, the Food Bill, etc., are administered by the GoI. GoI provides substantial funds for rural infrastructure development including irrigation, village roads and markets. By placing agriculture on the Concurrent List, serving farmers and saving farming becomes a joint responsibility of the Centre and States, i.e. a truly national endeavour in raising the morale, prestige and economic well being of our farm women and men.
When one looks to the acknowledgment section, one sees this,
NCF is grateful to Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, former Chairperson and other members of the National Advisory Council, for the opportunity given for presenting the Recommendation of the NCF to NAC.
One realizes, after all, the party in power gets to use power. Sometimes, not very wisely. But use it nevertheless.