nearly half of urban india wants to settle down in the u.s., says a survey conducted a couple of years ago. about 40% of india's farmers, according to another survey conducted a little earlier, would 'quit farming' given a choice.
the respondents in the first survey were people who belonged to 'lower middle classes and above'. you'll agree, india has been kind to those people: investing in their education & training etc., and offering them a far better quality and quantity of public services than those available to the rest of india. which helped them get better jobs.
and the finance minister has announced, a couple of days ago, a few more iits and iims for them. to improve their chances of securing american visas?
he has also announced increased spending on the bharat nirman programme and the nrega- most of that increased expenditure will finds its way back to the cities, of course. this would also improve the farmers' chances of moving up? to become wage labourers?
choice: the first category of respondents have it and the second don't. one would think the best way of creating choice for the farmers (or their children, actually) would be: investing in their education & training etc., and offering them a far better quality and quantity of public services (as available to the first class of respondents). so that they could move on to better jobs too (and to america, later?).
why doesn't that happen? one of the key elements is education. if the next generation of the second category of respondents, the farmers' children, have to move beyond farming, or at least get a fair chance at thinking of moving beyond agriculture, they will all need access to decent school education. the kind of education that's mostly unavailable to them now.
do you get any sense that the finance minister, or the central government, was thinking about that when he was making ritualistic allocations to that ugly, paternalistic sarva shiksha abhiyaan and grand plans for new iits while preparing this year's budget? did you get any sense that the issue seriously occupied his mind?
did you get that sense last year or the year before that or the year....?