BURNING THE EVIL: DUSSEHRA

Dussehra is celebrated in the Indian subcontinent with much fanfare every year after the culmination of nine Navratras. Hindus observe fast during these nine Navratras and worship Goddess Durga in order to purify their souls and burn all evils on the tenth day i:e Dussehra by burning the effigy of Ten-headed  Ravana – The king of Lanka and who despite being so learned and having so much wisdom and intellect couldn’t control the evil in his mind. Overpowered by the evil thought he committed the heinous crime of kidnapping Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, knowing it well that Lord Rama was powerful enough to defeat him and rescue Sita. Despite all the wisdom and intellect at his command, he committed an immortal sin for which he was never forgiven and we still burn his effigy every year.

Burning of the effigy is symbolic. People nowadays do burn effigies of living leaders or people of high position as a protest against their actions which don’t suit them, but the burning of the effigy of Ravana signifies the victory of Good over the Evil. Does this actually burn the evil? Where is the evil, and Does it vanish by burning it every year? The evil tirelessly follows the good and it grows like the weed. Unless we de-weed it regularly every day rather every moment, it will overshadow the good crop. Symbolism will not do any good to us. We need to cleanse our mind and soul and condition them in such a way that they always remain positive.

Ramayana the Great epic teaches us the various aspects of perfect life and duties towards others. Lord Rama is also called Maryada Purshotam,  A person with Maryada i:e proper code of dignity and decorum. Lord Rama personally practiced perfect discipline in life and set examples for the conduct with parents, brothers, wife, society, followers, associates, master(Guru), and the enemies, without the slightest care for self-ego, pride, esteem, and hardships.

Dussehra signifies the constant fight with evil which grows faster than weed in our mind and we need to burn it rather uproot it moment by moment before it overshadows our intellect and makes us Ravana.

Ravana signifies Evil, Sita signifies a Pure soul and Lord Rama signifies The true spirit and a Perfect Master. India signifies the upper region i:e the abode of The Lord and Lanka signifies the earth. The pure soul descended to this world and got entrapped by the mind and its evil designs(Ravana). Having full faith in her Master, Sita remembers and prays her Lord for help; twho then invades Lanka and rescues the pure soul(Sita).

We the enslaved souls need to trust a Perfect Master/ Lord and pray before Him for help with full faith and trust. He will listen to our prayers if we are sincere and have complete trust in Him ; He will burn all evils from our mind and liberate us from this world of delusion. So, we need to understand the core of this symbolism and resort to its actual practice sincerely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPINESS

Everyone in this world wants to be happy forever and for attaining happiness they resort to various practices and ways of life. Happiness is a state of mind, an aim, an essence, and in fact fragrance of the life itself. Who would not like this fragrance?. Happiness can’t be achieved in isolation as it depends upon various states of our mind functions such as level of satisfaction, stability, peace, and attitude. All these attributes or mind functions may vary from person to person and hence the level of happiness also differs from person to person despite having similar circumstances.

We do search for happiness in the possessions of wealth little realizing that even the wealthiest of all in the world are more worried than the paupers. We hope to get happiness out of high authority at our command and once we get it we realize that the authority gives more pain than the pleasures. The higher you go, you will not feel cozier, instead, you will feel cooler. ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’, is an old saying and is very true. Did the great kings or rulers had sound sleep? They were always in constant fear of being dethroned or invaded.

Happiness is therefore neither in wealth, nor in power, nor in high authority or more of possessions, because with every incremental increase in all these worldly things, a corresponding dose of fear of losing them is added to our store of worries.

To attain happiness we seem to be knocking at the wrong doors and treading a slippery path. We, therefore, need to change our attitude and way of life

Since happiness depends on our state of mind so we need to condition our mind and try to keep it stable. We need to learn from those who are happier than us and explore the causes of their happiness. We could hardly find anyone completely happy. Everyone is in search of complete happiness and he tries to derive this from different sources but each source itself is temporary and anything of temporary nature can’t provide a permanent solution for permanent happiness. The only person happier than anyone seems to be a child especially an infant. He has no worries. He gives a smile the moment anyone makes an eye contact with him. When in a mood he will not bother for anyone. He will cry when hungry and will never hide or suppress his feelings. As a child, he will be happier and more satisfied with a candy or a chocolate as his wishes and wants are limited whereas we would fail to derive the similar amount of happiness even if big fortunes are bestowed upon us.

