Tapping Heritage Economy

Tapping Heritage Economy

(Published in the Business Line on 13.09.2012)

Such wanders can never be created by human hands again. Thirty
magnificent caves of 70 feet height are chiseled out of single granite
rock from the surrounding 76 m height hills between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD leave the modern scientists clueless.

Western researchers found the effort is beyond human capacity and linked the
achievement to extra terrestrial as they point out figures of half
human half animal shapes on the walls of Ajanta as the evidence. The
caves were not known to outside world until John Smith, a British Army
officer discovered the caves while hunting in the wild. 

Resembling a horse shoe, the caves are juxtaposed in such a manner that the
sunlight directly falls on Budha’s face in the Stupas at cave No 19
and 26.  Traces of steps from each cave descending to the Waghora
stream below are visible.  The stream was once fed with the water
falls from the surrounding hills. 

The natural environment formed the backdrop for the Budhist monks to pursue both art and
spiritualism. When the highest form of spiritual pursuit is abandoned,
the art still survives to inspire a wide range of business activities.
Artists, sculptors, jewelry makers, models and fashion designers
closely study the paintings on the walls and roofs and recreate them
on different surfaces.

Modern jewelry makers find a treasure trove of
jewelry designs in the caves. The ornaments worn by Padamapani and
Vajrapani in cave No.1 are example of superb craftsmanship. Kings,
queens, courtiers, warriors, dancers and common man wear different
types of jewelry and attires as per their status. 

Ajanta motifs delicately woven with gold and silver wires on Paithani sarees and
Himroo shawls of Aurangabad or inlaid on wood and metal surfaces are
the most sought after objects in global craft bazaars. The geometric
shapes, floral patterns, different haircuts, dresses and even the
sitting postures of ladies are closely imitated by models and

Errand tourists flash on camera inside the caves in spite of
repeated warnings. Priceless paintings defaced by tourists and kept in
glass cover are proof of our tourists’ negative mindset. Ajanta caves
though widen business scope for travel and hospitality sector, the
economy of scale is overlooked in Aurangabad city.  Clean economy
class hotels, restaurants serving hygienic food and improvement in
services could redouble the tourism scope here.


Development Banking is more than a mantra

 Development Banking is more than a mantra 

(Published in the Indian Express on 07.03.2007)

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his budget speech of 2007 focused more on agriculture and infrastructure. In fact, agriculture and allied activities in rural areas can only yield results with quality infrastructure. When core infrastructure are built in rural areas, private investment for other infrastructure development comes in naturally. For example, a good road network makes marketing rural produce easier. The government has launched the Bharat Nirman programme to build core infrastructure for rural areas. The government's nod to the Vaidyanathan Committee's recommendation to revitalise cooperative banks with an allocation of Rs 13,596 crore is aptly timed as the process of co-operatising the farmers needs to be hastened amid a manipulative market economy.

The Indian banking fraternity, with more than 60,000 credit outlets in rural areas, can nurture a healthy credit cycle, which will help millions of farmers reap the benefits of globalisation. For a healthy credit cycle, banks have to adopt development banking practices. An independent commission set up by the All India Bank Officers Confederation has proposed the revival of development banking. It is here that a farmer club is useful. A farmer club consists of enterprising farmers formed with the help of a bank. It can help create a healthy credit cycle to free villages from the clutches of moneylenders. The branch manager has to identify a resourceful chief volunteer. With their help, the branch manager has to groom a group of 15 to 20 members. The club members are trained to apply for loans. They identify good borrowers and help banks in their recovery drives. Farmer clubs form a bridge between the bank, the villagers and government extension departments. They educate villagers about the healthy credit cycle and how it helps them to take up various enterprises with the help of credit.

If farmer clubs are active, subsidies reach the deserving groups, which in turn makes the best use of local energies. Developed nations with advanced farm technology, biotech seeds and a capacity to dole out high subsidies to their farmers often make a mockery of globalisation. Bankers and villagers cannot take up global issues. But conscious villagers can work to organise themselves in small units with the single purpose of building integrated villages. Today nearly 18,000 farmer clubs are operating in 41,000 villages across India. All banks must now internalise the farmer club concept into their operations.

Captivating Himroo Craft

Captivating Himroo Craft 

(Published in the Business Line on 24.02.2012)

Their tired eyes, fragile body, and worn-out clothes hardly deter them from weaving magic on clothes. Their nimble fingers gently toss the katla (thread shuttle) left to right, and their legs move the paddle of the traditional wooden loom downward to weave the himroo motifs on silk base. The captivating motifs begin to appear on the surface of brilliant blue, black, orange, yellow and ochre.

A senior himroo artist with his traditional skill and imagination can instil life onto a cloth surface. Trees, flowers, creepers, flower vases, geometric shapes, animals, birds, motifs from temples and mosques, and paintings from the walls of Ajanta caves are recreated with unbelievable accuracy. Genuine himroo artisans in the historic Aurangabad city struggle to continue the himroo tradition. It is believed himroo craft has an ancient origin, dating to 12th century AD.


Traditionally, himroo cloth was given as a gift in different social and cultural functions. In the olden days, kings and nobles of Aurangabad patronised himroo artisans, who used to make turbans, sherwanis and royal dresses. Fine threads of gold and silver on pure silk base gave the impression that the royal dress was completely made of gold. Those days, himroo artisans had a special status in society.The wheel has come full circle for them. Today, genuine himroo craft is fast disappearing from the market. High cost of silk and silver, mass production of artificial himroo craft in powerlooms, superfluous approach to promote himroo tradition, want of marketing access for genuine himroo artisans, and poverty among artisans have affected himroo's prospects. Genuine himroo craft is still in demand in domestic and international craft bazaars. “Between 2006 and 2010, I had exported himroo bed covers to Japan,” says Imran Ahmed Qureshi, a himroo craft trader. “Recession and natural calamity in Japan had stopped export.”


Craft traders from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore collect exclusive himroo craft from Aurangabad for export to European countries. Mass production of artificial himroo items, besides affecting the sale of handcrafted himroo items, make senior artisans lose interest. Traders cash in on himroo's reputation and consumers' ignorance. During the years, many dozens of exotic himroo designs, namely bellbooti and uma farinda etc, have shed much of their grace and artistry.

“Learning himroo craft requires patience to sit for long hours, and zeal to master exotic techniques,” said senior artisan Vijay Khoje. An artisan, after one year of experience, is not assured of a steady income. . Shyam Mishra, who sells himroo craft, says, “The new generation of rich middle class people are unable to appreciate art items.” Public representatives, social workers, NGOs, promoting agencies, craft lovers and artisans must have the will to save the himroo craft tradition. 

