Friday, July 29, 2016

The Immortal Man

On this day 112 years back a person of Indian origin was born in France. None would have thought at that time that he would be remembered so well by millions of Indians with reverence and respect even after close to 25 years after his physical death. I think that makes him immortal. He was not a godman, or a politician, a leader with mass following , or a freedom fighter who would defy the British and go to prison umpteen times. His idea of freedom from the colonial yoke was industrialization.

He is Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata , fondly known as JRD Tata.  JRD was the successor of the Tata Group patriarch Jamestji Tata, who was a cousin to his father. 
JRD started as an apprentice ( unpaid I believe ) in the Tata Group at the age of 21 and became the Chairman of the flagship company Tata Sons by the age of 34. Once when asked the secret of his success, JRD replied that since he had no university education, he encouraged those who had.

Till a couple of decades back, the Leftist political parties and anti-industrialists used to  refer Tatas in a derogatory manner portraying them as greedy.  Tata and  Birla, as a phrase had become at that time a reference to super rich, personification of inhumane approach to business and profits. How wrong it was.

Indian Govt. Follows Tatas:

Nowhere in the world an elected government had taken a leaf out of the best practices of an industrial group for the welfare of the workers. It was JRD who on his own accord had introduced 8-hour work day, free medical aid , PF , accident compensation and several other worker welfare initiatives. The Indian Government adopted the same measures and made them mandatory after several years.

JRD was the only one who introduced the concept of the worker being deemed to be “ at work” from the moment he left his home for work till he reached home “ after work”, making Tata Steel financially liable for any mishap to the worker to & from work.

An avid aviator, JRD was the first Indian to obtain a pilot license  in 1929 and launched Tata aviation service in 1932. JRD started off as Chairman of Tata Group ( Tata Sons ) with just over a dozen enterprises and after five  decades he left the group with nearly a hundred companies. The feather in the cap was the starting of TCS in 1968, when except the scientific community, even Indian industry had no idea of computers and the possibilities they bring to the table.

A Humanitarian and a True Visionary:

Even several years before Independence, JRD had founded such iconic institutes  like Tata Cancer  Research & Treatment Institute, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and National Center for Performing Arts. These institutes are the shining examples of excellence even now like their Founder.

A few of JRD’s Famous Quotes:

Ø Money is like manure. It stinks when you pile it ; It grows when you spread it.
Ø No success or achievement in material terms is worthwhile, unless it is achieved by fair and honest means.
Ø Most of our troubles are due to poor implementation, wrong priorities and unattainable targets. 
 Awards bestowed on JRD were umpteen,including Bharat Ratna.
 He was succeeded by Ratan Tata.
 JRD Tata died on November 29th, 1993 but his memory will live on forever.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How My Birthday is 14th Feb

A few days back some bank has called using Noida call center. And to my disgust the caller didn’t know English. And my Hindi is at best comical. So I passed on the phone to my son. After the call he asked me with his usual twinkle in the eye and a smile on his lips how come I had this important day as my official birthday when my actual birthday was different. And it triggered again a flood of memories.

I was fourteen in 1974 Jan . I was filling the application form for my board / 10th class examinations and rules stipulate one has to be fifteen. So you had the option of backdating your birthday. At that time everyone was so particular about even days of backdating the birthday because one would lose government service and pay and promotions by even few days of birth date. I have backdated my birthday by more than two months than required and filled the form with 14th Feb as the date of birth.
My principal has come to the class for verification of the forms and he asked me why I had backdated by more than two months than required. I told him because it was Lovers Day. He was 6-3 and 200 kg and I was 3-6 and 30 kg. He flew into rage I had never seen. He cuffed my collar and dragged me out of the class room. I was terrified that he would kill me if dragged me to the end of the courtyard. So I just held on to the chapatah of the well and would not let go. In all telugu literature writers used to describe the  “ chintha barikalu” the branches of tamarind tree which are very hard and were used to beat up the kids. But here palm tree branches were used ( eetha kommalu) which used to come down on you with whooshing sound and take off a small portion of the flesh. I do not remember how long this beating went but when I woke up I was in the most forbidden place across the street, the girls hostel. On a cot with one of the most beautiful women on Earth. Another teacher was applying a paste to the whip lashes, never knew what it was. Must be navaneetam ( lime sludge mixed with coconut oil ). I was having a raging fever and come to think of it there was no ice. It was just water drenched clothes to rub off the temperature. I just reached out to her and kissed and told her I love her. She just joined a couple of days back then. She looked into my eyes and told me “ Ramana, You be the same as you are in your life”. Well I didn’t understand then. I was naked and I thought she was actually asking me to remain naked for life. Both of them wiped the shit off my ass, sponged the urine for two days. I was later told they refused to hand me over. Both of them were sacked on the second evening and were refused that night’s stay in the hostel and had to leave evening . It was so fortunate that bus drivers did not rape and kill night passengers then.

