Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘The AAP can still be revived’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

AAP’s hard times

The real villain is the media, which is dancing to the BJP’s tunes (“AAP spokesperson Ashutosh writes: Has the party played its innings too fast and too soon?”). It’s not that the AAP doesn’t have its weaknesses, but the powerful regime at Centre has used all its might to crush the movement. I, a retired government servant and a firm supporter of AAP or any movement that fights criminal and corrupt politicians, believe that the current cunning political monster will have to be fought with shrewdness. In a chess-game, even a lowly pawn can checkmate a king. But, it has to wait to catch them off-guard.

The MCD election results should not be taken as defeat. The party should now reinvigorate volunteers. The AAP also needs to improve its media team. Paid TV channels will have to be countered somehow, some journalists and memebers of the intelligentsia will have to be befriended.Thirdly, important leaders and supporters like Kumar Vishwas and Vishal Dadlani who have wide appeal should not be distanced at any cost. I hope the AAP bounces back soon. – DR Dharma

***

The AAP experienced its worst defeat in the MCD election. The foul-mouthed Kejriwal will now disappear from political scene. He had the audacity to contest against Modi, like a rat taking on an elephant. Punjab, ,Goa and now Delhi have taught him a lesson. He is a traitor who used Anna Hazare for his selfish goal. He wanted to become prime minister at the earliest. In this process, he became the laughing stock of the country. – Chandrasekar Kalyanam

***

The AAP antagonised its own basic agenda of good governance by spreading too fast and too soon. It almost abandoned Delhi, which offered it a golden chance to prove its capabilities. Arvind Kejriwal is egocentric. – MM Singh

***

The AAP can be revived still. It is clear that Delhiites were thoroughly disappointed with the party and Arvind Kejriwal. When Kejriwal moved away from Anna Hazare to form a political party, which he promised will be the answer to all the political evils prevailing in the country, people wanted to give him a chance. But soon enough, the AAP starting acting like any other political party,

In addition, it made enemies out of many of the rich and powerful, who were scared that the new experiment will shake the decades-old practices they were accustomed to . Had Kerjriwal been careful enough, he could have maintained the momentum and won the hearts of millions who were fed up of the dirty old political system.

But this is not the end of the AAP or the idea of a corruption-free polity. Such a party can still revive itself if it sticks to the principles of freedom, integrity and universality. The country needs an opposition party that will stand for the idea of India: a multi cultural and multi religious entity commanding the world’s respect for its culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Military and economic power has only secondary importance in such a scenario. – Ravindranathan PV

Identity project

Sure, we have a number of groups who would prefer citizens to be identified only by their ration cards (ask Lalu Yadav and Mamata Banerjee) (“Making Aadhaar mandatory is assault on individuals’ autonomy over their bodies, petitioners tell SC”). But it’s high time the country moved on. The advantages of Aadhar are, inclusion, less corruption and it weill also assist criminal investigation – each is a necessity. – Sujit S Kumar

***

Verification worries

This analysis is mostly hypothetical (“Explainer: Aadhaar is vulnerable to identity theft because of its design and the way it is used”). We don’t bother when our Facebook information is stolen. On the internet, any misuse leaves an indelible footprint. Besides, one can lock UIDAI’s data access and release selectively. If you’re so apprehensive, demand and urge the UIDAI to set up a two-step verification for Aadhaar. – TV Raao

Parched state

There is another little-known aspect of the Tamil Nadu drought (“This map shows just how alarming Tamil Nadu’s water crisis is”). Ground water is being depleted at an alarming rate in the state. Borewells have been sunk to a depth of 400 feet or more in many areas of the delta. They are also fitted with submersible motors for agricultural purposes. Drinking water is becoming scarce due to this, but no one can raise their voice against this indiscriminate exploitation. – Ramanan

***

There has no comment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue. He has ignored Tamil Nadu in many instances. I hope god gives Tamil Nadu the the strength to withstand the crisis and rise again even though the government doesn’t doesn’t support us. – Mohan

