Utpal Borpujari

June 5, 2009

Entice agri workers to urban conclaves by building factories: Moily

By Utpal Boprujari

In a potentially-controversial diagnosis to treat the problems of the farming community, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has suggested that India needs to build factories that would “entice” a “very large part” of its agricultural workers to urban enclaves.

The idea has been propagated in Moily’s latest book, “Unleashing India : A Roadmap for Agrarian Wealth Creation”, which will be launched in the capital on Friday.

The proposal might raise the heckles of pro-agriculture policy makers, for whom migration from rural to urban areas at the cost of the farming sector has already become a substantial headache.

According to Moily, this is the only way by which India can aspire to become a major global economic player.

“For India to become the major player in the international arena that it aspires to be, it will need to build factories that entice a very large part of its agricultural workers to urban enclaves to produce labour-intensive exports, the time-honoured path of the successful Asian Tigers and China,” he says at the beginning of the book.

Stressing that India has great potential, he says that while Indian democracy is the largest in the world, its economy, despite important reforms since 1991, remains “heavily bureaucratic”.

“Indeed, India’s per capita GDP four decades ago was equal to that of China, but is now half of China’s and still losing ground. It is conceivable that India can undergo as radical a reform as China and become world-prominent,” reads the preface of the book, an advance copy of which has been sent to Deccan Herald by publishers Rupa & Co.

His suggestion to build factories to lure agricultural workers to urban areas comes riding on the comment that “progress is not automatic, however, it will demand future adaptations as yet unimaginable”.

In an analysis that could be seen as a critic of the governments at the Centre, including that of his own party Congress, Moily points out that still 250 million Indians live on less than one dollar a day and half of Indian homes have no electricity.

Non-farm areas produce only one-fourth of their capacity, rice yields are half that of Vietnam and one-third that of China, India’s cotton comparative yields are even worse, and wheat yields, despite benefiting from the Green Revolution of the 1970s, are still three-fourths of China’s, he points out.

Moily says in the book, which is aimed primarily at policy makers and researchers in the sector, that India confronts a crisis of confidence that “started at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will”.

“This erosion of confidence threatens to destroy the social and political fabric of India,” he goes on to say. 

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 05-06-2009)

 

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/6384/luring-farmers-factories-indias-path.html

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