On hind sight, I think I should have used this opportunity of staying in the girl’s hostel for two days by curing myself quick and utilizing the opportunity.

Some thirty years later, when this shitty head HR people come to you to congratulate on your birthday I suddenly realized the meaning of her words. What she meant was “come what may, don’t budge.”  

And then a couple of years later I went to Australia for a holiday with my family. I was with my cousin at the Blue Mountains Off Sydney and it was a Sunday. So there was local market. I bought packets of strawberries for every one. Every one was freaking out with the little purchases in the market. Till that day, I have never eaten a strawberry. I ate one strawberry. When I had bit into the other, I remembered this lady because her mouth had actually smelled of strawberry. And I just sat slumped at the curb. And this giant of a man came to me and asked me:” Any problem mate”. I said I just remembered someone whom I had kissed some 3 decades back. He was a massive person and he bellowed with laughter and said:” Big deal mate. When I was 14,I had kissed six, fucked three, married one and my life is screwed now.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I just told him her mouth smelled like his strawberries. He was taken aback. He went back a few feet to his place, consulted his another hulk of wife and brought me another full carry bag of strawberries with no charge.
And then he told me one thing. “ Savour the memory, enjoy the fragnance till the end of your life”

I had deep pockets then. So I launched one of the biggest man hunt or rather women hunt. There was nothing. No records. No person alive who would give me who she was.

Even till today, even if all the women in the world come together and pour acid on me, I will always love women till I melt to the last drop.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A few months back, my good friend Kali, a senior executive in a PSU, forwarded the below piece written by his friend Ramesh from Bangalore. I missed reading it then and when I was cleaning the mail box, I stumbled on it and was on to nostalgia after reading it. I was given permission by Ramesh  to blog the same and I thank him for it.

I am sure the Gen X will be nostalgic after reading it.


This is a must Read if you grew up in India.This is about a generation of kids who eventually grew up tough and learned to make it on their own with no government subsidies, no unemployment benefits, no medical plans, no job openings to apply for, even if you had an education, no savings and for the most part, no inheritance from our parents. Most families lived from day to day and had no savings.
How true and so well articulated! To Us, the wonderful kids who were born in India and survived the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's.......... !!* First, we survived being born to mothers, some whose husbands smoked and/ordrank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table, and didn't get tested for diabetes or any other disease! They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few minutes. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs and bassinets were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We were put in prams and sent out with Ayahs' to meet other children with their ayahs whilst our parents were busy.

We had no child proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking or going out on our own.

As children, if we would ride in cars there were no seat belts or airbags. We sat on each others laps for God's sake. Riding in the back of a Station Wagon on a warm day was always a special treat. If it was on a two scooter, mother on the pillion along with two elder kids and one or more on the front platform was not uncommon. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this! We would share a bhuta or dosa; dip a chapatti into someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid. We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt and chillies that set our teeth on edge, and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it. We ate at roadside stalls, drank water from tender coconuts, ate everything that was bad for us from bhajias (battered and fried vegetables) and samosas but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never ever bored, and we were allowed freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on, or when our parents told us to do so. No one was able to reach us all day by mobile phone or phone...... BUT we were OKAY!

We would spend hours making paper kites, building things out of scraps with old pram wheels or cycle rims, inventing our own games, having pound parties, playing traditional games called hide and seek, kick the can, 'gilli danda', 'seven tiles' and rounders, ride old cycles and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. Our parents earned less, never travelled abroad. Religion was never an issue, everyone trusted and loved each other, and came to each other's aid when needed. We never heard of or claimed our inheritance, whilst our parents were alive. We did not look for inheritance after they died too. They made sure we were alright. Never heard of pocket money!