Vibrant Meghalaya

Vibrant Meghalaya 
(Published in the Business Line on 23.12.2008)

Dense forest, hills, gushing rivers, lakes, magnificent caves and
enchanting valleys unfold its captivating visuals when one ventures
into this kingdom of cloud- the Meghalaya. Vibrant tribal dancers
dance to the beats of drums in colorful harvest festivals celebrated
in Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills.  Unmindful of the collapse of the
much hyped global economy under the weight of aggressive consumerism,
the tribal do not want to let their feet rest and their drums go
silent in the harvest season which spans from November to December.
Here the life and livelihood is well defined in the beaming happiness
of the tribal which coheres around the natural sector economy.

The scope of agriculture in the state is very high as farmers here
grow major crops like paddy, wheat, maize, pulses and a wide range of
fruit crops namely citrus, orange, banana, arecanut, cashewnut,
jackfruit, guava, pears and coconut etc. Vegetables like potato,
tomato, French beans, pumpkins, button mushroom and lady's fingers
grow in abundance.  Meghalaya is famous for its finest quality tea,
ginger and medicinal herbs. The world famous Shangpung variety of
turmeric and the sweetest variety of pineapple grow in this climate.
The greatest strength of Meghalaya is its people's incredible skill to
make magnificent utility cum decorative pieces from wood, cane, bamboo
and clay which are popular in domestic and global craft bazaars. They
collect hundreds of minor forest products from the forest and make
exotic houses with bamboo roof which withstand heavy rain. The tribal
women weave export quality carpets. Though the sale and popularity of
Meghalaya handicrafts has increased, the delicate artistry has waned.
The tribal artifacts meticulously preserved in Ramakrishna Mission's
museum in Cherrapunji speak volumes of the tribals' creativity. The
Mission has made a long and enduring effort to preserve the rich craft
tradition of Meghalaya.

Picturesque hills, magnificent waterfalls, valleys and dense forest
create unbound tourism potential for the state. Thousands of cavers
from all over the world flock to experience the thrill of caving.
There are more than 1000 caves of different length and dimension. 
The longest one is Krem Liat Prah of 22.2 Km long located in Jaintia Hills.
Families with no experience of caving can approach enchanting caves like
Mawsmai. One will come across amazing shapes of animals and birds in
stalagmites and stalactites rocks. A spark of light lets the caves
radiate wonderful colors of crystals from its walls. A massive
Shivlinga known as Hatakeswarat in Mawsynram village in Jaintia hill
attracts lakhs of tribal devotees during Shivratri.  When tribes
worship nature in remote parts for its harmony, the urban youth in
Shillong have shed their love for fauna. Here a crow is happily
devoured. Even a tiny sparrow does not escape from the catapult
shooters. There is an urgent need to establish a shooting and archery
school here to channel the locals' shooting skill to win medals in
Olympic games. Being a vibrant natural sector with skill and talents
aplenty, Meghalaya can be a model of sustainable economic development
without losing much of its happiness.

 ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାରେ ଫମ୍ପା ବିକାଶ

(Published in the Odia daily Dinalipi on 03.08.2022)
ଦୀର୍ଘ ବାର ବର୍ଷ ହେଲା ଏକ ଫମ୍ପା ବିକାଶ ପଛରେ ଗୋଡ଼ାଇ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଆଜି ଋଣ ଯନ୍ତାରେ ପଡିଛି  I  ୨୦୨୨ ରେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ସରକାରଙ୍କ ଉପରେ ଋଣ ଭାର $ ୫୧ ବିଲିଅନ ରେ ପହଂଚିଛି  I  ଏହି ଋଣ ଉପରେ ସୁଧକୁ ମଧ୍ୟ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଶୁଝିବା ଅତ୍ୟନ୍ତ କଷ୍ଟକର  I    ତିନି ଦଶନ୍ଧି ଧରି ଚାଲିଥିବା ଏଲଟିଟିଇ  ସନ୍ତ୍ରାସବାଦ ଯୋଗୁଁ  ଧଂସ୍ୱ ହୋଇଯାଇଥିବା ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ଆର୍ଥିକ ଗତିବିଧିକୁ ଏକ ସୁପରିକଳ୍ପିତ ଦେଶ ଉପଯୋଗୀ ଅର୍ଥନୀତିରେ ପରିଣତ କରିବା ପରିବର୍ତେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନେ ଚୀନ ଓ ଅନ୍ୟକେତୋଟି ବିଦେଶୀ ଶକ୍ତିଙ୍କ  ହାତରେ ଦେଶର ଭାଗ୍ୟକୁ ଟେକି ଦେଇଥିଲେ  I  ପର ବୁଦ୍ଧିରେ ପଡି ବିଦେଶୀ ଋଣ ଓ ପୁଞ୍ଜିରେ ବ୍ୟୟ ବହୁଳ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଗୁଡିକ ବନାଇ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଆଜି ଦେବାଳିଆ ଦେଶରେ ପରିଣତ ହୋଇଯାଇଛି  I

ଚୀନ ଏଲଟିଟିକୁ ସମୂଳେ ନିପାତ କରିବା ପାଇଁ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାକୁ ସାମରିକ ସହାୟତା ଦେଇଥିଲା I  ଫଳରେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନେ ଆଗ ପଛ ନିଵିଚାରକରି ଚୀନର ଭିତ୍ତିଭୂମି ବିକାଶ ଉପରେ ଆଧାରିତ ଏକ ବିକାଶ ମଡେଲକୁ ଆଖିବୁଜି ଆବୋରି ନେଇଥିଲା    I   ମାନବ ବିକାଶ ନକରି କେବଳ ରୋଡ଼, ଫ୍ଲାଇ ଓଭାର, ପୋର୍ଟ,  ମେଟ୍ରୋ ରେଳ, ବନ୍ଦର, ସୁଡ଼ଙ୍ଗ ଓ ମଲ ଇତ୍ୟାଦି ବନାଇଲେ  ଦେଶର ବିକାଶ ହୁଏନାହିଁ  I   ଭିତ୍ତିଭୂମି ବିକାଶ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଗୁଡିକ ପ୍ରଥମେ ଦେଶ ଉପଯୋଗୀ ହେବା ଦରକାର ଓ ଏହା ସାମୁହିକ ବିକାଶରେ ସହାୟକ ହେବା ଉଚିତ  I    ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଦେଶପାଇଁ ଉପଯୋଗୀ ନଥିବା  ଭିତ୍ତିଭୂମି ବିକାଶ କରିବାରେ ବାହାର ଦେଶ ବିଶେଷକରି ଚୀନଠାରୁ ଅତ୍ୟଧିକ ଋଣକରି ଦେଶକୁ ଋଣ ଯନ୍ତାକୁ ଠେଲି ଦେଇଥିଲା   I  ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନେ  ବିଦେଶୀ କଂଟ୍ରାକଟର ମାନଙ୍କ ହାତରେ  ଦେଶକୁ ଟେକି ଦେଇ ନିଜେ ବିଳାସ ବ୍ୟସନରେ ଜୀବନ ଅତିବାହିତ କରିବାକୁ ଲାଗିଲେ I  ପ୍ରଧାନ ମନ୍ତ୍ରୀ  ମହିନ୍ଦ ରାଜପକ୍ଷଙ୍କ ଭାଇ ବାସିଲ ରାଜପକ୍ଷଙ୍କୁ ଶ୍ରୀ ଦଶ ପରସେଣ୍ଟ  କୁହାଯାଉଥିଲା କାରଣ ସେ ପରଦା ପଛରେ ରହି ସରକାରୀ କଂଟ୍ରାକଟରୁ ୧୦ ପେରସେଣ୍ଟ ମୁନାଫା ନେଉଥିଲେ   I  ଏହି ଅର୍ଥ ରାଜପକ୍ଷ  ପରିବାରକୁ  ସତ୍ତାରେ ରହିବାରେ ମଧ୍ୟ ସାହାଯ୍ୟ କରୁଥିଲା   I  ଆଜି ଏହି ଲୋଭବିକାରଗ୍ରସ୍ତ ଓ ସତ୍ତାପାଗଳ ନେତାମାନେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ଆର୍ଥିକ ସ୍ଥିତିକୁ ସମ୍ପୂର୍ଣ ନଷ୍ଟ କରି ଦେଇଛନ୍ତି  I  ଉତ୍କଟ ମୁଦ୍ରା ସ୍ପିତି, ଫସଲ ବିଭିଧତାର ବିଲୋପିକାରଣ,  ବେରୋଜଗାର, ଦରଦାମ ବୃଦ୍ଧି , ଭ୍ରଷ୍ଟାଚାର ଓ ଅରାଜକତା ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାକୁ ୧୦୦ ବର୍ଷ ପଛକୁ ଠେଲି ଦେଇଛି   I

