As the situation stands today, 60% to 70% of India may experience below normal monsoon. The government agencies, for the time being, need to prepare themselves to come to the rescue of farmers, should the monsoon fail
According to the Indian Meterological Department (IMD), the Monsoon did arrive almost on time, with Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the South and some parts of North East India experiencing rainfall of varying intensities. However, due to the risk of El Nino weather conditions, meaning scanty rainfall, agriculturists are depressed. But in some places, in Karnataka, for instance, some monsoon rains have already caused damage to standing sugar cane.
As the situation stands today, 60% to 70% of India may experience below normal Monsoons. Only the weather Gods can change the situation as it develops.
It may be remembered that two-thirds of Indian population live in rural areas and below target production of food grains, due to inadequate rains, is likely to upset the national plan to provide food security to 67% of the population. As it is, the Food Security Act guarantees the supply
of 5kgs of cereals per person, per month, at a cost which is well below the actual cost of cultivation. The cost of procurement, transportation, storing, and distribution alone is estimated to cost over Rs20 for a kg of rice or wheat. As against this, under the FSA these will be made available at
Rs3/2 per kg, respectively.
After all, why should the farmer toil the whole day in bad climatic conditions and produce the food grains, supply to procurement agency and then buy it back from the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a throw-away-price? If they can get it so cheap, why should he till the land? Let the "other guy" do the job!
FSA is not a practical solution to India's problems of food supply. In fact, in the long run, it would make every farmer lazy. Besides, the tragedy is that majority of the farmers are classified as "subsistence farmers" because they produce only enough to meet their own needs. They have no incentives to produce more, and being uneducated, they do not realise that such an attitude by one and all would lead to a catastrophic situation. This may affect India adversely and food imports may become a necessary evil. We must remember that anything given "free" loses its charm and importance!
Radha Mohan Singh, as Minister for Agriculture, has a very important role to play and take stock of the situation relating to procurement of essential food grains by the Food Corporation of India and other authorized Government/State Agencies.
In the case of a number of food grains, like wheat, rice, maize, and other agricultural products, India has already made a name and established overseas markets. There are also delays in marketing activities for exports.
It may be a good idea to get to the root of the problem by revisiting how the Food Corporation of India functions. As it stands now, paddy procured at MSP is passed on to millers, who store it, and then make available "rice" when needed by FCI, according to a well known grain expert Tejinder Narang. In one sense, the Government, knowingly or unknowingly, finances the entire operation! This brings into question the entire supply and procurement chain for 'milled rice'.
It has been reported in the press, that in some parts of Karnataka, farmers have piles of paddy, covered with plastic sheets as millers and others were not "buying" them. The farmer spends around Rs25,000 per acre, and with adequate rains (or water supply by other means) is able to produce 3,000kgs of paddy, the price of which has fallen from Rs1,300 in January to Rs900 in May. In case of leased land, the farmer is forced to give away 20 bags to the landowner. A well to do farmer can rent a storage accommodation at Rs2 per bag per month and then sell when the market is in his favour. Such difficulties can be overcome if both, government storage and milling facilities, are made available at centres of production. Radha Mohan Singh may investigate this matter further.
FCI and other godowns are in shambles and do not have proper facilities to store the food grains, most of which is stored outside under tarpaulin, plastic sheets and so on. Lot of damage occurs as a result, and we appear to be feeding trillions of rodents from these godowns.
Agricultural Minister Singh would probably consider a committee that would coordinate with the ministry for irrigation, fertiliser supply, railways and corporate bodies, so that a national policy for procurement and conservation of food grains in an acceptable manner is established. He may go further in asking State governments to make available land for building warehousing facilities, attached to which may be milling factories, so that paddy procured is immediately converted into rice. Better still, would be for the state government of paddy producing states to set up milling centres where this processing is done routinely, instead of the current procedure; in which, as Tejinder Narang rightly points out, government finances the whole process and the intermediaries make the buck!
The buck must stop here. And government agencies for the time being, should prepare themselves to come to the rescue of farmers, should the monsoon fail and we have El Nino effect in some parts of the country.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Gujarat Forensic Science University signed an agreement with Hyderabad-based eSF Labs, to conduct research programmes in cyber security
Gujarat Forensic Science University (GFSU), a university established by the Government of Gujarat said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyderabad-based eSF Labs for joint research and academics in cyber security and digital forensics.
Dr JM Vyas, director general of GFSU and FSL Gujarat said, “The mutual exchange of ideas between university and private sector will lead to develop a force of highly specialized professionals in the field of cyber security who can serve our nation in the area of cyber defense."
Considering the dearth of cyber security expertise to protect national critical infrastructure and classified information from future cyber attacks, GFSU has launched an M Tech course in Cyber Security & Incident Response. To impart a professional edge to the academics, GFSU has signed a MoU with eSF LABS, which has high tech cyber defense technology knowledge to combat cyber crime.
On 25 August 2009, Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat inaugurated GFSU, a super speciality university dealing in digital forensics and cyber security education. GFSU is India’s first and only exclusive forensics sciences university offering a wide range of courses in forensics which are at par with international standards.
“For the first year of operation, we are starting the M Tech in Cyber Security & Incident Response course with a limited 50 seats to give emphasis on quality and will encourage working professionals from corporate and government sector to join this course. 20th June will be the last date to accept application forms. In the next phase,we will focus on PhD programs leading to core research in the areas of cyber security, digital forensics, incident response and information assurance,” said Dr MS Dahiya, director, IFS, GFSU.
SEBI bars JSR Dairies from running collective investment schemes-CIS. SEBI found that the company was accepting deposits by floating various schemes under the pretext of selling dairy products
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred JSR Dairies Ltd and its directors from collecting money from investors, including its existing collective investment schemes (CIS), launching any new schemes, and diverting collected funds. SEBI found that the company was accepting public deposits under its various schemes without statutory approval of SEBI.
SEBI in its investigation found that JSR Dairies is engaged in fund mobilising activity from the public, by floating or sponsoring or launching 'collective investment scheme' without obtaining a certificate of registration from SEBI.
The SEBI investigation revealed that JSR Dairies collected money from investors for purchase and allotment of calf/ghee under various subscription plans, either in installments or lump–sum payment (referred to as "JSR Scheme") one of each of the aforementioned monthly installments and lump-sum 'Payment Plans'.
Hence, as per SEBI Act and 11(1), 11B and 11(4) of the SEBI Act and CIS Regulations, the market regulator passed an order directing the company and its directors Rajesh Khera, Rajesh Niranjan, Lalit Kumar Arora, and Praveen Kumar not to collect any money from investors including under the existing schemes. It also asked them not to launch any new schemes, dispose of any of their properties or alienate any of the assets of the schemes, divert any funds raised from public, and give full inventory of the assets owned by the company.