We swam with an inflated tube which we got from somebody who was replacing their car tyres. We ran barefoot without thinking about it, if we got cut we used iodine on it which made us jump. Our parents ran after us, to give us castor oil, once a month!! We did not wash our hands ten times a day. And we were OK. We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no I-Pods, no Internet or Internet chat rooms, no TV,.... full stop! Listening to music was a gather around! We did not have parents who said things like 'what would you like for breakfast, lunch or dinner'. We ate what was put in front of us and
best of all, there was never any leftovers. We polished the lot!!!

WE HAD FRIENDS, great friends, whose parents we called Uncle and Aunty, and we went outside and found them! They too took care of us, when our parents were away, and without any charge! We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no compensation claims from these accidents. We never visited the Dentist! We ate fruit lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. And we never washed the fruit. We had a bath using a bucket and mug and used Lifebuoy soap. We did not know what Shampoos & Conditioners meant. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode cycles
everywhere and someone sat on the carrier or across the bar to school or the pictures, not cinema, or you walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them, and their parents, never let us go without a meal or something....

Not everyone made it into the teams we wanted to. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good fortune to grow up as kids in India, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives, ostensibly for our own good, that changed what was good into bad and what was bad into worse.......

Those were the GOLDEN DAYS my friends of our yester years. !!........ 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Much Ado About Crap & Loo Rooms

The crap has hit the fan.  Along with it much pee has flown  in the country.  Nay, Nay don’t get me wrong. It is not about Anna or Baba refusing to pee or deliver the crap for the day to show solidarity with millions of poor Indian women suffering silently with cultivated constipation because they did not get an opportunity before dawn to relieve themselves on the roadside. Neither it is about millions of poor Indian men, peeing straight on a wall or a bush in the open.  Oops!! Sorry, for bracketing them in the category of “ Poor”. They each spend a day Rs 28  for all their worldly needs and how dare I call them poor. Apologies for my ignorance.

Back to the  issue of crap and pee of the privileged few that has raised much stink recently. This is about our august body, the Planning Commission  and its honorable Vice Chairman defending the “renovation of  2 toilets” ( actually they are 2 wash rooms ) in the Planning Commission’s office at a cost of 3 million rupees. And of course, precautions need to be taken to prevent other less privileged mortals in the same building from even having a look at these swanky places. So another half-a-million is spent to install access control and issue smart cards for just 60 of the privileged elite. All this info unfortunately had to be shared by the Planning Commission because of one  Right To Information ( RTI ) activist thumbing his nose into the crappy affairs of the Planning Commission. What a shame!. The government must immediately invoke the Official Secrets Act  enacted by  the Mughal ruler, Babar or the most recent one enacted for India by the British just 200 years back to punish any one who thumbs his nose into the smelly affairs of the privileged bureaucracy.

Since no such act has been extended for the matter in debate by the government, reams and reams are allocated for condemnation  in print media and panelists of all hues in visual media are just having a verbal diarrhea. What nonsense. These journalists and commentators seem to have no sense of understanding of how important it is to have  classy swank loos and crap pots in office, with Italian marble, Brazilian mirrors, best of the class faucets and fragrant toilet rolls.

However, we need not despair. Even though our intelligentsia and common men decried the need for such an extravaganza, our intelligent politicians immediately grasped the need for such essential items. So the Union Cabinet which met for the first time after the revelations on renovation, relegated all unimportant matters such as falling industrial output, currency slide, massive fuel price hike, economy in doldrums and discussed about the farsighted vision and approach to loos and crap pots of the Planning Commission in general and the Vice Chairman Dr.Montek in particular. Let us not be surprised if our parliamentarians in unison  vote for adding such swanky facilities in their quarters next parliament session  like they did every time to hike their pay and allowances.

The RTI activist, apart from bringing out into open the indulgence of Dr Montek and the importance he gives to luxurious way of peeing to discharge his duties, has also solved the mystery and perplexing declaration of the Planning Commission a few weeks back in declaring that anyone spending Rs 28 ( close to half a dollar) a day for every need is above the poverty line.  Dr. Montek has very vigourously defended this decision and here could be the reason.