ବିଦେଶୀ ପୁଞ୍ଜି କିମ୍ବା ଋଣର ଉପଯୁକ୍ତ ବିନିଯୋଗ ନହେଲେ ଏହା ଦେଶ, ଜାତି, ଧର୍ମ ଓ ସଂସ୍କୃତିର ବିଲୋପ ସାଧନ କରିଥାଏ I  ଶକ୍ତିଶାଳୀ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ରମାନେ  ଛୋଟ ଛୋଟ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ରମାନଙ୍କୁ  ନିଜ ଅକ୍ତିଆରରେ ଆଣିବା ପାଇଁ  ଋଣକୁ ଅସ୍ତ୍ର ଭାବରେ ବ୍ୟବହାର କରନ୍ତି   I   ଉଦେଶ୍ୟ ହେଲା ଛୋଟ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର ମାନଙ୍କର ପ୍ରକୃତିକ ଓ ମାନବ ସମ୍ପଦ ଉପରେ କବ୍ଜା କରିବା ଓ ଏହାର ଭୌଗଳିକ ଅବସ୍ଥିତିକୁ ନିଜର ସାମରିକ ସୁବିଧା ପାଇଁ ବ୍ୟବହାର କରିବା   I   ବଡ଼ ବଡ଼ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର ମାନେ ଛୋଟ ଛୋଟ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର ଗୁଡିକର ଅର୍ଥନୀତିକୁ ନିୟନ୍ତ୍ରଣରେ ରଖି  ନିଜର ବେପାର ବଢ଼ିବାରେ ନିୟୋଜିତ କରିଥାନ୍ତି I   ବିକାଶଶିଳ ରଷ୍ଟ୍ରର ନେତାମାନେ ଶକ୍ତିଶାଳୀ ଦେଶଗୁଡିକର ଚାପରେ, ସ୍ବଦେଶୀ ଚିନ୍ତାଧାରା ଓ ଦେଶପ୍ରେମର  ଅଭାବରୁ ଦେଶପାଇଁ ଅନୁପଯୋଗୀ ଭିତିଭୂମି ବିକାଶ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଗୁଡିକୁ ବିଦେଶୀ କମ୍ପାନୀମାନଙ୍କୁ  ଦେଇଥାନ୍ତି  I  ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଗୁଡିକ ଦେଶବାସୀଙ୍କ ସାମୁହିକ ବିକାଶରେ ଉପଯୋଗୀ ହେବ ବୋଲି ବିଭିର୍ନ ଗଣମାଧ୍ୟମରେ ପ୍ରଚାର ପ୍ରସାର କରାଯାଇଥାଏ   I    ପ୍ରକୃତରେ ଅନେକ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଧବଳ ହସ୍ତିରେ ପରିଣତ ହୋଇଥାଏ  I  ଦେଶବାସୀ ନାକବାଟେ ଟିକସ ଦେଇ ନୟାନ୍ତ ହୋଇଯାନ୍ତି   I   ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନେ କ୍ଷମତାରେ ରହିବାପାଇଁ ଯଦିଓ ନିଜର ଅର୍ଥବଳ ବହୁତ ବଢ଼ାଇ ଥିଲେ, ସେମାନେ ସମାଜରେ ବଢୁଥିବା ଜନଅସନ୍ତୋଷକୁ ଅଣଦେଖା  କରିଦେଇଥିଲେ   I  ଫଳରେ ଜନଅସନ୍ତୋଷ ଏକ ଭୟାନକ ତୋଫାନର ରୂପ ନେଇ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନଙ୍କୁ ଦେଶଛାଡି ପଳାୟନ କରିବାକୁ ବାଧ୍ୟକଲା   I  ମୁନି ରୁଷିମାନେ କହିଛନ୍ତି ଭାଗବାନଙ୍କ ବାଣୀ ଓ ଇଚ୍ଛା ଲୋକମାନଙ୍କ ମାଧ୍ୟମରେ ପ୍ରକାଶିତ ହୋଇଥାଏ   I  ନେତା ଯେତେ ଶକ୍ତିଶାଳୀ ହେଲେ ମଧ୍ୟ ଜନଅସନ୍ତୋଷର ଏହି ପ୍ରଚଣ୍ଡ ଶକ୍ତିରେ ଭସ୍ମୀଭୂତ ହୋଇଯାଇଥାଏ  i  

