Vidarbha State
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Vidarbha State

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See interview of Ashok  Kothare

Here I am putting my observations about what is possible if a separate Vidarbha State is formed. Nitin Gadkari of BJP tells that he wants to develop Vidarbha by bringing in Macro industries. Here I want to ask him what he means by development and whose development? 

There are three types of developments. Development of local people, development in revenue and development of politicians-bureaucrats. What Nitin is doing will stimulate the last two development; but for local people to develop Macro industries is not the answer at least, as far as Vidarbha people are concerned. 

Let me explain what I mean by that. Bringing Macro Industries in a place helps local people only if local people are industrious. Unfortunately, local people of Vidarbha are not exactly industrious. They are lazy and more on the side of relaxing and leisure. This nature of people of Vidarbha is well known in Maharashtra. Many jokes are cut on this laziness of these people. Vidarbha people also do not mind this fact. If we do survey of existing Macro industries in that region we will see that most jobs are done by outsiders from other states such as Rajasthan, MP, Bengal, Oriya, UP, (Maharashtra) and Bihar. Very few jobs are done by local people. That means if, as what Nitin Gadkari says, really happens there will be exodus of aspiring industrious people from elsewhere and they will get jobs while local people will remain without jobs. This may give in due course rise of Vidarbha Sena on the same line as Shiv Sena. May be, Shiv Sena will open that branch in Vidarbha and a political crisis develops. As it is, Shiv Sena is having bitterness against BJP, we know of it! 

This development will earn the revenue, that will be good for that state government. At bureaucrats' level a lot of corruption will develop and all politicians and bureaucrats will make a lot of black money. These are plus points (!) of policy of bringing Macro industrial activity in Vidarbha. 

This asks a question about how then this state can benefit local people. As per my study only improvement in agricultural side will bring succor to local people this I say because major population of Vidarbha is of farmers. Development of agriculture may not earn much revenue and also may not benefit politicians and bureaucrats by corruption but that will benefit local farmers. That means development of this state will require Macro industries for the benefit of politicians and bureaucrats as well as revenue. The state may be able to earn its living by that and that way Nitin Gadkari is correct but what about local people for whom Modi is committed and in whose name this Vidarbha state is carved out. We also see that only farming will not benefit farmers as we have seen in many cases the cost of produce is hardly or marginally satisfied by its price. Main agricultural produce is cotton. There is always struggle for its pricing. Therefore to resolve that, 'value addition', policy government should adopt. In case of cotton the only principal use is to make yarn. Almost all cotton goes to spinning mills. If government allows farmers to have Amber Charakas farmers will convert his cotton into yarn at his place and sell directly yarn. This will give value added price to him. I have worked on Amber charakas and I know for sure a farmer can convert his small quantity of cotton output into yarn and that is possible economically. Many farmers produce very little cotton and selling it does not give any income. However, if he is allowed to convert it into yarn and sell it he will make more money. The cost of running powered Amber charka is not much. Moreover, the expertise is available with Khadi gramodyog institutes. They can train members of the farmer's family to operate it and help augment his income. Small carding loom is available, generally used by bed and cushion makers, is used for carding of cotton to remove seeds and also to remove spoiled cotton. Separating spoiled cotton is another additional activity which will give cotton seeds and farmer can sell it; separately adding more income to his purse. Spoiled cotton is used to make cellulose fiber or rayon. That will give additional income when farmer sells that to rayon mills. Running a spinning mill is not economical otherwise, but a powered Amber charka run by farmer in his house can give yarn at much cheaper price. The cost of overheads makes these spinning mills uneconomical. That problem will not exist if farmers do it at home. Small rayon making plants can be built to use the waste cotton and that will created employment to relatives of village people. One need not build a big rayon factory to utilize waste cotton that will be available in small quantities in small sectors. That will serve as a micro activity to create employment to villagers. To spin yarn proper moist atmosphere it needs and that can be developed in houses so that yarn can be spun without difficulty. I have seen how they do it in small mills at Madhavnagar near Sangli in Maharashtra state. 

The policy of value addition should be adopted in Vidarbha to improve income of farmers. There are other farm produce such as soybean and gram. In gram there is chance for conversion of simple gram into many varieties of farsan. Producing soy milk and soy paneer (tofu) is possible in small scale units. Farmers should be trained to produce these value additions. In this way by value addition farmer of Vidarbha will be able to manage his expenses. Other agencies may come up to do marketing of these products. Vidarbha can grow milk industry (dairy) and if possible develop meat industry as 70% Indians are meat eaters; even though, present BJP people may not be eating it. Government should be open for all tangible industrial activities without making prestige issues of small things. There are many more things those can help make this state good for local people as well as corrupt politicians and bureaucrats; but not the way Nitin Gadkari dreams.

 If all these things are considered a separate Vidarbha may be successful. If Nitin Gadkari depends solely on Macro activity to build economy of that state I am doubtful of its merits.