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Farmers’ unrest puts Modi government in a tight spot



Debt is just one aspect, farming is almost a terminal disease in India

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Problem revolves around increase in production and fall in prices

Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr

New Delhi: There is a clear recognition on the part of the BJP-led NDA government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it is caught in a cleft as it were, and there is not much it can do about the farmers’ protests that have broken out in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana. Political opponents are not being blamed for the problem, and there is an acknowledgement that there the farmers’ anger stems from a crisis situation, which ironically is an outcome of increased production.

Here is what a highly placed sources in the government told APN Live, on condition of anonymity. It is being conceded from concerned quarters that the farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka is arising from a plentiful crop looking for reasonable returns. Farmers are angry and frustrated because they are not getting the price they need to recoup costs because of overproduction, whether pulses, oilseeds or onions. Prices have nosedived in the market, partly aggravated by imports as in the case of pulses from countries like Myanmar, Mozambique and Canada.

It has been indicated that imports are being rationalised but the government is not in a position to put a stop to imports in order to shore up domestic prices of pulses. Though production in pulses has improved, touching a high of 18 million tonnes, it still falls below the consumption needs, which stands at around 23 million tonnes. It is also the case that government cannot procure the entire produce because it is economically and logistically unfeasible though farmers want that government buy up the entire produce.

The increase in the production of pulses and other non-cereal crops is being seen as a success by the government because the policy has been towards crop diversification. It is being claimed that it is because of incentives including that of an attractive minimum support price that more farmers have taken to non-cereal crops.

The government is however working on long-term strategy. It wants to provide storage facilities so that the farmer can keep his produce in safe condition and sell it in the market at an opportune time. This is more so in the case of onions. To avert the disaster of onions rotting because they could not be sold, government with the help of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is working at the process of irradiating onions, which will suck out the moisture, and preserve it for a longer period. In the case of onions too, storage turns out to be a key factor though the technological intervention of using radiation to preserve them is helpful.

It is being conceded that infrastructure cannot be created overnight and that it takes time. Here too, there is no attempt to blame the previous government for not having done enough about infrastructure. Modi government is grappling with the actual problems of governance.

When it was suggested that one way out of the production glut of onions would be to allow exports, and this was the demand of the farmers as well, Prime Minister Narendra Modi felt that the export incentive would benefit the traders rather than the farmers. The farmers however wanted to dispose of their crop whatever the loss.

It has also been accepted that real time information about acreage for any crop is not available and that this makes it difficult to make reasonable estimates of output and tweak the MSP as well as imports accordingly.

Rationalising imports is causing embarrassment with countries like Canada in the case of pulses and with Malaysia and Indonesia in the case of palm oil. Government is now insisting on import of raw palm oil so that value-addition through refinement and its use in cosmetics could lead to job creation in the country.

The same argument seems to hold good in the case of crude oil imports. Government is happy about increase in imports because that would help in creating jobs in petroleum products and by-products, which in turn lead to exports apart from creating jobs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

5 state elections: Exit poll projections range from a farce to the far-fetched

Pollsters run full time advisories on election management charging hundreds of crores. They can make or break political careers with their advice “based on research” leading to denial or offer of party tickets.



By Neeraj Mishra

Every year, some states have elections and every year, a farcical drama is played out on television channels, for days adding up to the actual counting hour. Familiar faces create and discuss highly improbable situations, stereotyped characters indulge in violence of words and extravagant exaggeration.

It is all aimed at creating confusion in the voter’s mind, infusing satta markets with more punters and general joy at the expense of viewers. This year is no different. India Today thinks the BJP can get 162 seats in Madhya Pradesh bettering its previous tally by more than 50. It does not pause to think why and how this is possible. The perceived anti-incumbency of 20 years has been turned on its head and a Gujarat-like result is possible without a similar communal situation or voter mindset.

At the same time, there are three other channels which think it’s a close race giving an average of only 100 seats to the BJP, 16 short of majority. Psephology is now a full time business with at least a dozen big companies that employ innumerable fake scientists.

Some of these companies have taken this to the next level like Prashant Kishor. They run full time advisories on election management charging hundreds of crores. They can make or break political careers with their advise “based on research” leading to denial or offer of party tickets. Clearly, winning is the only thing that matters as stakes are too high and the prize is control over the entire system at the state level.

Back to the exit polls though, the song on Chhattisgarh is quite identical in every channel. Every psephologist worth his salt knows that the BJP was so far behind in 2018 at 15 seats compared to the Congress’ 70 that to recover and beat it would be next to impossible, so every channel has the Congress ahead. But in a house of 90 to say that BJP will get between 36-46 seats and Congress will get 40-50 seats is a joke at the very least.