We, on the other hand, have a lot of worries many of which we unnecessarily keep firmly attached to our mind. We are too miser in passing a smile and are biased while sharing the same. We bother too much for everything little realizing that many of them are not within our control and we are worried for them as a matter of habit. We are not open-minded and suppress our feelings. We are never contended with whatever we get and always try to have more. Our wants far exceed( LIFE ) our capacity to fulfill them thus making us unhappy. Hate, prejudice, biases, greed, fear, and feelings of insecurity and the absence of someone who could support us through thick and thin are the main causes of our worries and unhappiness. We do need someone to whom we can look for help. No one will help us without a purpose or a cost. Nothing comes free in this world then how can we expect help or support free of cost or free of an obligation?

The only ONE to whom we can trust for help and support is the CREATOR ie. our UNIVERSAL FATHER. We need to completely surrender before HIS will like a child surrenders before his mother. We must have complete faith in HIM as he will give us whatever is good for us. He will never give us anything which is not to our benefit. Pleasure or pain both come from his will, then why to worry. We should possess a helping attitude COMPASSION. towards everyone without any prejudice as it gives us a lot of satisfaction and happiness.

If there is only happiness in life throughout, we will lose its value and life would become monotonous. Some moments of worries or distress make us understand the values of happiness in a better way. So, do enjoy life with full faith in the CREATOR and always keep a positive mental attitude by avoiding every negative thought. Try to inculcate the attitude of expecting less and giving more as it will keep us more satisfied and happy. We should always think of and focus more on the good things in our life rather than paying more attention to a few worries which come in our lives in a normal routine. If we sincerely count and list out good and bad things in our life we will find that the Creator has given a lot of good things in comparison to the bad things which are very few. Since we pay more heed to and remain constantly focused on the bad things because of our negative mental attitude, so we remain unhappy. On the contrary, if we focus more on positive things in life which outnumber negative ones and ignore these negative ones, we will be happier.

BANKS; LEVEL FINANCING

Banks are the true agents of development of any economy. They have played a vital role in the overall development of economies world over. Although overall development did happen but the spread of the same is not even all along, which has resulted in uneven income in different sectors and areas. The distribution of credit, therefore, needs to be rationalized in such a manner that the benefits of the same reach out to all across the areas as well as sectors and activities.

Banks have always shied away from lending in rural and undeveloped or underdeveloped areas and sectors despite a lot of directions from the regulators as well as from the state. This is due to the fear of losing money because of the nonviability of the proposed units and schemes in these areas. Lack of proper infrastructure in rural and underdeveloped areas is mainly responsible for the poor growth of the economy in these areas. The prime reason for poor lending in such areas is lack of infrastructure which makes the projects and schemes less viable and hence does not attract bank’s attention.

Now that lot of infrastructure has reached the rural and less developed areas. There are better power availability and better road connectivity, transport, and markets in the rural areas though not as better as in the cities but there is a great push to provide more and improve the existing facilities in these areas. Banks too have opened their units in these areas. The only problem is that banks are mobilizing resources from these areas and passing on the main part of the same for investment in other areas or to their controlling offices for deployment elsewhere. The required purpose of opening branches in such areas, therefore, gets defeated by siphoning out the resources from underprivileged areas to the better-privileged areas thereby further widening the gap of development in different areas. In order to ensure the equal level of development across all the regions, the norms for the calculation of credit-deposit (CD) ratio need to be redrawn/modified. Following suggestive measure may be of help to plug the loopholes in the system:

