Speeches in Parliament Vol. (IV)-90

I would suggest a few things. Now that I am free from office. I personally think that this is the time for me to think and speak rather more frankly about it. One thing is that while functioning in the State Governments one feels a little nearer to the rural areas; once we come to the Centre, there is absolutely no rural bias here. The problems which are considered are very much detatched from the people in the rural areas. If at all, you have to completely reorient the thinking of the administration itself, without that you would not be able to do anything. If you want to do that let us sit together, if you want our cooperation, I am prepared and we offer our cooperation if you really mean to reorient and reorder the priorities.

What are the problems? Let us go into these problems ourselves? The rural economy or rural life mainly depends on agriculture or some industries connected with it. Most of the rural industries connected with the agriculture have practically vanished. They are languishing and there is no life left in them because new type of agriculture is coming into force, new impulses have been introduced in the rural life itself. There is modernization in the methods of agriculture, we have introduced electricity, and we have introduced education and that is a good thing. We have introduced chemical inputs, electrification, lift irrigation, minor irrigation and all these new things are being introduced. Therefore, the rural life is becoming of a different type. Let us not forget that. We find some of the leaders of the Janata Party talking about some new types of rural reconstruction in the name of Gandhiji. Sometimes one wonders whether in the name of Gandhiji somebody is trying to sell us the feudalism.

The problems of rural areas require massive investments. Are you prepared to do that? If you want to make massive investments, then possibly we will have to reorder the planning processes and planning methods. Are you prepared to do that? Priorities will have to be changed. When Shri Subramaniam was speaking, he gave certain interesting information.

Dr. Subramaniam Swamy : All wrong.

Shri. Y. B. Chavan : Before I give the information, how do you say that these are wrong? Perhaps, this is wrong.

The information that he gave was that a survey was made of the districts of India from the agriculture point of view. He said that nearly 30 per cent of districts have got only the production increase of 5 per cent. 25 per cent districts have got a negative growth rate of production and only 13 districts have got production increase less than 1 per cent. It comes to about 60 per cent of districts which have got the increase in agriculture production less than 5 per cent and 38 per cent of districts which have got less than 1 per cent increase in agricultural production. You wish to do something like a miracle to change this picture of agriculture. How do you do that? We are talking about irrigation. What type of irrigation? Let us not forget harsh realities of some areas. Most of us in this House are people who are coming from the rural areas. Most of us from villages. I come from an area where in some parts it is very difficult to get rain twice a year. How do you do that? Where do you get the irrigation? There are no rivers and unless you try to find out underground water, there is no possibility of irrigation there. You want to give them a new life. How do you do that? Unless you create some new techniques for dry farming, like how to preserve and conserve the moisture of the soil and produce new types of seeds and other things, it is not possible to continue to keep agriculture there. But this will take a long time. I know because I was in touch with this dry farming research work that is being done in India. It will take another decade, or more than two decades, to bring in effective techniques of dry farming.