କୃଷି,  ପର୍ଯ୍ୟଟନ, ତୀର୍ଥ ପର୍ଯ୍ୟଟନ, ମତ୍ସ୍ୟ ପାଳନ, ଜଙ୍ଗଲଜାତ ଦ୍ରବ୍ୟ, ସାମୁଦ୍ରିକ ସମ୍ପଦ ଓ  ହସ୍ତଶିଳ୍ପଜନିତ ଆର୍ଥିକ ଗତିବିଧିରେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଏକଦା ବିଶ୍ୱର ଏକ ଅଗ୍ରଣୀ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର ଭାବରେ ଗଣା ଯାଉଥିଲା  I   ଅନେକ ଖଣିଜ ସମ୍ପଦ ଯଥା ଫସଫେଟ୍, ଗ୍ରାଫାଇଟ୍,  ଚୂନପଥର  ଓ ରତ୍ନ ପଥର ଇତ୍ୟାଦି ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର  ଆର୍ଥିକସ୍ଥିତି  ସୁଦୃଢ କରିଥିଲା  I  ଟେକ୍ସଟାଇଲ୍, ପୋଷାକ ତିଆରି,  ରାସାୟନିକ ଦ୍ରବ୍ୟ,  କାଠକାମ,  କାଗଜ ଓ ଖାଦ୍ୟ ପ୍ରକ୍ରିୟାକରଣ ଇତ୍ୟାଦି ଶିଳ୍ପରେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଅନେକ ପ୍ରଗତି କରିଥିଲା   I  ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା  ଚା, ରବର,  ନଡ଼ିଆ ଓ ବିଭିନ୍ନ ପ୍ରକାରର ମସଲା ଦ୍ରବ୍ୟ ବିକି ଅନେକ ବିଦେଶୀ ମୁଦ୍ରା ଉପାର୍ଜନ କରୁଥିଲା  I  ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ଆର୍ଥିକ ସ୍ଥିତି ଭାରତ ଠାରୁ ମଧ୍ୟ ଭଲ ଥିଲାବୋଲି କେତେକ ସର୍ଭେ ରିପୋର୍ଟରେ ଉଲ୍ଲେଖ କରାଯାଇଛି  I  ଏତେ ସମ୍ପଦର ଅଧିକାରୀ ଥିବା ସତ୍ବେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଆଜି ଏକ କୁହେଳିକା ପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣ ବିକାଶ ମଡେଲକୁ ଆବୋରି ନେଇ ନିଜକୁ ଋଣ ଯନ୍ତା ଭିତରକୁ ଠେଲି ଦେଇଥିଲା    I      
  ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ବିଗତ ୨୫ ବର୍ଷ ଭିତରେ ଚୀନର ଋଣ ସହାୟତାରେ ଅନେକ ବଡ ବଡ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ କରିଛି ଯାହା ଦେଶ ଉପଯୋଗୀ ନଥିଲା  I  ଚୀନର ସହାୟତାରେ ବନିଥିବା $ ୧.୪ ବିଲିଅନ ର କୋଲମ୍ବୋ ପୋର୍ଟ ସିଟି ୨୦୪୩ ରେ ସମ୍ପୂର୍ଣ ହେବ ଓ ୨୦୪୩ ଯାଏ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ଚୀନକୁ  ସୁଧ ଦେଇ ଚାଲିବ ଓ ୨୦୪୩ ଯାଏ ଏହି ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପରୁ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା କୌଣସି ରାଜସ୍ବ ପାଇବ ନାହିଁ   I    ଯଦି ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଅଧାରୁ ବନ୍ଦ ହୁଏ ତେବେ ଚୀନ ଏହି ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ ଉପରେ ୯୯ ବର୍ଷ ପାଇଁ କବ୍ଜା କରିନେବ  I    ନିକଟରେ ପ୍ରକାଶିତ ଏକ ରିପୋର୍ଟ ଅନୁସାରେ ୨୦୦୬ ରୁ ୨୦୧୯ ଭିତରେ ଚୀନ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାରେ ଇନ୍ଫ୍ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ରକଚର ବିକାଶ ପାଇଁ  $ ୧୨ ବିଲିଅନ ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନିବେଶ କରିଛି   I  ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନିବେଶ କରିଥିବା କମ୍ପାନୀ ବା ଦେଶ କୌଣସି ଧାର୍ମିକ ଅନୁଷ୍ଠାନ  ନୁହନ୍ତି  I   ବିଦେଶୀ  କମ୍ପନୀମାନେ ବିଭିର୍ଣ୍ଣ  ଦେଶକୁ ଲାଭ ଉଦ୍ଦେଶ୍ୟରେ ଆସିଥାନ୍ତି ଓ ସେମାନେ କେବେ ଦେଶସେବାପାଇଁ ଆସିନଥାନ୍ତି   I  ପ୍ରକୃତ ସଚୋଟ, ଦକ୍ଷ ଓ ଦେଶପ୍ରେମୀ ନେତାମାନେ ଏହି  ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପଗୁଡିକର ଉପକାରିତାକୁ ମୂଲ୍ୟାୟନ କରିପାରନ୍ତି  I  ଯଦି ନେତା  ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପଗୁଡିକୁ ଠିକ ଭାବରେ ମୂଲ୍ୟାୟନ କରିନପାରନ୍ତି ତେବେ ସେ ଦେଶ ଓ ରାଜ୍ୟର ଭବିଷ୍ୟତକୁ ଅନ୍ଧକାର କରିଦେଇଥାନ୍ତି   I   ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ପାଖରେ ଏକ ବିକଶିତ ଦେଶ ହେବାପାଇଁ ଅନେକ ଶକ୍ତି ଓ ସାମର୍ଥ୍ୟ ଥିଲା ଯାହା ହାତଛଡା ହୋଇଗଲା  i   ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନିବେଶକାରୀଙ୍କୁ ନିଜର ନିୟନ୍ତ୍ରଣରେ ରଖିବାର  କ୍ଷମତା ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାଙ୍କ ପାଖରେ ନଥିଲା  I  ଦେଶରେ କେଉଁ ଆର୍ଥିକ ସେକ୍ଟରରେ ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନିବେଶ ହେଲେ ସାମୁହିକ ବିକାଶ ହେବ ଏଥିପାଇଁ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା ସରକାର କୌଣସି ଚିନ୍ତା କରିନଥିଲା  I  ଫଳରେ ପୁଞ୍ଜିନିବେଶକାରୀମାନେ ଲଗାମଛଡ଼ା ହୋଇ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ଆର୍ଥିକ ସ୍ଥିତିକୁ ନଷ୍ଟ କରିବା ସଂଗେ ସଂଗେ ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାବାସୀଙ୍କର ଆତ୍ମବିଶ୍ୱାସକୁ ନଷ୍ଟ କରିଦେଲେ   I   ପୁଞ୍ଜିନିବେଶକାରୀମାନେ କେବଳ ନିଜର ପୁଞ୍ଜିର ସୁରକ୍ଷା କରିଥାନ୍ତି ଓ ସେମାନେ ଦେଶର ବିକାଶ ଦେଖନ୍ତି ନାହିଁ  I  ଗୋଟେ ଦେଶ ବୁଡ଼ିଗଲେ ସେମାନେ ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନେଇ ଅଲଗା ଦେଶକୁ ପଳାଇଯାନ୍ତି  I   ବିକାଶଶୀଳ ଦେଶର ନେତାମାନେ ଯଦି ବିଦ୍ୱାନ ଓ ଜାଗ୍ରତ  ନଥାନ୍ତି ତେବେ ପୁଞ୍ଜି ନିବେଶ ଦେଶପାଇଁ ଘାତକସିଦ୍ଧ ହୋଇଥାଏ  I   ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ନେତାମାନେ ନିଜଦେଶରେ ଥିବା ବୁଦ୍ଧିଜୀବୀ, ଅଭିଜ୍ଞ ରାଜନେତା ଓ ଅର୍ଥନୀତିଜ୍ଞଙ୍କ କଥା ଯଦି ଶୁଣିଥାନ୍ତେ ତେବେ ଏଭଳି ଲଜ୍ୟାକର ପରିସ୍ଥିତି କେବେ ହୋଇନଥାନ୍ତା   I  
 ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାର ଏହି ଭୟାନକ ଆର୍ଥିକ ସଙ୍କଟ ଅନେକ ଦେଶ ଓ ରାଜ୍ୟ ପାଇଁ ଶିକ୍ଷଣୀୟ ହେବ  i   



