Interviews

MP Raju Shetti, Maharashtra's foremost farmer leader and president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf (Newsclick.in)MP Raju Shetti, Maharashtra's foremost farmer leader and president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf (Newsclick.in)

-Newsclick.in “Our population today is around 136 crore. Where will you get food grains for them through zero budget farming? This is sheer madness.” There is an inherent seductive charm to the term zero budget natural farming, for it makes the arduous occupation of agriculture appear beguilingly simple, an economic proposition without any risk or even requirement of capital. Coined by the Vidarbha-based farmer, Subhash Palekar, who was bestowed with the Padma Shri in 2016, zero budget natural farming has acquired the same magical resonance as Skill India did in 2015. The credit for turning zero budget farming into India’s latest mantra for economic uplift goes to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who touted it as a panacea for resolving India’s agrarian distress and doubling the income of farmers in her budget speech on July 5. What is zero budget natural farming? Is it any different from organic farming, or traditional farming practises...

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Dr. Arun Shah, a Muzaffarpur-based paediatrician, interviewed by Banjot Kaur (Down to Earth)Dr. Arun Shah, a Muzaffarpur-based paediatrician, interviewed by Banjot Kaur (Down to Earth)

-Down to Earth Arun Shah, a Muzaffarpur-based paediatrician who has researched on the syndrome, says the fruit is only a triggering factor for malnourished children Litchi is being most commonly blamed for the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Bihar. The mystery fever has already killed more than 100 children in Muzaffarpur district, renowned for its litchi crop. However, experts say it is grossly wrong to blame this fruit Down To Earth spoke to Arun Shah, a Muzaffarpur-based paediatrician, who has been following AES for more than 20 years, and an executive member of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. Q. Litchi has been blamed a lot for AES. As somebody who has been instrumental in the 2016 research conducted by Jacob John, a well-known Vellore-based paediatrician and epidemiologist, into the disease, what would you say? It is totally absurd that the ministers and the bureaucracy are blaming litchi. John’s paper has been grossly misinterpreted. Its...

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Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India, interviewed by Kabir Agarwal and Anuj Srivas (TheWire.in)Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India, interviewed by Kabir Agarwal and Anuj Srivas (TheWire.in)

-TheWire.in "I think the fact that the whole [NSSO] exercise began with a fundamental premise of keeping it comparable, that has been forgotten." The fierce debate over India’s unemployment figures came to a head last week, when a jobs data report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) was finally made public. This report has been a source of contention ever since two members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC)  resigned allegedly because its release was delayed by the Narendra Modi government. In an interview with The Wire’s Kabir Agarwal and Anuj Srivas, India’s former chief statistician Pronab Sen talks on the comparability controversy, the changes in the survey’s methodology and the state of unemployment data. Edited excerpts: * The NSSO’s periodic labour force survey (PLFS) report was finally released recently. Its findings have sparked controversy, over whether unemployment is really at a 45-year high. There have been a host of issues raised, by people...

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Jagdeep S Chhokar, one of the founders and trustees of Association for Democratic Reforms, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf (CaravanMagazine.in)Jagdeep S Chhokar, one of the founders and trustees of Association for Democratic Reforms, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf (CaravanMagazine.in)

-CaravanMagazine.in India is often hailed for its democracy, for empowering its poor and ordinary citizens to participate in the electoral process and play a role in shaping the country. This narrative has increasingly come under strain since the Supreme Court, through its March 2003 judgment in Union of India vs Association for Democratic Reforms, made it mandatory for candidates contesting elections to disclose their wealth, educational qualification, and criminal cases pending against them at the time they file their nominations. The Supreme Court judgment came after the Association for Democratic Reforms, or ADR, a non-governmental organisation working on electoral reforms, moved the Delhi high court in 1999 for an order asking candidates to disclose information that would help voters make an informed choice. The high court ruled in the ADR’s favour. The union government went in appeal to the Supreme Court, which upheld the high court judgment. The candidates’ disclosures, including those...

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MS Swaminathan, father of Green Revolution, interviewed by Jitheesh PM & Jipson John (Newsclick.in)MS Swaminathan, father of Green Revolution, interviewed by Jitheesh PM & Jipson John (Newsclick.in)

-Newsclick.in In an interview, the ‘father’ of India’s Green Revolution, says while technology is necessary, policies on procurement and public distribution are far more important in making agriculture economically viable and sustainable in the country. No one has played a more instrumental role in India’s self-sufficiency in food production than Dr MS Swaminathan — world-renowned agricultural scientist, known as the ‘Father of Green Revolution in India’. After getting a PhD from Cambridge University and further foreign training, he returned to India and served in various capacities as scientist, teacher, institutional builder and administrator. MS Swaminathan chaired the National Commission on Farmers (2004–06) appointed by the Union Government in 2004. The Commission submitted five reports in 2006, outlining comprehensive measures required for the sustainability and viability of agriculture in India. A recipient of numerous awards and honours, Swaminathan also served as a nominated member in the Rajya Sabha from 2007 to 2013. He founded the...

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