Interviews

Bezwada Wilson, national president of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, interviewed by Akshay Deshmane (Frontline.in)Bezwada Wilson, national president of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, interviewed by Akshay Deshmane (Frontline.in)

-Frontline.in Magsaysay Award winning activist and national president of the Safai Karmachari Andolan Bezwada Wilson is a co-petitioner with Major General (Retd) S.G. Vombatkere in a Supreme Court case relating to the Aadhaar project. He raises an important concern about the impact of Aadhaar on people born into oppressed castes, particularly safai karmacharis, or manual scavengers. Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline: * What is your opinion on Aadhaar? There is no necessity for Aadhaar. Common people do not understand why Aadhaar exists. Voters’ card, driving licence, passport, ration card—all of them have their own purposes. What is the purpose of Aadhaar? I am still asking why. Nobody is giving a real answer for this. I do not believe that Aadhaar was brought in to check pilferages in social-sector schemes; after all, this government waived off corporate loans worth Rs.1.14 lakh crore. For the first time, I started suspecting [the intention of]...

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Krishna Byre Gowda, Karnataka Agriculture Minister, interviewed by Vishwanath Kulkarni (The Hindu Business Line)Krishna Byre Gowda, Karnataka Agriculture Minister, interviewed by Vishwanath Kulkarni (The Hindu Business Line)

-The Hindu Business Line Karnataka, the first State to formulate an organic farming policy way back in 2004, has stepped up measures to spread the concept among farmers in recent years. Also, it has been working on rebuilding farmers’ interest in millets through incentives such as guaranteed buy-back and a bonus over the minimum support price. To provide market linkages to the over 1 lakh organic farmers in the State, the Karnataka government is organising a three-day National Trade Fair on Organics and Millets here from April 28. The idea is to showcase the organic production capacity and create awareness on the health benefits of millets among the public, said Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda in an interview with BusinessLine. Excerpts: * Why should the State intervene when organic products already attract a premium? Four years ago we started Savayava Bhagya, a comprehensive organic production oriented programme. We have developed some 566 organic clusters under...

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SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, interviewed by Vrinda Gopinath (Scroll.in)SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, interviewed by Vrinda Gopinath (Scroll.in)

-Scroll.in In this environment of majoritarianism, we must seriously consider proportional representation, adds SY Quraishi. SY Quraishi, who was Chief Election Commissioner from July 2011 to June 2012, is known to be outspoken about several issues regarding electoral reform both when he was in the Election Commission and after he retired. He has asked for public funding of political parties, putting an expenditure cap on them, financial transparency among parties, and to bring political parties under the Right to Information Act to clean up the electoral process. In an interview with Scroll.in, Quraishi brushed off accusations by political parties, mainly the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal that Electronic Voting Machines in the just-concluded state Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab were tampered with. However, Quraishi agreed that for greater transparency regarding Electronic Voting Machines, the Narendra Modi government at the Centre must implement the suggestions made...

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MS Swaminathan, Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, interviewed by Rajalakshmi Nirmal (The Hindu Business Line)MS Swaminathan, Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, interviewed by Rajalakshmi Nirmal (The Hindu Business Line)

-The Hindu Business Line MS Swaminathan talks of the problems plaguing farmers and possible solutions Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, Prof MS Swaminathan, in an interview with BusinessLine, states emphatically that the Centre’s promise of doubling farmer income can become a reality if careful thought is applied and a comprehensive plan is drawn up. The role of the State and the public are crucial here, he stresses. Excerpts: * When the real income of farmers is growing at 4-4.5 per cent, can the government really double it in five years? If you read the report of the National Commission on Farmers, we recommended that agricultural progress should be measured by the net income of the farmer and not just by his total production. How far have farmers benefited from the increase in production? Not much. So, income orientation to farming is necessary. We suggested three measures for this. The first one...

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Ramesh Chand, Niti Aayog member, interviewed by Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das (The Financial Express)Ramesh Chand, Niti Aayog member, interviewed by Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das (The Financial Express)

-The Financial Express While the Central Statistical Organisation has estimated “agriculture and allied services” to grow 4.1% in FY17, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand expects the growth rate to be a handsome 7%. Chand spoke to FE’s Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das on critical factors that need to be addressed to ensure at least 4% annual growth over the next 15 years. * How do you foresee the direction of the agricultural sector especially after the 12th Plan period got over? Under the new dispensation, we have been asked to prepare a vision for all sectors of the economy for next 15 years. In keeping with this, we have set the targets for the agriculture sector, with focus on achieving prosperity for farmers. Our strategy is in tune with the plan to double farmers’ income by 2022. Critical factors include ensuring nutritional security, sustainable use of natural resources, etc. We have worked out...

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