(Published in the Business Line on 16.09.2008)

From a distance it looks like a small stream hurdling its way through a rocky track.  A group of ten blind boys aged between15 to 28 walking in the street holding one another's hands in a queue and were quietly guided by the head boy who can only see. Some of them were carrying musical instruments like tablas, harmonium and piano on their heads and shoulders. They slowly came and settled on the floor of a reception hall and enthralled a small audience with Hindusthani classical mixed with old Hindi songs. 

Ramdas, the blind mimicry artist amused the audience with gentle humour.  The blind boys' lively performance could not hide their urge to achieve excellence in the field of music. Particularly the tablist cum singer Loknath had a mesmerizing effect on the audience. Loknath fully depends on his music profession, and has recently married to settle down in life.
Those boys earn a modest income of Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 per month each exclusively from their music show. Their effort to achieve economic independence took shape only when ten blind boys met and formed an SHG under the guidance of the Bidar District Central Co-operative Bank which provides finance to those blind boys.  Thanks to the Bidar people's taste in music traditions. This has helped blind boys in making their pursuit of music into a full time profession. In the last four years music has provided the boys with their life and livelihood. 

The Boys are invited to perform in different social and cultural functions like marriage, birthday parties, Ganesh Puja and in VIP programmes etc. People's love for cultural traditions in Bidar creates employment opportunities for the blind boys, which withers away in big cities where a kind of crass mono culture and consumerism erodes away employment opportunities based on traditions. Like yoga, the popularity of Indian classical music and dance in western and European nations is growing due to its intrinsic value. In fact, the blind boys are unknowingly on the right track.

Amid the rich cultural tradition of Bidar district, the boys hone
their skill to become professional. "We are going to release our music cassettes soon," said Dileep Kadwar, 26, the singer, who organized the boys in a group. When Dileep was only ten year old he was into music with the encouragement of his elder brother. "People snubbed me and I was determined to do something for the blind people," recalls Dileep. He is also the President of the Jeewan Prakash Education Society, an NGO for the blind, which teaches blind students how to operate computers, make bags, weave cane chairs and different handicraft items besides teaching braille letters. Dileep with speech recognition software can work with MS Office.  "I will start a talking library for the blind students," said Dileep. But the teaching of music has made the blind boys one among equals in the society. Today the blind boys cannot see but they can emit light which can rekindle hope among other blind people across the country.

ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କାରେ ବିକାଶର ଭେଳିକି


Gifted Bidri Artisans

Gifted Bidri Artisans
(Business Line 17 March 2009)
They are quiet people who transform their skill and imagination into magnificent craft objects. Their house cum workshops in the narrow gullies connecting the bustling Chaubara Road of Bidar speak a lot about their silent pursuit amid gripping uncertainties.

 Gone are the days when the artisans of Bidar had got a special status in the society for their contribution to the rich cultural heritage of this region. The kings and nobles of Bidar used to give public honor to gifted artisans during festival time. Today the wheel has come full circle for them. 

Deterioration of people's aesthetic sense, lack of transparency in handicraft trade and crass consumerism has made this profession is a difficult pursuit. Around 300 artisans in Bidar make a wide range of utility and decorative pieces: ornaments, pen stand, flower vase, animals, birds, candle stand, wall hangings, cigar case and spice box etc. The process starts with the preparation of the desired object from molten Zinc and copper alloy. Then the object is dipped in copper sulphate solution for a coating. The artisan with a kalam(needle) etches out motifs of flowers, creepers, geometric shapes, animals and birds etc on the coated surface. Fine silver and gold wires are delicately inlaid on the metal surface with the help of a hammer and chisel. The object is then dipped in clay and aluminum chloride solution. The clay available inside the Bidri fort has chemical properties to give the items a dark texture. After the final polish the gold and silver work looks magnificent on the dark surface. Bidri craft can be made on dining tables, doors, window panels and on any surface. 

Rich craft lovers, handicraft exporters, star hotels and corporate offices engage Bidri artisans to give an ethnic grace to their premises. Order for Bidri craft also come from European customers. As most of the transactions are made through handicraft agents the artisan hardly knows the final sale price of his item. "Six years back, I had sold a dining table for Rs 3 lakh to a handicraft agent from Hyderabad," reminisces Abdul Rauf, a National Awardees from Bidar. In spite of the craft's popularity in domestic and foreign craft bazaars, the artisans get a narrow profit margin. If you take into account the material cost of zinc, copper, pure silver, gold, chemical, clay used and the cost of family labors involved in making a genuine piece, the artisans end up in incurring losses. This is the main reason why the artisans are not interested in making quality items. 

Barring a few the majority artisans make cheaper varieties to survive and in the process lose their advanced skill. "The demand for quality Bidri craft is high in the market," said Abdul Rauf, who made a door for a German customer for Rs 1.5 lakh. Here the government can earn revenue by marketing value added Bidri craft as its demand is growing in the hospitality sector.. Though the present recession has hit the handicraft export, the craft's good domestic demand will help tide over the situation.

Sikkim's Happy Economy

 Sikkim's Happy Economy

(Published in the Business Line on 17.10.2008)

The majestic Mount Kanchendzonga, flanked by 22 other snow capped
peaks of the Himalayan mountain range nestle the amazingly beautiful
Sikkim state. Virgin forest, hundreds of springs, waterfalls,
mountainous rivers, rich handicraft traditions, magnificent buddhist
monasteries, clean environment and loving people spring up a thriving
natural sector economy.

