In a recent media interview, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, “The people who live abroad and those who keep traveling abroad… know the respect that the Indian passport carries today…. Today when people enter any airport and place their Indian passport at the immigration counter, there is a sense of pride.”

I hope Modi's boast is not about claiming that the respect for our passport and the sense of our pride today are linked with India’s performance in our political sector.

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Politics in a democracy is supposed to produce governance that fosters all-inclusive development. There is a near consensus among impartial analysts that our politics has by and large been a flop sector. The successive governments at the center and in the States have miserably failed on the front of governance for people’s development.


Four years have passed off since Modi took over the reins of government in the country. There is hardly any semblance of improvement in the life conditions of our ordinary mortals. Our governments have not evolved and implemented such policies and programs as would meet the fundamental aspirations of the masses.  The same old pattern of development prevails perpetuating a state of abundance for the privileged few and that of scarcity for the masses.

According to some recent reports, in India today over 600 million people face high to extreme water stress,  2,000,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 70 per cent of the country’s water supply is contaminated.

The ordeals of our tribal and farming communities continue unabated. In the last six months around half-a-dozen people died of starvation in our State of Jharkhand. Most of them were denied rations from their Public Distribution System shops, for they did not have an Aadhaar-based biometric authentication. The State government does not care even for the ruling of the Supreme Court. The Court has ruled the Aadhaar linkage is voluntary.  But the government has cancelled 11.6 lakh ration cards, saying they are not linked to Aadhaar.

In our State of Karnataka, between April 2013 and November 2017, at least 3,515 farmers ended their lives. The crop loans of farmers stand at ₹53,000 crore. The total outstanding borrowings of farmers is ₹1.14 lakh crore.

Our vegetable farmers are not getting a fair price for their goods. Garlic has been the latest casualty of the price crash in the vegetable market. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan produce 45 per cent of the country’s garlic. Garlic farmers in the states have of late  fetched as low as ₹1 a kg in wholesale prices. Earlier, our farmers had  poor returns on tomato and potato crops. Tomato farmers had to dump their harvest on the fields in Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Our banks hardly function in accordance with their mandate. Our  Reserve Bank of India rules go that 18 per cent of a bank’s Adjusted Net Bank Credit must go to the agricultural sector. Eight per cent of this must go to small and marginal farmers. Our banks hardly honour this. Small and marginal farmers  are getting only 30-40 per cent of loans meant for the sector. Some  farmers, the larger ones and the ones closer to urban areas, are over-represented in terms of access to credit. The onus of providing agricultural credit has been on the public sector banks.

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