Sunday, September 05, 2010

How to get rid of one's troubles

Wouldn't it be awesome if one could avoid trouble by declaring that the conditions in one's life are no longer conducive to the creation of trouble?

Apparently, the government of Maharashtra seemed to think this was possible. It has banished famine from the land through the simple and entirely effective mechanism of disallowing the use of the word.

‘The Maharashtra Deletion Of The Term “Famine” Act, 1963...that “there is now no scope for famine conditions to develop.” Why so? Because “the agricultural situation in the State is constantly watched by the State government.” And “relief measures as warranted by the situation are provided as soon as signs of scarcity conditions are apparent.” Goodbye Famine.

Neat, eh?

From the same article: It's a proud tradition the State still hews to. Can't stop farmers' suicides, so redefine who a farmer is. Then redefine what a suicide is. Maharashtra has done both. Why not have a law banning the word ‘farmer' or ‘suicide' or both? Solves an annoying problem in a State that has seen, in official count, over 44,000 farm suicides since 1995.

This is an Act in a State with a gosh-awful record in food production for years. That includes a 24 per cent fall in 2008-09. A rich State that has seen far more child hunger deaths than many poorer ones. A State that added greatly to its hungry with 2 million people losing their jobs between 2005-06 and 2007-08. That's over 1800 each day — and that's before the global meltdown of September 2008, according to the State's own economic survey.

The 1963 Act casts its shadow to this day. By legal definition, we cannot have a serious crisis in Maharashtra. So when there is one, we respond to it on a much lower scale than needed. No matter how deadly the crisis, relief work will never be up to the mark because it is not required by law to be so.


sujatha said...

brilliant! finally,got a clue as to how we can be the next super power.

Sumedha said...

Wow. I knew that governments often ignore problems, and often claim that those problems don't exist. I knew they hide them (like the Delhi government getting beggars out of the city to "hide" them during the CWG).

I did not know that governments actually modify definitions legally to completely deny the existence of a problem!

Anonymous said...

Love this post. I had no idea the state govt had done something as absurd as 'deleting' terms...

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