During May and October 2011, Dr Montek made several  overseas trips, 18 nights, at a cost of 3.5 million rupees public money.  During these trips,  while crapping in the luxury of 5 star hotels, he realized that if India has to progress it should start with modernizing the most basic infrastructure, the toilets. He has fairly succeeded in this  field, judging by the curiosity and envy it generated amongst our cabinet ministers. One day recently when he has finished filling the newly installed crap pot in his office, tickled by the jet of water from the health faucet auto cleaning his arse, his brain cells became hyper active and he started seriously thinking on how to reduce poverty in the country.  As he was drying his arse with the scented satin smooth toilet paper, the revelation struck him.  Like Buddha after enlightenment, Dr Montek’s face radiated a serenity never seen before. With a contended smile, he adjusted his neck tie in the Brazilian mirror, smoothened the creases of his 3-piece Armani suit, looked around him at the toilet, grunted in satisfaction and called for a meeting of the Planning Commission the next day to discuss the vexatious  issue of poverty.  Each member in no time trooped into the wash room. While peeing,  Dr Montek in earnest talked about the imperative need to bring millions of Indians above the poverty line. Every member agreed with a vigorous shake.  Looking at the members, with a benign smile Dr Montek shared with them his brilliant idea of pegging the amount an Indian spends a day for all his needs at a certain threshold to move him from Below the Poverty Line. But no one could come out with the monetary number required for the poor for a day to survive. After much deliberation, the members agreed that the amount will be the same as the number of loo and crap pots in the renovated wash rooms. There were 28 of them. Hence, it was declared that from now on those spending Rs 28 a day would no longer be treated as poor in India.  With one gesture, more than 300 million Indians were rescued from abject poverty.

A few days later, the Union Government announced a major sop to the Now-No-Longer-Poor Indians. It has raised the subsidy from Rs 8,500 to Rs 10,000 for construction of toilets in their “ homes”.

A few weeks later, the Prime Minister has called for all Government agencies to tighten the belt. No, No not after crapping. The call was to bring in austerity at all levels.

India might lack in several things but never in humour.

Friday, December 09, 2011

FDI in Retail: Neither Boon Nor Bane

The deadlock in Parliament for a week over allowing 51% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was over, with Manmohan’s government withdrawing  the proposal “ for now”.  For the past week, we have heard and read Giga Bytes of information with Aye sayers proclaiming  FDI will bring in better prices for farmers and increase employment and Nay sayers  predicting it will wipe out the small kirana stores thereby increasing unemployment in the unorganized sector.                                              
To me, both are wrong.  For different reasons.

In the heat of arguments, everyone forgot that retail giants that will come in are giant transcontinental corporations  which empathize only with one thing. Profits and more profits.  It is a myth and naivety to even optimistically think these corporations will pay a better price for farmers than that is existent in the market. They will just replace the existing middlemen by they themselves becoming the middlemen and hoarders. Neither will they generate employment to the large extent being projected. In large retail chains, very few are employed in the store compared to the volumes. Even contract farming or captive farming where agreements are drawn beforehand  by the retail chain with farmers for purchase of entire produce has not worked to the advantage of the farmers as is evident from the basmati growers of Punjab, potato framers in Northern India with Pepsi and Subabul, eucalyptus growers in Andhra Pradesh with ITC paper mills. On the other hand, they impose extra burden on the farmer to bring in gloss for the produce like wax coating for apples and protective sponge net for pears.
The argument that these retail conglomerates will wipe out the corner store Kirana Wala is also unfounded. Already, India has retail giants for the last several years like More, Reliance, Metro, Subhiksha and a host of others but the mom and pop kirana stores never perished. They have a unique business model of extending credit, home delivery and personal relationship with the consumer. It is a common practice for these stores to give goods on credit even when the order is placed through the house maid or on telephone. In fact, it was Subhiksha that got wiped out and not the kirana stores.

