The above two tables highlights the following:
(a) The growth in population at alarming rate. If remedial measures are not timely taken we will again experience food shortage or famine like condition as we experienced at the time of Independence. We may again be forced to import foodgrain in a few years, which may become a constant feature.
(b) Not only increase in population, the reducing area under cultivation, will also cause food shortage and unemployment among the farmers. Already thousands of farmers are moving out of villages to urban areas. Famine like conditions are prevailing at certain places. People are half fed and many are committing suicide in remote villages. The figure of 22 crore people below the poverty line is not more realistic. This needs to be reassessed.
Here again the foreboding of economist Shri Minoo Masami is coming true. We cannot spare any cultivable land for SEZ (Heavy Industrialisation) as area under cultivation is already reduced to 67 per cent today from 80 per cent in 1961. The only way is that the land which is not fit for cultivation in the country should be used for SEZ. IMF or America should not be allowed to write our economic policy supposed to be only in their interest. They are more interested in SEZ economy. The land area in America is four times more than India, but in contrast the population in India is about four times more than America. America can still have lot of land for industrialisation. But our country cannot spare land for big industries, construction of palatial buildings and malls etc for only extremely rich people. Our Government should rationally think over the problem, and remedies planned should be honestly implemented to benefit the farmers and unemployed in villages. Schemes like the NREGS, Nehru Rozgar Yogna, Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna, Indira Awas Yojna have not given the desired result.
On various TV Channels during discussion on Budget 2008, the intellegentia has been emphatic over the need for infrastructure development like roads connecting villages with urban areas, rural electrification, timely irrigation facilities, to save agriculture and thereby villagers in the country. The demand for waiver of rural debt., and continuation of subsidies is also picking up in support of farmers.
(The author, retired senior bureaucrat and can contacted at 89/7, East Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi-26.)