Yogendra Yadav, convenor of Swaraj Party, interviewed by Archana Mishra (GovernanceNow.com)
As farmers protests take centre stage across the country, Swaraj Party convenor explains the ecological, economic and existential crisis behind this unrest.
* We have recently seen farmers from Tamil Nadu protesting in the national capital. Then Maharashtra farmers protested, deciding not to send their produce to cities. The agitation has now reached Madhya Pradesh, leading to killings. Why there is sudden farmers’ unrest in the country?
I think we tend to miss the real point behind these episodes of farmers unrest. Unfortunately, every time we tend to pay attention to the specifics of that episode. When farmers from Tamil Nadu come, the media gets excited about the skulls they are carrying or whatever unusual method of protest they adopt. When something happens in Mandsaur, everyone is interested in whether there is Congress hand behind it or not, the police fired or not. We get involved with it as if...
MS Swaminathan, father of Green Revolution, interviewed by Prabodh Krishna (BusinessWorld)
The recent past saw upsurge of farmers in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu over demands of implementing Swaminathan Commission's recommendation and the protests are fast spreading their arms in other states as well
Keeping in mind that more than half of the Indian population depends on agriculture but the share of agriculture in GDP is nowhere near expectation, in 2002 the then National Democratic Alliance Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee called upon MS Swaminathan, an agriculture expert, to file a report for the improvement of farmers' condition in India.
Swaminathan Commission had filed its report in 2006 to then United Progressive Alliance government. Swaminathan is now '92 years old' and is currently on a visit to his daughter in England. In an email interview with BW Businessworld's Prabodh Krishna, we got a chance to know his views on current issues of farmers in India:
* What are your views on the recent...
Deepak Pental, innovator of the transgenic mustard variety, interviewed by Sayantan Bera (Livemint.com)
All our solutions in agriculture, besides management issues, are going to come from science and technology, says Deepak Pental, innovator of GM mustard
Last week, the environment ministry’s regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), cleared the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard, leaving it to the government to take a final call. If approved, it will be India’s first food crop developed using transgenic technology, 15 years after Bt cotton was released to farmers. The technology is safe and versatile, said Deepak Pental, innovator of the transgenic mustard variety and former head of Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants where the research took place. Edited excerpts from an interview:
* Please explain the technology behind GM mustard. How long did it take to develop?
It is known in plant breeding that hybrids yield more (output) than pure lines. We used genetic engineering to produce hybrid seeds at a...
Sam Pitroda, regarded as the father of India's telecom revolution, interviewed by Peerzada Abrar (The Hindu)
Online media companies don’t take responsibility for their content, he says
Sam Pitroda, regarded as the father of India’s telecom revolution, says that he is deeply concerned with the way social media is being misused globally to propagate lies, hatred and false ideas. In an interview, Mr. Pitroda says that in India also, social media has not been used effectively and technology is not meant to be misapplied.
He says that media technology companies such as Facebook and Google don’t take responsibility for the truthfulness of their content and that globally there has to be a movement on social media and ethics. Edited excerpts:
* How do you see technology initiatives like Aadhaar and digital banking shaping up in the country?
We have come a long way in IT and telecom in India. When I started my work in India in telecom, we had about two million telephones, it used to take...
Bezwada Wilson, national president of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, interviewed by Akshay Deshmane (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]...