Under threat

The CAG, planners, neutral thinkers and liberals should calculate the money spent on deploying central forces in Naxal areas (“Why Bastar’s roads have become deathtraps for the security forces”). Then, think of how the life of Adivasis would have changed had this money been given to them. Adivasis could have undertaken development projects on their own, depending on their needs – it would be like a government grant. This would definitely reduce the blood shed too. Given the corruption in the country, there must be some leakage of funds happening in maintaining the forces. What’s the need to have such a big force to deprive the Adivasis of the lands they have been living in for centuries? The rulers of the state want to give these lands for a penny to the crony capitalists in the name of development.Why? What kind of development the rulers have in their minds? Development of their own selves at the expense of the poor and the rest of the country? Citizens of this country need to wake up and think of where this country is going. – Onkar Singh

***

We always have apologists for any violence, however gruesome, as well as civil rights activists to defend such atrocities. They want to make Chhattisgarh another Kashmir. No heed shall be paid to such elements. – Madhu

Poisoned rivers

The article on cancer cases in Bihar because of its water sheds light on the plight of cancer patients and government neglect (“Cancer has exploded in Bihar as lakhs of people drink water poisoned with arsenic”). Great work by M Rajshekhar.

I request Scroll.in team to also cover the rising incidence of cancer in rural areas across the Hindon river bed.

I think they are on the rise because of the heavy metal contamination of ground water. This contamination has most probably been caused by the release of unprocessed​ industry discharge from western Uttar Pradesh directly into the Hindon river. Saharanpur, Shamli and Bhagpat are among the affected districts. – Abhimanyu

Coming soon

Despite Arnab Goswami’s defence of his channel’s supporters, it cannot be denied that there is a definite bias towards the ruling party (“‘Proud of all my partners’: Arnab Goswami when asked about BJP influence in new venture”). This does not signal a independent and honest channel. His channel will join others that are already controlled or favourable to the present establishment. – SN Iyer

Heritage lost

Thank you for the superb article by Mustansir Dalvi on the Hall of Nations (“The demolished Hall of Nations was a terrific example of a young country’s Make in India spirit”). I visited the complex in 1982, and was very impressed. Alas, it is all too often that we appreciate a site when it is no more. To my mind, discarding heritage, no matter what its age (as all heritage should be considered for its merits, not necessarily its age) leads to an inevitable soullessness, which reflects in all aspects of life. – Brian Paul Bach

Weighing in

The media is out to get maximum mileage and same goes for the doctors in this case (“What the spat over ‘the world’s heaviest woman’ says about doctors, journalists and the PR machinery”). I think the patient and the family knows this. I’m sure they will not have the necessary finances for the adventure and knew that this was the only way that she could be treated. There is no doubt that medically we are second to none.

Somewhere I think the sister has felt neglected and become a loose cannon. – Dr Gautama Ramakanthan

Blood loss

In this piece, Rajat Agarwal of Sankalp India Foundation explains just about 1% loss of donated blood (“Why some stored blood is always discarded and why that should not deter blood donors”). However, Agarwal cannot justify the high 10% incidence of loss of donated blood in the country. He also doesn’t explain why the incidence is particularly high in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, where medical facilities are relatively good. It would be better to encourage donors to donate blood through reputed blood banks like Red Cross and even then, only for immediate transmission. This will avoid the loss of blood or blood components as a result of poor methods and equipment for collection, separation, storage, transport and transfusion of blood. This will also significantly reduce the scam-ridden process of collecting and distributing donated blood. – Chandra Shekhar AK

Losing faith

This is an eye-opener for everyone who reposes their faith in investigation agencies and the government without checking the authenticity of the probe (“Why blame judiciary for granting Pragya Thakur bail when investigative agencies show no spine?”). What can we trust nowadays? Oh, what will happen to my India, my country, my soul, my land, my love? Not just our bodies but our minds are also being hijacked. – Danish Iqbal

Women in science

I loved the article and I’m so proud of each one of the scientists (“Meet the women scientists who make India’s chillies hotter, flowers cheaper and mangoes last longer”). I thank the writer for thinking of and writing such a beautiful article. – Nita Khandekar

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

How sustainable farming practices can secure India's food for the future

India is home to 15% of the world’s undernourished population.

Food security is a pressing problem in India and in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), it is estimated that over 190 million people go hungry every day in the country.

Evidence for India’s food challenge can be found in the fact that the yield per hectare of rice, one of India’s principal crops, is 2177 kgs per hectare, lagging behind countries such as China and Brazil that have yield rates of 4263 kgs/hectare and 3265 kgs/hectare respectively. The cereal yield per hectare in the country is also 2,981 kgs per hectare, lagging far behind countries such as China, Japan and the US.

