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'People should fight globalisation'

"Naturally, it is now the dream of many a poor in India to be born as an European cow.", says VP Singh.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 12:35 IST

Former Prime Minister VP Singh has urged the Indian people to resist the politics of globalisation, saying it only brought misery to millions.

"The terms of (global) trade have become adverse today" to the mass of poor in developing countries, Singh told a gathering here late Friday. "Our agrarian crisis is so serious that it has become a national issue."

Singh, who was Prime Minister at the head of India's first coalition government in 1989-90, said New Delhi's decision to embrace the global economy had further widened the gulf between the rich and the poor.

"Today we have brought upon another partition of India," he said. "One India does not know another India. One is the Sensex India and another is agrarian India. One is Shining India, another is dark India,"

Referring to the mass suicides by farmers in some states, Singh said this was because of growing rural indebtedness caused by the switchover from food crops to cash crops and the marriage of the rural economy to the global economy.

"We need to mobilise people (against these policies). Only then will the government listen to people's voices."

Singh's comments came after P Sainath, the award-winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu newspaper, painted a grim picture of rural India in an evocative address on "Mass Media versus Mass Reality".

Reeling off statistics based both on official documents and on his own field research, Sainath blamed faulty government policies for rural indebtedness and the consequent suicides by farmers particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

"We are in the midst of the gravest agrarian crisis since the Green Revolution," he said. "We don't know how many farmers have killed themselves. Today distress migration has left entire villages empty of adults in some parts.

"Thousands upon thousands of rural poor are pouring into cities in search of jobs that do not exist.

"For millions of poor market reforms have meant globalisation of prices and Indianisation of incomes... The agrarian crisis is so bad that it is even leading to college dropouts."

Sainath accused the US and the European Union of continuing to subsidise their own farmers and cattle while forcing developing countries like India to cut subsidies.

"Naturally, it is now the dream of many a poor in India to be born as an European cow."

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 12:14 IST