India Inc. too stepped in crying hoarse that withdrawal of the proposal will be a blow to economic reforms and a great loss to farmers. Obviously, the tycoons were salivating at the prospect of  investing in the rest of the 49% equity and riding on the train of super profits. It was hilarious listening to these Armani suite wallahs glibly espousing the cause of farmers. None of the existing retail conglomerates paid a single rupee extra to the farmers than the market price.  With their clout and money power, they have become the biggest hoarders buying up huge stocks at distress price, hoarding them against all laws and selling them for windfall profits.

Rotting Food Grains at Govt. Storage Depots
The government should have announced a slew of measures for the benefit of farmers before the decision to allow Foreign Investment or Indian Investment in retail. It should have come out with plans for massive network of storage houses for grains and cold storages for perishable produce across the country.  All the produce should be bought by the government at a price fixed every two years giving farmers an opportunity to make a decent profit and impose a limit on the percentage of profit the retailers can sell the same. Also a pre-condition should have been imposed that 80% of all farm produce and manufactured goods that are displayed ( not sold ) in retail chains should be procured from within the country. This would have addressed the three most important issues that are plaguing the country, - rotting farm produce due to lack of storage facilities, distress sales by farmers leading to farmer suicides and dramatic rise in food inflation hitting hard the consumers. Instead of addressing the issue holistically, all the politicians without exception took hard stands benefitting none of the three stakeholders-  producer, seller and consumer.
Alas,  What a loss !!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gen X to Gen Z: What a Difference !

I have no idea about when demographers started classification of generations, but the classifications fit the majority. And vast differences exist between each generation, and from generation to generation the gap increases tremendously.  First there were “veterans”, born prior to 1925 who have witnessed World War II and the tumultuous events of World history, next is “ babyboomers” born between 1940 and 1955 who would have come of age between 1960-1970. Rebellion against authority was part of their profile. They were the beneficiaries of economic boom of 60s. Then came Gen X,  my generation, born in early 60s  who were more rebellious against any type of authority and life was a constant struggle against every stereo type of authority. Usually they grew up with two or three more siblings in the house and had to share everything with the siblings from bedroom to bathroom, from soap to towel. In India, this generation like me stared at the colour TV first time when they were in budding twenties, lived with one Doordarshan channel for more than a decade and could relish the countless channels only after their forties. They stood in long lines in their 20s to book a trunk call at post offices to their homes and waited for hours to get connected. They have enjoyed the fruits of telecom revolution and the quintessential cell phone only when after their 40s. PCs and Internet were only  newspaper stories and most would have touched a key board for the first time in their 40s. PCs storage capacity was talked in MBs.Porn was only in books and in their mid 20s VCR was the most sought after personal entertainment device. Rayban goggles was the ultimate fashion statement.  Most of them would have started in their mid 20s with the prized possession of a Bajaj Scooter and caringly dusted it everyday without fail. One VIP suitcase was used  for a life time without it ever getting even a scratch protected with an olive green military standard canvas cloth cover. Eating out in restaurants was rare and when happened it was a family event and talked for weeks. Owning a car was the biggest dream and owning a house was even a bigger dream. Mega schemes were laid out to own a house. First it would be acquiring a plot of land, somewhere on the far outskirts of the town or city and then planning a savings schedule for the next 10 years to construct the dream house. America was the ultimate dream and any one fortunate enough to settle there was a demi God.
Then came Gen Y, born in 80s and by the time they came of age the next century dawned and the Indian economy was in full swing. By the time they crossed teenage, mobile phone has become another organ of the body and internet was being used by millions. Even hick towns sprouted dozens of internet cafes. Porn has moved from books to PCs and computers capacity was talked in GBs.TVs straightened out and became flat. Jazzy bikes replaced the Bajaj scooter and owning a car by  mid 20s did not even call for a comment. Signing up a 20- 30 year EMI  housing loan did not raise any eye brows. America was still  a dream but only for short term assignments or for a holiday. Cooking at home has become irregular. Curry points mushroomed everywhere.  Number of siblings fell to just one. Use of branded goods has become the fashion statement, whose price made their parents miss a heart beat.

