Despite a continuing fall in the growth rate of India's GDP for the last several quarters there are indicators that point to a turn-around of the rural economy. Positive and long-term improvements can be seen in foodgrains production, in horticulture, dairy, poultry and fisheries, access to physical infrastructure such as electricity and roads, per-capita income of poorer states (which have a high percentage of rural population), wages of unskilled labour and growing employment in non-farm occupations due to programmes such as MUDRA. However challenges still remain in some vital sectors, such as water, marketing of fruits and vegetables, skill development, education and health.
Anupam Verma, who works for a multi-national company in Mumbai, was deeply disturbed after reading a report regarding the presence of poisonous chemicals in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that he and his family used to eat everyday. The report was indeed scary. It said the consumption of these produce might cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, neurological defects, autism and respiratory and reproductive problems. Verma did not want to take a chance and decided to use only 'organic produce', which are presented in the report as a healthy alternative.
In 2015-16 Union Budget, the government enhanced credit target for farm sector by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 8.5 lakh crore. This was in line with a common perception that farm credit translates into the growth of the national economy. Statistically this might be unfounded, however it is undeniable that the farm sector that constitutes the core of the economy needs to be in focus of banks and other financial institutions.
A chain, they say, is only as strong as its weakest link. How then are societies and economies grow successfully without safeguarding and strengthening their weakest members?
"No One Killed Agriculture" was the cover story of April-June 2012 edition of INCLUSION. It highlighted the plight of farmers and suggested detailed, practical and workable solutions, at the centre of which was availability of formal bank credit. In fact, INCLUSION has been pitching for enhanced formal bank credit to farm sector for more than a decade.
George Orwell had written his supremely brilliant novel Nineteen Eighty-Four or 1984 to unleash the real face of an imagined state, full with absolute power.He depicted the tyranny through a personified cult 'Big Brother', who as a quasi-divine party leader unwaveringly enjoys 'intense cult of personality'.
Pomposity, self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance are hallmarks of quite a few from the privileged classes who have a Doon School and St Stephen's combination as their educational backgrounds, having been brought up in aBara Sahib environment, they consider themselves a superior caste to those who have toiled their way up, and horror of horrors are in a position to flaunt it.
Thirty-five year old Gomati from Mangatpur in Pilibhit has opened a bank account under Jan Dhan, but she is skeptical about its use. "There is no money in it. I am confused. What will I do with it?" she said tersely when asked about her bank account. Gomati is not alone. Hundreds of women spoke in unison at the five-day financial literacy programme conducted by Skoch Group at Pilibhit, a picturesque Himalayan plateau rich with flora and fauna, but one of the economically backward regions in Uttar Pradesh