More than 4 lakh domestic tourists and nearly 50000 foreign tourists
visit Sikkim every year. Tourist flow triggers a wide range of
sustainable and eco friendly economic activities in the state. Around
1000 tibetan ethnic dress providers in different tourist points
transform tourists into Tibetan kings, queens, monks and princes. Each
of them earns Rs 300 to Rs 400 per day during tourist season.  A
gentle Yak ride amid green vallies in the backdrop of snow covered
mountains is an unforgettable experience. The yak owner earns a modest
income of Rs 400 per day from tourists besides collecting milk from
the yak.   More than 2000 natives earn an average of Rs 400 per day by
offering kayaking facilities to tourists in the rapids of the Teesta
river. The water sport in Sikkim can generate more employment for the
state. Sikkim women have the traditional skill to make attractive
carpets, wall hangings, table mats, belts, soft toys, ladies wares and
furniture etc. Many of the items are exported to Western and European
The hills of Sikkim preserve a large food back up for the people. A
a wide range of food crops, edible herbs are abundantly available here.
Pine, oak, walnut, bamboo and many kinds of minor forest products are
available in the forest. There is no scarcity of water, no drying of
spring; the hills are active and the biodiversity is intact. The
bankers' community in Sikkim in order to promote the hospitality sector
provide loans to furnish village homes which are let out to tourists.
The Village tourism sector has good potential to generate employment.
Magnificent Bidhists monasteries amid nature attract thousands of
tourists. It is the quiet and virgin nature which always makes the USP
for tourism.
The state government has declared Sikkim as an organic state and
completely banned plastic bags through strict imposition of fine of Rs
10000 on plastic bag users.  This is worth emulating for the so called
advanced states of India who have made their happy people into a
struggling mass looking for jobs in messy urban centers. If a Tibetan
dress provider, a yak owner, a taxi driver and an edible maker earns
Rs 400 to Rs 600 per day and grows one or two crops, vegetables and
fruits in his field what is the purpose of leading a miserable life of
a semi skilled factory worker in an urban slum? The very purpose of
every economic model is to create happiness.  Sikkim certainly
preserves the kind of economy, which makes people happy and healthy.
When the world has ten years left for its nemesis as per the world
scientist community why can't we look at something small and beautiful
for our survival?

A climate change for the artisan

A climate change for the artisans

(Published in Down to Earth Magazine on 15/03/2010)

In 1851, American writer Herman Melville wrote a novel that was then slammed as an apogee of American romanticism. A hundred and fifty years later, Moby Dick, the novel in question, appears wonderfully prescient. Now regarded as the Great American Novel, Moby Dic k is about the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby Dick, a white sperm whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Ahab intends to take revenge. The novel is also a parable about where obsession takes us. Melville wrote Moby Dick when the industrial civilization was still incipient.

But much of the novel’s lessons ring true today, with climate change threatening us.

It is well known now that addressing the problem of climate change requires lifestyle changes. Some solutions might be difficult but others are not so. Consider handicrafts for example. A range of jute products—hand bags, files, office bags, table cloth and decorative wall hangings—can replace many utility and decorative pieces produced in factories. Utility and decorative items made by skilled artisans using bamboo, different kinds of grass and leaves are equally graceful and artistic.

Most states in India have hundreds of such biodegradable handicraft items. The classic Odissi paintings from Orissa, the delicate wood work of Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, the bamboo products from the northeast, the fine metal work from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Aranmula Kanaadi artwork of Kerala, terracotta and Kalighat paintings from West Bengal, the chikankari work of Uttar Pradesh, the Madhubani paintings from Bihar, miniature paintings from Bundi, the Batua craft of Bhopal and the Kangra paintings from Himachal Pradesh are some examples of India’s thriving craft traditions. Such a rich legacy, notwithstanding, India’s share in global handicraft market is only 2 per cent. The country’s Export Promotion Council is alive to such concerns. It has pegged the handicrafts export target at Rs 25,000 crore per annum by 2010.

On the face of it, the target does not seem unrealistic. Eco-friendly products are regarded savvy in the West and the developed world. This could work to the benefit of India’s more than five million artisans provided we have the right policy. But nurturing age-old skill amid commercialization might not be easy. Selling handicrafts is easy but preserving the age-old skill is difficult. History is testimony to the fact that mass production is inimical to the artisan’s skill.

The market too demands diversity. But in the mad rush to produce for the market, the artisan does not get the time and support for quality and innovation. The design of mass produced items has been watered down or averaged to a level where idiosyncrasy has almost disappeared, and often is not valued. Artisanal production is contingent on moment-by-moment decisions, on innovations. In modern times, this has given way to rules, standards and procedures. So a number of artisans have lost the ability to create unique pieces in response to varying needs.

The present generation of artisans finds it difficult to recreate with sufficient artistry the more than 200-year-old pieces preserved in museums.

The Export Promotion Council’s ambitious target could be a mixed blessing for the artisan. The Indian handicraft sector must be ready to face the global demand in the changing global environment. But this should not mean sounding the death knell for age-old skills.

The government must identify senior artisans and give them the wherewithal and the time to bring innovation. Else the artisans could go the Moby Dick way.



(Published in The Pioneer on 12/07/2017)

The world is heading from a miserable to a far more miserable state due to excess greed. Cross border terrorism, trade barriers, talent poaching, wanton destruction of nature, proxy wars for selling weapons, controlling developing nations’ natural resources through proxy rulers, fraudulent means to erode banking assets and releasing harmful virus to increase the sale of vaccines etc show the progressive degeneration of the so called civilized global community. Former US President Barack Obama after the Lehman’s Brothers’ collapse in 2008 said greed is the reason for the financial sector collapse. The main reason for deaths, diseases, destruction and hunger is psychological in nature which can be addressed by yoga.

Yoga can work as an elixir for an integrated growth of human personality which can put human civilization on the track again. India which is known for Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, where a hungry child lovingly shares his bread with a hungry street dog has shed much of its finer human emotion: love, fellow feelings, pity and valor.  India’s inherent problem is not with the lack of resources but with the deliverance. And deliverance comes when mind and body work in harmony to return to society's due.

Prime Minister Modi's strong public appeal has made International Yoga Day a roaring success. His appeal has gone beyond caste, creed and religion to bind people in yoga sutra.  Even soldiers at Kargil and the navy personnel in deep sea performed yoga.  Despite the nationwide celebration, the number of yoga practitioners has not gone up after the International Yoga Day. Majority of schools, offices and colleges which had rolled out mat to practice Yoga on International Yoga day, have never done it again after the event. This is the difference between Indians and the western countries. It is the degree of honesty, discipline and commitment that differentiate developing nations from developed nations. Baba Ramdev has worked relentlessly to inspire millions of people across the world to do yoga and pranayama every day. He has proved that yoga and Ayurveda could not only increase productivity but it could also generate revenue and employment.

Over the years, the spiritual product, yoga, has become the most sought after commodity in the global market. Today, around 70,000 teachers in North America instruct yoga to an estimated 30 million people. The demand for yoga studios is so high that it has become the hot pursuit of commercial real-estate giants. In the corporate world, yoga has been recognized as an effective stress management tool and an elixir for enhancing productivity.

In the US, corporate yoga practice is growing faster than shopping malls. Government organizations, police departments, military bases, therapists both mental and physical, school teachers and media people are the main target groups. The yoga instructor is as expensive as a management graduate, earning $100 to $150 per class (usually of one hour) per person. The income increases manifold in the corporate environment.

