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Reform need not be a dirty word
Rashtriya Lok Dal MP welcomes partial decontrol and calls for further reform in the interest of all stakeholders
The verb ‘reform’ is defined in the Oxford dictionary as to “make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it”. An improvement should in theory be acceptable to a large majority of the constituents affected by the change.
However, in the Indian context, reforms, especially those related to markets and economic institutions, have often elicited mixed reactions. We can take some respite in that we are not the only ones seemingly immobilised by this suspicion of change; as we watch, Europe is acrimoniously debating the issue of austerity versus public spending.
In my view, the Indian experience of economic liberalisation has been largely positive; however, opening up our markets and issues like foreign direct investment (FDI) are still subject to criticism from various constituents of the political spectrum. During the parliamentary debate on FDI in retail in December 2012, the example of the sugar industry was used by some opposition leaders to highlight how the industry-farmer supply chain arrangement ends up hurting the poor farmer.]]>
Politics of Hope
As I sat down to pen my thoughts on the issue of farmers’ power, I had a sudden realization of the enormity of the task at hand.
Can the social and political status of agriculturalists in our massive and diverse nation be summarized in few hundred words? In order to be succinct I shall refrain from sermonizing along the lines of the usual refrain, i.e. we are a krishi pradhan country and the India Vs Bharat theory! Both these concepts are well accepted by policy makers and the general public and have been part of the political vocabulary for decades. I would instead like to dwell on the issue of representation. Whether the political and administrative system has been sensitive to the frustrations and struggles of the masses residing in the villages of India.]]>
For my own voice in Parl
On August 27, the nation bore witness as parliament grappled with an issue that has found resonance in the hearts and minds of everyone. For many who claim that televising proceedings of parliament has increased.
The shrillness and histrionics in parliamentary debates, this debate showed otherwise. Make no mistake, everyone was watching. I spoke on the issue and have received emails from all over India and also as far as Singapore. Villagers from my constituency came up and told me that they saw my intervention. The pressure of the people watching, for a change, had a positive impact, and there were no major disruptions.]]>