The slow growth of agricultural production in India can be attributed to an inefficient rural transport system, lack of awareness about the treatment of crops, limited access to modern farming technology and the shrinking agricultural land due to urbanization. Add to that, an irregular monsoon and the fact that 63% of agricultural land is dependent on rainfall further increase the difficulties we face.

Despite these odds, there is huge potential for India to increase its agricultural productivity to meet the food requirements of its growing population.

The good news is that experience in India and other countries shows that the adoption of sustainable farming practices can increase both productivity and reduce ecological harm.

Sustainable agriculture techniques enable higher resource efficiency – they help produce greater agricultural output while using lesser land, water and energy, ensuring profitability for the farmer. These essentially include methods that, among other things, protect and enhance the crops and the soil, improve water absorption and use efficient seed treatments. While Indian farmers have traditionally followed these principles, new technology now makes them more effective.

For example, for soil enhancement, certified biodegradable mulch films are now available. A mulch film is a layer of protective material applied to soil to conserve moisture and fertility. Most mulch films used in agriculture today are made of polyethylene (PE), which has the unwanted overhead of disposal. It is a labour intensive and time-consuming process to remove the PE mulch film after usage. If not done, it affects soil quality and hence, crop yield. An independently certified biodegradable mulch film, on the other hand, is directly absorbed by the microorganisms in the soil. It conserves the soil properties, eliminates soil contamination, and saves the labor cost that comes with PE mulch films.

The other perpetual challenge for India’s farms is the availability of water. Many food crops like rice and sugarcane have a high-water requirement. In a country like India, where majority of the agricultural land is rain-fed, low rainfall years can wreak havoc for crops and cause a slew of other problems - a surge in crop prices and a reduction in access to essential food items. Again, Indian farmers have long experience in water conservation that can now be enhanced through technology.

Seeds can now be treated with enhancements that help them improve their root systems. This leads to more efficient water absorption.

In addition to soil and water management, the third big factor, better seed treatment, can also significantly improve crop health and boost productivity. These solutions include application of fungicides and insecticides that protect the seed from unwanted fungi and parasites that can damage crops or hinder growth, and increase productivity.

While sustainable agriculture through soil, water and seed management can increase crop yields, an efficient warehousing and distribution system is also necessary to ensure that the output reaches the consumers. According to a study by CIPHET, Indian government’s harvest-research body, up to 67 million tons of food get wasted every year — a quantity equivalent to that consumed by the entire state of Bihar in a year. Perishables, such as fruits and vegetables, end up rotting in store houses or during transportation due to pests, erratic weather and the lack of modern storage facilities. In fact, simply bringing down food wastage and increasing the efficiency in distribution alone can significantly help improve food security. Innovations such as special tarpaulins, that keep perishables cool during transit, and more efficient insulation solutions can reduce rotting and reduce energy usage in cold storage.

Thus, all three aspects — production, storage, and distribution — need to be optimized if India is to feed its ever-growing population.

One company working to drive increased sustainability down the entire agriculture value chain is BASF. For example, the company offers cutting edge seed treatments that protect crops from disease and provide plant health benefits such as enhanced vitality and better tolerance for stress and cold. In addition, BASF has developed a biodegradable mulch film from its ecovio® bioplastic that is certified compostable – meaning farmers can reap the benefits of better soil without risk of contamination or increased labor costs. These and more of the company’s innovations are helping farmers in India achieve higher and more sustainable yields.

Of course, products are only one part of the solution. The company also recognizes the importance of training farmers in sustainable farming practices and in the safe use of its products. To this end, BASF engaged in a widespread farmer outreach program called Samruddhi from 2007 to 2014. Their ‘Suraksha Hamesha’ (safety always) program reached over 23,000 farmers and 4,000 spray men across India in 2016 alone. In addition to training, the company also offers a ‘Sanrakshan® Kit’ to farmers that includes personal protection tools and equipment. All these efforts serve to spread awareness about the sustainable and responsible use of crop protection products – ensuring that farmers stay safe while producing good quality food.

Interested in learning more about BASF’s work in sustainable agriculture? See here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.