According to a market survey by a yoga journal, it is a $30-billion business in the US, including accessories, equipment, yoga guides and DVDs. The average yoga practitioner in the US spends $1,500 every year. Americans spend $2.95 billion a year on yoga classes and products. According to the study, 7.5 percent of American adults practice yoga every year. Further, according to the survey, one in seven non-practitioners in the US is interested in practicing yoga within the next two years. The number of yoga practitioners increased by 53 per cent from 2006 to 2016 in the US. It is estimated to grow at 50% per annum in the next five years.

In Asia, yoga has become a booming business in at least 20 countries. It has grown to $800-million business size. It has become a national craze in Singapore. According to a survey by the Singapore Sport Council, some 55,000 people practised yoga out of the island-nation's four million population. The number has crossed three lakh today. The growing pollution levels in urban centres in Asian countries let people take to yoga for a healthy life. European countries take special interest in yoga to increase productivity. Today, every small urban center in Germany has a yoga school. The growing interest for yoga among the world community has opened up opportunities for Indian yoga instructors to work in foreign countries.

This is a good sign that people world over are striving to counter the aggressive robotisation of human life. India can have quality yoga universities in ancient cities like Ujjain, Puri, Ayodhya, Leh Ladakh and Bellur or any other suitable place to meet the global demand for yoga teachers. When developed nations have already internalized yoga in a systematic manner, India has made much delay in making yoga a part of Indian way of life. 

Manage the river network better

Manage the river network better

(Published in the Deccan Herald on 15.10.2019)

Nature has blessed India with a wide network of the river system which had once contributed to the flourish of a rich civilization, economy and culture. The river network which had once maintained the water table regulated temperature, served as waterways, stored aquatic species, helped farming and contributed to pilgrim sector growth has been distorted beyond recognition.

The National Council of Applied Economic Research observed, "The internal waterways of Assam are said to be over 6,000 miles. Heavy silting due to deforestation, destruction of catchment areas, human settlement in flood plains and people’s apathy to environment has adversely affected the low cost water ways in Assam.”

Tea, jute and leather produced in Assam were traditionally transported through water ways to Calcutta.  Similarly, food grains, salt, edible oil, construction material and clothes were brought to Assam through rivers only. Some 50 years back, the river Mahanadi had perennial flow which had dried up due to construction of multiple dams, deforestation and silting.

The World Commission on Dams found that on average, large dams have been at best only marginally economically viable. The average cost overrun of dams is 56%. Studies conducted by the National Remote Sensing Agency, the Center for Earth Science and several other organizations found soil erosion in the catchment area of the river leads to deposit of huge mass of silt in the Idukki reservoir on the Periyar river. As the silt has shrunk the storage capacity of the reservoir, it adversely affects the hydro-electric potential and flood control capacity of the reservoir. A CIFRI study, conducted between 2005 to 2007 across 80 kms from Srikakulam to Hamsala (sea face), shows that dams constructed in the upstream and the Prakassam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh have diverted all the water away from the river for irrigation, industrial and urban uses. The upper part of the estuary is dry in summer and the estuary has now reached hypersaline conditions due to the absence of freshwater. This has led to the near disappearance of oligohaline and freshwater species of carps, catfishes, murrels and feather backs, etc.

More than 10.86 million Indians depend on rivers, wetlands, floodplains, estuaries, ponds and tanks for livelihood and nutrition. India’s 14 major rivers, 44 medium rivers, innumerable tributaries, oxbow lakes, floodplains, riparian tracts, mangroves and estuaries run around 45,000 km. The riverine in India was once home to the richest fish germplasm in the world. The Central Inland Capture Fisheries Research Institute (CICFRI)’s data shows that fish catch in most riverine fisheries is declining. “Pollution is one of the biggest killers of inland fish. The traditional fisherfolk are worst affected,” reportedly said K Gopakumar, Deputy Director-General (Fishery), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. India is home to the largest number of lifeless rivers in the world. “The river Yamuna is nothing but a tiny sewage drain with zero aquatic life as it leaves Delhi,” says P V Dehadrai, former director-general (fishery), ICAR.

In the 70s, nearly 2000 Keuta families (fishermen) of the ancient Cuttack city were happy and healthy. The two big rivers, the Mahanadi and the Kathajodi which flow on both sides of the city had plenty of fish. Today, the rivers have lost their streams due to over damming, pollution and encroachment of the catchment areas. Two satellite towns Mahanadi Vihar and Bidanasi have been built over the catchment areas of these two rivers. The damage to rivers has impoverished the fishermen community who had no other option but to switch over to menial jobs. This has happened to millions of fishermen across the country.  

Impractical and poor river management leads to manmade floods across the country. “Natural drainage has been destroyed, natural ponds have been destroyed, people have built their houses on the flood plains. These are the problems because once you destroy the natural drainage, water doesn’t find a place to go out. It leads to flooding,” reportedly said Anand Sharma, the Founding Director of the India Meteorological Department. Between 2016-17 and 2019-20, the flood has killed over 6,000 people and two lakh livestock. It had damaged 39 lakh houses and destroyed 87.89 lakh hectares of farmland. The data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) reveals between 1953 and 2017, more than one lakh people perished due to floods across the country. A reply to Rajya Sabha's question on the loss and damage caused by floods in India shows the cost of damage to infrastructure and housing has been estimated at Rs 3,65,860 crore. According to an Aon Catastrophe Report, in 2018, the total economic loss due to flood in Kerala itself was estimated at $ 4.25 billion which does not include direct damage and business interruption cost. The September 2019 flood in Pune has so far killed 21 people, swept away 2500 vehicles and destroyed property worth hundreds of crores of rupees.

In June 2019, half of India was reeling under drought. Interestingly, in August 2019, half of India was facing flood havoc. The loss of human life and economic asset due to flood and drought attribute to poor human resources who failed to manage the nature’s gift.   


Time to Bank on Local Diversity

 Over decades, the majority of cities, small towns and villages have lost their unique diversity which results in the loss of a large number of sustainable micro- economic activities. Mass production of goods and services, dumping of cheap imported products and abysmal ignorance about the quality of local products has eroded much of our rich diversity which adversely affects the banking business.

One can come across shopping malls selling plastic bags at rupees ×ve to Rs 10 along with goods to customers. Mass production of plastic bags not only damages the environment but has also led to the disappearance of biodegradable, coir, jute, cloth and paper bags. In the 1970s, thousands of farmers in Kendrapara district of Odisha were producing jute which was used to make rope, bags, utility and decorative items. Today, jute cultivators have switched over to other jobs in the district. People who used to make jute items lost their jobs.

In the 90s, some entrepreneurs in Bhopal used to export a wide range of jute items. Biodegradable jute items always have demand world over. A permanent ban on the use of plastic bags will help millions of coir, jute, cloth and paper bag producers to earn their livelihood. India is a treasure trove of biodegradable materials which will help the economy and banking in a drastic way.