It would mean both parties are forming the government and the researcher is not sure so he has played safe. Keeping a two per cent margin in predictions is absolutely unacceptable here, since traditionally the difference between the two parties has been less than 2 per cent, except in 2018. Even a 0.75 per cent difference in votes can lead to a BJP-50 and Congress-38 situation in 2013. So to say, the BJP can get between 36 to 46 seats is absurd.

It’s the difference between losing and forming the government. After having covered more than two dozen elections, one has seen that the safest way to predict results is based on the prevailing mood about three months before the elections are announced. Barring something as drastic as Pulwama, people are unlikely to change their mind at the last moment.

So to say all along the campaign period that such and such party is improving its position is mostly low conjecture. Another noticeable thing in this elections has been the freebies on offer by sitting governments in all states. Shivraj Singh Chouhan beat them all by announcing he would give Rs 3000 per month to every married woman if voted back to power.

He even delivered two installments during the campaign period while the Election Commission did nothing about it, it did stop K. Chandrashekhar Rao from dispensing his pro-farmer cash. So have the labharthis (beneficiaries) then appropriated this round of elections? They certainly have caused a major rift among psephologists.

The wide difference in their predictions is perhaps also caused by which set of Labharthi they talked to. Labharthis also tend to aggregate their votes regionally. For instance in famine-ridden Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh, Rs 3000 means a lot but not so much in more affluent Malwa-Nimad.

The Congress’ offer of loan waiver may trump the BJP’s offer of Rs 12000 per annum to every woman over 18 in the Chhattisgarh plains but in the hilly tribal areas, it still rings a bell. Exit poll is an effective salve to pacify nervous candidates and supporters. No one really remembers or credits the channels with anything even if they were spot on. It is only a three-day carnival and should be treated as such. Real life happens on counting day.

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India News

PM Modi proposes to host COP33 in India in 2028

The 28th conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC), refered as COP28, is currently taking place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12.



Prime Minister Modi was addressing the COP28 climate summit in Dubai on Friday, he proposed hosting COP33 in India in 2028. PM Modi said  India is committed to UN framework for climate change process. That is why, from this stage, he proposed to host COP33 Summit in India in 2028.

The 28th conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC), refered as COP28, is currently taking place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12.

As a special gesture by the UAE, PM Narendra Modi was given the honour of speaking at the Ceremonial opening of the summit, in which discussion will held on issues regarding climate change in the coming days. He said he announced one more pro planet, pro active and positive initiative- green credit initiative.

PM Modi said India’s goal is to bring down the emissions intensity by 45 % till 2030 and also said the country has decided to increase the share of non fossil fuel to 50%. He said India will keep going ahead towards the goal of net zero by 2070.

PM Modi will also attend three other high level events on the sidelines of the summit. Bilateral meetings with World Leaders like Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Israeli President Issac Herzog.

The COP28 conference brings together the heads of the state, climate activists, government ministers, scientists and other stake holders from all over the world so that discussion can take place and action can be taken on climate change. The key themes of the conference include slashing energy emissions before 2030 and fast tracking the energy transition, transforming climate finance, putting nature, lives, people and livelihood at the heart of climate action and mobilizing for more inclusive COP ever.

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India News

IMD says Cyclone Miachaung likely to hit coast of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh on evening of December 4

Upon formation Cyclone Miachaung will be this year’s sixth cyclone in the Indian Ocean and fourth in Bay of Bengal. The name of the cyclonic storm was given by Myanmar.



Tamil Nadu has been getting incessant rainfall over the past few days and is gearing up for an approaching cyclonic storm as per a forecast of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Cyclone Miachaung is likely to hit the coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh on the evening of December 4.

IMD said that a well planned low pressure area that persisted over the Southeast Bay of Bengal and its adjoining South Andaman sea moved west – northwestwards, turned into a depression at 5:30 am on Friday.It currently lies about 800 km southeast of Chennai, and 790 km east-southeast of Puducherry. The depression will turn into a deep depression by December 2, and further intensify into cyclone Miachaung around December 4 evening.

After turning into a cyclonic storm it is going to hit the Andhra Pradesh –Tamil Nadu coast. Upon formation Cyclone Miachaung will be this year’s sixth cyclone in the Indian Ocean and fourth in Bay of Bengal. The name of the cyclonic storm was given by Myanmar. According to IMD’s forecast rain activity in several southern regions including Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands along with Odisha which is prone to cyclones.

In IMD’s morning bulletin, rainfall has been predicted in the Andaman and Nicobar islands today. Puducherry and north coastal Tamil Nadu will see isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall between December 2 and 4. A similar forecast has been made for coastal Andhra Pradesh with the state expected to see heavy to extremely heavy rainfall between December 3 and 5.

Rayalseema in Andhra Pradesh has also predicted to see very heavy downpours on December 3 and 4. Odisha in the east will also see heavy to very heavy rainfall, particularly in its south coastal and south interior regions on December 4 and 5.

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