Editorial analysis: Monsoon keeps farmers on edge, govt’s job push with eye on 2024 polls

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Photo Credit Twitter Indian Meteorological Department

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In the daily editorial analysis, except for Sundays, The Raisina Hills critically reviews the comments of the top five English newspapers of India.

Three of the five dailies in our sample have gone with Edits on the progress of Monsoon while the farmers wait for the rains to sow their Kharif crops.

The Edits in ‘The Hindu’, ‘The Times of India (ToI)’, and ‘The Indian Express (IE)’ have sought to deep analysis of the growing unpredictable nature of Monsoon in the light of eight per cent rainfall deficit during June 1-19 for the country, 22 per cent deficit in southern states, 48 per cent for Central India, and 33 per cent deficit for the north-western parts of the country.

Indeed, the Edits of the three dailies noted that much of the rains take place during July-August while the Kharif crop sowing begins mid-June onwards.

The IE refers to the impact of the climate change, noting rise in temperature in March. ToI mentions that India just has four per cent share in freshwater.

Significantly, India’s agriculture is skewed to the water guzzlers due to excessive focus on three crops – sugarcane, paddy and wheat, accounting for 80 per cent of the irrigation system, flagged ToI, while arguing for crop-diversification. It also made a case that Haryana’s scheme to incentivize crop diversification should be adopted by other states.

But the fact that sugarcane cultivation yields Rs 80,000 per acre is too big an attraction for the farmers to shift to other crops, and the dailies in their Edits, indeed, have failed to criticize the government for being too timid to unveil agrarian reforms away from the Minimum Support Price regime, which is attributable for India’s three crops obsession.

The Economic Times (ET) and Deccan Herald (DH) have sought to look into PM Narendra Modi’s announcement to recruit 10 lakh people in the government. Modi told the state chief secretaries in Dharamshala also to fill up the vacancies in the government departments.

The ET has made a case to not bloat bureaucracy since the government claims to pursue the path of ‘Minimum government, Maximum governance’, while DH claimed that the employment situation in the country has gone from bad to worse, which necessitated the announcement by Modi.

The ET while reminding the 7th Pay Commission’s words for an agile bureaucracy advised the government to step public investment to create jobs, noting government’s salaries and pensions liabilities account for three per cent of the GDP.

The ET, however, fails to mention that the government has already missed the public investment stepping up bus and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is girding up for a series of elections next year which will lead to the 2024 polls.

DH reminded that Modi had promised two crore jobs annually in 2014, adding that jobs have actually been lost.

Karte Parwan Gurudwara in Kabul came under attack two days ago and a Granthi was killed.

This attack came within two weeks of the joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs J P Singh leading an Indian official delegation to Kabul where they met the top echelons of the Taliban administration.

The IE questioned the government’s Afghanistan policy while giving an account of the attacks on Sikhs in the war-torn country at the behest of the Islamic State of the Afghan chapter.

The ToI in its Edit ‘Fly them out’ noted that the government has cleared 100 e-Visas for Sikhs from Afghanistan while faulting the government for ‘selective clearance of Visas’. It commented that India has invested in the country for over two decades and the efforts not be squandered off which will only benefit Pakistan and China. The daily fails to note that the Taliban are a rogue regime while being a puppet in the hands of Pakistan.

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