Greater coordination needed in policies of different govt departments
This is quite surprising that instead of synchronization, different ministries are working at loggerheads, looking at one another not as compatriots but as competitors. They are always on the look out for usurping power, resources and influence. This article feels the greater thrusts on coordinated efforts are the need of the hour in the areas of food, energy, water and environment.
A high level meeting was held last month In Yekaterinburg of Russia. This meeting was attended by renowned world known personalities such as the Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh and the former prime minister of France Dominique de Villepin. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime minister did also held discussions on numerous different issues, several of which were related also to India. The spates of floods coming in the different parts of the country, the disputes among different states for distribution of river water, and quarrels among the neighboring countries, food security, the chaotic state of affairs of electricity and pollution of soil, water and environment dominated the discussions the most. One of the conclusions of the Yekaterinburg conference was also that we possibly could not find long term solutions to country's water, food, energy and environment problems unless we establish coordination among the policies in the different areas of need.
Why India's growth is not encouraging
Once, Indira Gandhi was asked a question why was it, that despite 25 years of country's independence, growth is so discouragingly slow? Indira Gandi in its reply had quipped that its basic reason was the fall of the adverse effect of growth in one area affecting the growth of another area. The vision of Indira Gandhi was by far ahead than her times. Four decades have almost elapsed by since this reply to the burning question was aptly given then by Indira Gandhi. India has been a victim of directionless leadership.This debate is catching up fast in India that we should club together the policies of different fields. This is not something so simple to do, as the nature of government departments in our country is to be limited only to the specific concerned area. Instead of coordination, ministries frown upon other ministries treating them as if they are opponents. These departments are always busy to appropriate power, resources and influence. If a glance is thrown over the areas of agriculture, water resources, energy and environment, it is found out that they are closely interlinked to each other. Development of any area will deeply influence the development of other fields also. Such kind of interrelationship can only be ignored at our own peril. As for that also, India is an excellent museum of contradiction of poverty. Food grains cannot be produced without water. 89 % of water in India is consumed in agriculture. 5 % is consumed in domestic uses while 6 % in industrial areas. If we wish to ensure the availability of water in India, the thing that specially to be taken care of would be to how do we produce food grains and how do we consume it. If changes are not brought in the manner and manners, we shall no more be in a position to provide food and water to about 1.6 billion people by 2050.
Food and water warrant coordinated efforts
The demand for food and water should be met with in a coordinated manner. Hence, as far as the food items are concerned, we are unable to supply nearly half of vegetables and fruits to the consumers. About 1/3rd of food grains go waste during harvesting, after harvesting and in the storage process from one place to other in warehouses. There is no standard chain of supply system available with us to supply food materials from farmers to consumers. If we cut by half the criminal destruction of crop, water supply would automatically reduce by 1/3rd in the agriculture sector. Similar type of improvements is necessary in water management also for finding out the solutions to water crisis also. Shortage of water would not be felt even when we would be supplying water to the ever increasing population.
Water shortage cannot be faced if we attain success in increasing crop production. As for instance, the production of paddy crop per hectare in India is half the production of China, Vietnam and Indonesia. If the crop production in India were increased to the equivalents of China, arrangements for water and land would become easier to make.
Coordination needed in water and energy sector
Let us throw a glance towards water and energy sectors. As of present, we do not know how much the energy sector requires water. Water in enormous quantities is required in producing electricity on a huge scale. Water demand is massive in nuclear energy projects, compared to the thermal projects. Similarly, in production of oil, nearly 10-14 barrels water is needed in producing one barrel of oil. Energy consumption of India is increasing, hence, need for water too is rapidly growing on a gigantic scale. Requirements of excessive water in the field of energy would certainly augment the consumption of water in India. Like food production, we will have to arrest the waste in the energy areas too. Loss to the tune of 20-40% in the Energy distribution under the control of government could accrue as of present. Its chief reasons are the sub standard grid equipments, loose managerial mismanagement, and energy theft. Entire fields connected with developments such as water, fertilizer and energy exert influence on environment. This is unfortunate that water, agriculture and energy departments of government look down upon the environment ministry as their opponent and work at cross purposes against each other. As for example, the planning commission in the 12th plan had set the goal of production of hundred gigawatt of energy, whereas the environment ministry thinks the set goal is not possible to achieve due to the environmental factors.
Factors responsible for the sad plights of different sectors
The present sorry plight of all these four fields are-
This is an important question as to how the coordination is to be achieved in all the institutions attached with these four sectors. Different ministries at the central levels work on different projects and interests. This is sad, no one looks in the manner that could drive in the importance of coordination in policy implantations between the politicians and the bureaucracy ensuring such a policy is formulated and executed, that could ensure a long term welfare of nation. Aspirations and hopes of Indian could be fulfilled with the coordination of the policies alone.