  1. To start with block should be considered as a unit.  For the calculation of CD ratio, all branches of different banks operating in a block be made to meet the mandatory CD ratio of 60% individually. Only that part of credit which has been utilized within the limits of the block should be taken for the calculation of CD ratio for the block. These ratios should be monitored at the Block level. The block-wise unit size may be carried over to Panchayat level after some time.
  2. Branches of a bank who in order to meet the requirements of CD ratio exceed the limits of the block and deploy funds in other blocks, or for the units in urban areas or industrial areas in other blocks. All such branches of banks should be imposed with a penalty of 1% on the interest earned on the amount of loan allowed in areas beyond their block and 2% on the interest of the part of finance in urban or an industrial area in other blocks.
  3. In order to encourage branches in the metro, urban, and semi-urban areas to fund units in rural and underdeveloped areas an incentive of 2% be offered provided 80% employment in such units is given to the locals of the block in which such financing is done.
  4. Foreign banks who have branches in metros only should also be made to contribute to the development of underdeveloped areas and sectors as per the rules of engagement with them. The Incentives proposed above may also be provided to such banks also.
  5. The amount of penalty and incentives stated above to be routed through a special fund which may be called ‘ Level Development Fund’ (LDF). This fund may be maintained by the coordinator of the State level bankers committee of the concerned state. Any shortfall at any time in this fund to be made good by the concerned state govt. The incentive to be provided or penalty to be imposed be calculated quarterly basis on the figures of 15th of the last month of each quarter in order to avoid artificial fluctuations on account of any window dressing to which the banks generally resort to in order to show better figures in the balance sheets on the  closing date of the respective quarter.
  6. In the case of consortium financing, the amount financed by the respective member banks of the consortium will be treated as financing in the block in which the unit so financed is located and not the block in which the financing branch is working and the penalty would accordingly be levied.  The location of the unit is to be considered and not the location of the controlling or administrative office of the unit.
  7. In case of income or commission earned out of nonfund based business such as a letter of credit or guarantees of any type, the penalty and incentive of 1 or 2% as the case may be, will be imposed under the similar circumstances of exceeding or entering in the jurisdiction of the block as discussed above.
  8. Penalty once charged is to be nonrefundable and no claim of any type to be entertained on any pretext such as the account becoming an NPA for any reasons.
  9. Any shortfall in the amount required to meet the mandatory requirement of meeting 60% CD ratio by any branch of a bank in a block to be kept in RIDF with NABARD at the prescribed rates.
  10. Branches of the banks in any block may divert funds after meeting the mandatory CD ratio of 60% in the block in which they are functioning for deployment anywhere as per their choice. However, in case they exceed CD ratio for financing within the block where they are functioning, they shall be given an incentive on the interest on the additional amount at 1%.

The CD ratio should be ensured to be maintained at the mandatory level by each branch of a bank block-wise, and by the respective banks district-wise, region wise, and state-wise. Inter-region and inter-state financing to be excluded for the purpose of calculating respective CD ratios. Suitable penalty as proposed above to be imposed on such lending. This would discourage flight of resources from the concerned areas to the other areas and ensure a level development of all areas and sectors.

In the present as well as during the future times the lucrative market for financing is in the rural areas as there is a lot of money and market in that sector.

DEVELOPMENT: A PERSPECTIVE

Development is happening in every field around the world for making the life more comfortable for the humans. There is no end to the development as there always remains something more to be achieved. It appears that man wants to achieve complete perfection beyond which there is no further scope for any development.

In order to achieve perfection and complete satisfaction, he is restlessly toiling day and night and running after a mirage; an illusion of satisfaction. This directionless effort is, in fact, making him more and more dissatisfied thus making him wander in the wilderness.

If we just compare the development made during the last few decades, we find that lot of infrastructure such as highways, roads, airways, waterways, railways along with utilities have been developed. More houses, buildings, transport, industry, huge projects are being added to take care of the increasing human population. A lot of development has happened in the agriculture and food industry, power sector, defense, space, energy, education, and health sectors.

Despite all development, we have not been able to eliminate the miseries of this world. Still, people in some part of the world are dying of malnutrition, hunger, and lack of Medicare although there is no shortage of food, medicines, and doctors in this world. We don’t lack resources, we lack compassion and will to help others( COMPASSION ) . We live in very narrow contours of compassion and don’t share our possessions with those who are in need, although every religion of the world teaches us to help the needy.

Unplanned and excessive mining, construction of huge tunnels and roads, railway tracks, over the ground as well as under the ground have definitely disturbed the environment, ecology, and so, the balance of nature. Our planet has an abundance capacity to bear the load and shocks of development but that capacity is not unlimited. It does have a limit, and once we exceed the limit, there is bound to be some reaction and which has started happening.

Mankind is the only race which leaves no stone unturned to pollute the overground, underground, and in the atmosphere resources which in fact are beneficial for him, little realizing that the earth and the atmosphere also have the life which needs nourishment for their sustenance ( SAVE THE EARTH ). Disturbance and destruction beyond a point are bound to compel the earth to react. Why are we blind to these reactions which have started giving their signals in the form of change in weather, unprecedented floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, volcano eruptions, wind and snow storms. Have not we seen mighty mountains crumbling like mounds of sand? The breaking of mountains can cause a temporary blockage of the rivers thus creating huge reservoirs of water and which can create havoc once these temporary blockages give in to the hydraulic pressure created by the stored water. We are unmindfuly polluting the rivers, oceans, and other water bodies which are a lifeline for the entire life on this planet.

