P Sainath, acclaimed journalist and Founder-Editor of the People's Archive of Rural India, interviewed by Anuradha SenGupta (News18.com)
Acclaimed journalist and Founder-Editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India, P Sainath attributes the existential crisis confronting India’s agrarian society to macro-economic policies set in motion 25 years ago. Talking to Anuradha SenGupta, Sainath makes a case for state intervention in agriculture and says the Modi government, with its shifting positions and policies like demonetisation has only aggravated the assault on agrarian livelihoods.
Dismissing the buzz about imminent new initiatives for farmers as political business as usual, P Sainath outlines why Parliament must convene an urgent special session if we want a comprehensive, long term fix to this distress.
* Anuradha SenGupta: Assess the response the political class has had to this agrarian distress. You've been in Delhi. You've tried to get parliament to hold a joint session consecutively for two three weeks so that this can be discussed with the kind of urgency and importance it deserves. How do...
PS Krishnan, former secretary to government of India, interviewed by Hridayesh Joshi (TheWire.in)
In an interview with The Wire, former secretary to the government of India P.S. Krishnan says economically weaker sections require financial aid, not reservation.
P.S. Krishnan, the former secretary to government of India, was one of the crucial people behind the enactment of several historic laws regarding social justice. The current Bill proposed by the government to provide reservation to economically weaker upper castes in jobs and education, he says, violates the Constitution and may not withstand judicial scrutiny.
Speaking to The Wire, Krishnan said the Constitution did not envisage reservation provided by to SC and ST communities as a poverty alleviation programme. The economically backward upper castes do not need reservation, he says. They need scholarships, education loans, skill development assistance and other welfare schemes.
* How do you react to the government’s decision to give 10% quota in jobs to economically backward upper castes?
There are poor people among upper castes who...
Prof. Abhijit Sen, a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, interviewed by M Rajshekhar (Scroll.in)
The former Planning Commission member explains why the country needs to tread carefully on this idea.
On January 1, when Indian news agency ANI asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the government’s plans to reduce agrarian distress, he said loan waivers do not work as a very small segment of farmers take loans from banks. “A majority of them take loans from money lenders,” said Modi. “When governments make such announcements, those farmers do not become beneficiaries of the waivers.”
Calling loan waivers a political stunt, the prime minister told ANI the government would empower farmers in other ways. In that context, an idea from the South Indian state of Telangana has been getting some attention. The state government gives its farmers Rs 4,000 per acre per year as income support. States like Jharkhand and Odisha have followed suit. The first has announced a Rs 5,000 per acre payment from next year....
SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, interviewed by Anuradha Raman (The Hindu)
The former Chief Election Commissioner on the EVM controversy, why the Supreme Court’s verdict on criminals in politics is a missed opportunity, and electoral bonds
The debate on the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs) refuses to settle, with political parties continuing to voice their concerns about malfunctioning machines. Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi explains how EVMs work, why he is disappointed with the Supreme Court for refusing to bar politicians with serious criminal charges from contesting elections, and expresses concern over the growing number of hate speeches by senior leaders. Excerpts from an interview:
* You were upset that the Supreme Court refused to bar politicians who face serious criminal charges from contesting elections.
For the last 20 years, the Election Commission, besides civil society, has been demanding that people who face criminal cases of a serious nature, which are pending, should be debarred from contesting elections. Even the Law...
Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), interviewed by Payel Majumdar Upreti (The Hindu Business Line)
-The Hindu Business Line
People from different spheres and strata of life joined farmers at the Kisan Mukti March in Delhi last month
From scientists, artists and doctors to lawyers, retired jawans and students, thousands came together to support a march by farmers in Delhi last month. The November 29-30 Kisan Mukti March to Parliament, organised by The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an alliance of over 200 farmers’ organisations, demanded that a special Parliament session be convened to discuss agrarian issues. “We also have a slogan — ‘No to suicides, unite and fight’,” Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the main organisers of the rally, told BLink. Excerpts from an interview:
* What did the Kisan Mukti March achieve?
This march saw an unprecedented historic solidarity among over 200 farmers’ bodies. Different sections of society participated in the march, just like they did in...