Coconut and areca nut grow abundantly between Sakhigopal and Puri on a stretch covering 15 kilometres in Odisha. One can come across thick coconut jungle on this stretch of land that leads to Jagannath Puri, Konark and the golden sand beaches. Capable public representatives with knowledge, vision and human sensitivity can create sustainable job opportunities for people in this area which will ultimately help banking business. The bankers too have to go extra miles to promote crop diversity and biodegradable handicrafts in this region as people in Puri district have the skill to make wide range of handicrafts namely stone sculpture, coconut craft, coir craft, wooden mask, Odissi paintings on different surfaces, applique craft, sholapith craft craft and palm leaf carvings etc. Diversity in economic activities always keeps the bank credit healthy.

Over decades Odisha had lost many edible plants, fruits and vegetables. Many aromatic rice varieties with huge domestic and export demand have disappeared. The fragrance of indigenous variety of Basmati rice was so good that when it was cooked, it spread over a 50-metre radius. Many indigenous rice varieties of Odisha with huge export potential have been lost. Agriculture scientists, experienced farmers, public representatives and bankers should play an important role in protecting the rare indigenous crops in the state. There is always a systematic and planned campaign to undermine the importance of indigenous crop varieties by some external agencies and their agents in India.

Reviving the weather resistant local vegetables, food grains and fruits is the biggest challenge before the state. Diversity generates surplus income which ultimately increases bank deposit. Bank deposits are used for lending business. Though the Central and State Government have launched a wide range of development schemes for the weavers, the import of cheap clothes and yarns from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China always neutralises the effect of those development schemes. Import of poor quality fabrics always damages the rich Indian handloom traditions. Loss of skill and artistry among the weavers community leads to loss of demand in domestic and foreign markets. Traders and middlemen in different forms leech innocent and illiterate weavers across the country. Bank credit flow to weavers will not pick up unless the consumers have direct access to the weavers’ home and the weavers are enthused to preserve the original grace and artistry on clothes.

Andhra Pradesh has witnessed the largest number of weavers’ suicide in the past two decades in the country. This has happened due to the presence of middlemen, lack of transparency in handloom trade, supply of poor quality raw material to the weavers, loss of skill and artistry among the weavers due to low wages. Many corrupt non-governmental organisations, traders and marketing agencies thrive on the hard work of the weavers. In the process many priceless handicraft traditions got ruined. Young generation of weavers have switched over to other professions. The majority of the young generation of weavers switch over to other professions or migrate to other states for jobs. Handloom weavers of Andhra Pradesh make high value addition to silk clothes.

Every Indian district has one or two unique local products. While Jagannath Puri gives the mouth watering rasabali and kheera, the ancient city Cuttack offers you the tasty dahibara aludum. Pune offers the delicious puran poli while Mumbai serves pav-bhaji. Calcutta is famous for sweets and different varieties of curds. One can’t resist the temptation of eating Murugan idli and chatni in Chennai. India still can preserve the unique diversity which can create surplus income and employment on a sustainable basis. All these activities ultimately help banks design different credit products.


Entrepreneurship is the way

 Peoples’ aspiration for easy money without much effort contaminates socio-cultural life. One must leverage this idle energy to make oneself strong and self-reliant. Post-independent India has done little to prevent the spread of idle energy. Distribution of 35 kg rice at rupees two per kg to each family living Below the Poverty Line (BPL) in many States, misdirected subsidies, free distribution of consumer items, food and freebies, among others, have created massive idle energy across the country that has had a negative impact on peoples’ health, productivity and economy of the country.

In rural areas, the banks are asked to meet lending targets. People take loans to create economic assets. When leaders promise loan-waivers, a large number of people don’t repay loans, nor do they create economic assets for sustainable income. As a result, banks do not receive repayment and accumulate bad loans. Over the years, hard work, repayment ethics and entrepreneurship among the villagers has taken a quick exit. This leads to the degradation of social and cultural life. People’s aspiration for easy money and consumer comfort, without doing much work, contaminates the socio-cultural life.

When living close to local politicians brings so many financial benefits to the people, it changes the work culture at its root. The entire village suffers; banks face recovery problems and economic activities come to a grinding halt. Social media too is an aggressive contributor to idle energy. And this idle energy breeds crimes, uncertainty, perennial unemployment and unrest. On the other hand, fanatic religious ideologues take advantage of the situation. Religious preachers market religious faith to those who live in poverty.

The majority of victims of this culture of idleness are Hindus. Leaders at the grass-root level must foresee the impact of the idle energy. They should muster courage to dismantle the idle energy and make villagers strong and self-reliant. Poor primary and school education always comes in the way of people becoming conscious voters, vigilant citizens and good borrowers.

Activating village committees, individual entrepreneurship, reviving natural capitals like lakes, ponds, biodiversity, craft and weaving traditions through peoples’ participation will not only empower people of a particular community but will also provide inter-dependent employment to all communities. Inter[1]dependence among communities brings communal harmony and activates banks’ credit cycle.

Ramadugu village of Karimnagar district, Telangana is famous for stone carving. Artisans of this village make idols of all Hindu gods, goddesses and their mounts, chariots, weapons and thrones with intricate details. It provides employment to traders, middlemen and to all communities in the entire supply chain. The idols are supplied all over India.

Even half-finished idols are brought from other States to give finishing touch in Ramadugu. Though artisans add high value to stone with their hard work and artistic skill, they hardly get Rs 200 to Rs 300 per day. This is the main reason why the younger generation is no longer interested in stone carving.

Traders and middlemen cash-in on the hard work and carving skill of the artisans. Here, the Government should intervene and save the artisans of Ramadugu, which can be an attractive tourist destination. Flowing subsidies will not save the rich tradition. Hand-holding and personal touch will help these artisans.

The artisans should live along with their skills which can encourage the new generation. Stone carving should be a lucrative profession. There are hundreds of craft traditions across the country which need to be preserved for high value addition, export and credit growth.

Honest, hardworking politicians, with anti-hero instincts, can dismantle the iceberg of idle energy, activate entrepreneurship and bring back repayment of ethics among the people. Public sector banks are flushed with funds and can do wonders in rural areas. While attempting to change the credit history in rural areas, there is a need to recover bank loans from wilful defaulters within a time frame.

Defaulters among the top 500 defaulters generated more than 75 percent of bad loans. If 70 per cent of the bad loans are recovered from them, it would bring the public sector banks back on track and the Government need not have to spend on recapitalization of banks.

Tough messages must be sent to those who are responsible for such defaults. Many rich and influential borrowers know the loopholes in banks and run away with hordes of loans to foreign countries. People with more than Rs 50 crore loan should not be allowed to leave the country without any objection from banks. The total bad loans in top 50 accounts of big corporates is estimated at rupees four to five lakh crores. Loan default, be it big or small, should meet with zero tolerance. Banking sector provides fuel to the Indian growth engine. Nothing should derail the growth engine.

ପ୍ରାଚୀନ ମନ୍ଦିର ଗୁଡିକର ସୁରକ୍ଷା ଓ ସଂରକ୍ଷଣ ନିହାତି ଦରକାର

Chemical free Natural Farming - an eye opener

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