Then came Gen Z, born in 90s usually the children of Gen X.  The decades of hard work and painful and planned accumulation of the wealth of Gen X has become the spring board for Gen Z. Nothing but the best is their motto and a thousand rupee note in their hands transforms into loose change in a jiffy. Authority is no problem for them because they have never encountered one. Friends are virtual and all talk happens only on the Face Book and any advice by teacher or parent is immediately put for validation with virtual friends. They are part of one or other virtual social groups with thousands as members. Google is THE only source of reliable  information. Cell phone is no longer just a phone and does everything except cooking. Palm sized phones boast of GB capacities. Two continuous days of eating at home calls for by default home delivery pizza or KFC. Picking up goods without even looking at the price tag attracts no comment. All decisions are taken independently without parental intervention or advice. It is not uncommon to be the only child.

What a change!! And what a gulf of differences with in just one generation!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AP Rice Mill Lobby Strangulating Farmers

It is sad that neither media nor the government is concerned about the plight and suicides of paddy farmers in the state as they are about say weavers’ deaths. Not that the death of weavers should not be a matter of concern, but due attention should be paid to the paddy farmers suicides too. While clothes can be made by textile mills and weavers can choose other forms of work, it is the farmer who is stuck with his land and there is nobody on the earth to produce food grains except him. The reasons for the plight of farmers are two. One is the Central Government which fixes minimum support price arbitrarily without taking the actual input costs and refuses to increase it citing the fallacious reason that food prices will increase. It cites the same reason for refusing exports. Its arm, the Food Corporation of India ( FCI ), has grain stocks  double the capacity of its godowns. Crop after crop and year after year, the FCI cites the reason of lack of storage space to avoid buying from the farmer directly.
In AP, kharif crop ( July- Dec ) on average yields 100 – 110 lakh tons of paddy. In Rabi ( Jan – April ) the yields are 110- 120 lakh tons.  The just harvested rabi crop yielded  an estimated 120 lakh tons. Of this, the FCI bought directly from  farmers a meager  5 lakh tons and the state civil supplies  department bought 1.5 lakh tons at the minimum support price of Rs 1000 a quintal. Once the FCI stopped purchasing, the rice millers started purchasing a quintal of paddy at Rs 800- 850. And they bought 98 lakh tons. At Rs 200 lesser price per quintal, the farmers lost a whopping sum of Rs 2000 crore. And this is just for one crop not including the profits earned by millers by exporting rice to other states  and countries. The government in AP, whichever party is in power, dances to the tune of rice millers and so when almost all the farmers had made a distress sale of paddy, politicians are shedding crocodile tears now urging the central government to increase MSP and allow export of rice. And who will benefit from this. None except the rice millers. Each rice mill pays 30% of the milled paddy to FCI as levy and can sell the remaining stocks in the open market. The millers also get 12 kg of rice bran and 12 kg of broken rice for each quintal of paddy milled. The 4-5 kg of husk they get is used to generate power or used to generate steam to make paraboiled rice. The levy rice collected by the FCI is  allocated  to public distribution system for distribution to below poverty line people at a high subsidized rates. FCI has now 50 million tons in its warehouses, double the quantity required to meet the needs of subsidized rice distribution through PDS.

Paddy cultivation is  highly labour intensive. The input costs have trebled in the last 5 years but the MSP for paddy has not increased by  more than 40%.  If we take 5 acres farmer, his input costs are Rs 90,000/- which includes from raising nursery, mechanized ploughing, plantation, weed removal, fertilizer, pesticide, reaping and to harvesting. At an average  25 quintals per acre, if he gets MSP, his net earnings are a meager  Rs.35,000 for the entire crop from his 5 acres. If rabi crop is also cultivated and both the crops are not affected by any natural calamity, his earnings per year is Rs 70,000/-, which is less than Rs 6000 a month. It is  a fact that once every 3 years, one crop at least is lost to nature’s fury. having thus lost a year of earnings and with no money for the input costs for the next crop, farmers have to go for loans either from banks or private money lenders. Both these institutes show no mercy on the hapless farmer while recovering the money. This is what makes the farmer take his life. Last quarter, State Bank of India wrote off Rs 41,500 crore as bad debts and not even a single rupee of this colossal amount  would be from a farmer.

The AP government should exert pressure on the central government to allow exports of rice on a continuous basis and stop the practice of permitting millers to export after they buy at a lower price from the farmers. The FCI should be given procurement quota for each state depending on the extent of paddy cultivated. The practice of FCI procuring a lion’s share from only Northern states should stop.