Cruelty against nature is bound to produce negative results. We do need crops, plants, water, and trees for a living but we have to keep a balance between the development and destruction of the planet and the atmosphere(  NATURE’s EQUILIBRIUM  ). In the ancient times and even at present, in some leading religions of the world, rivers, lakes, oceans and some trees are considered to be holly and are worshiped. People used to throw coins as an offering in these water bodies. The coins used to be made of copper, silver, or gold and all these metals purify water. Watering the plants was considered as Punya( Sacred deed, virtue ). The purpose of these religious beliefs was to keep water bodies clean and pollution free. Cutting certain trees such as Peepal (Banyan), plants, even their branches was considered a sin. All this was to save and protect the environment and ecology. The love and fear of God were always kept in mind while dealing with the people and the environment. Although all days are alike yet certain days of the week were fixed to be considered as more holy and sacred for special prayers. Only pious deeds were done on these designated days. The purpose was to not let the minds of people lose sight of prayers, good deeds, and to remain connected with the lord for ensuring a blissful living.

In the name of development, we have polluted the atmosphere and made the earth a fragile planet, which is not prepared to bear more disturbance and load. The human’s population is increasing whereas the number of trees is on the decrease. With more roads, buildings, houses, and other infrastructure, the area under green cover is decreasing thus making it difficult to meet the required level of oxygen in the air. It is perhaps due to this factor that the man who considers himself as the most intelligent of all species, is trying to discover life and good environment on other planets in the universe by making huge sacrifices of resources which otherwise can be utilized for making this world as a heaven.

Perhaps we have not understood the true meaning of development. Development should ensure good health for all, a tension free life, contentment, respect, elimination of bias towards anyone, good morals, and a heart full of compassion. All these will make us true human beings and deserve to be called the ‘Top of the creation’. Otherwise, we are as good or as bad as other creatures. Have we achieved this by the way we are making development? More roads, more transport has resulted in more pollution and more accidents. There are more medicines and more qualified doctors yet there are more dangerous and fatal diseases. The number of cancer, heart attacks, and other killer diseases is on the rise. Nations have become rich and strong and have accumulated heavy stocks of weapons of mass destruction. Of what use is this development? This so-called development has changed our perceptions and ways of thinking and beliefs. Corruptions, drinking, telling lies for personal gains, cheating, adultery etc. were considered as the biggest sins but with the development, these sins are considered as a way of modern life and are recognized by the society with esteem.  Real development is an evolution of a better life. We the humans are believed to have evolved from lower species to higher species through a very long period and that is the real development.

We need to divert this direction of development towards a better life, character building and values of life. The lifeline of the human race needs to be protected. All life on this earth to be respected and protected by eliminating pollution of any type. Saving the environment is not the sole responsibility of the state. Everyone has to contribute his bit to this noble cause. Trees should not be cut unless it is extremely unavoidable. We should plant five trees against the cutting of one tree. Everyone must plant at least two trees every year in order to make good the loss already done to the environment. We have to ensure peaceful coexistence between men, animal, and the environment. That will be the development in the real sense.

 

 

BANKS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Banks at present are under tremendous stress because of ever-rising nonperforming assets (NPAs) and huge frauds which have taken a big toll on their profits, thus resulting into deterioration in their balance sheets as well as the brand image in the eyes of the public. Under these testing times, Banks are facing huge challenges which need to be faced with courage, maturity, dedication, hard work and tact. The challenges at present are enumerated as under:-

  1. The health of the Banks:-  The mounting NPAs, losses due to big frauds and continuous increase in operating expenses due to periodic increase in various types of variable costs such as salary, fuel, rent, and boarding lodging expenses are a big challenge for the banks to meet. These are a serious threat to the overall health of the banks. Concerned with this trend The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has offered a shockingly meager increase of only 2% to the bankers during the negotiations for the revision of their salary. This may be a cruel joke with the bankers but it speaks volumes about the health of the banks.
  2. Keeping the flock together:- Under the stress on resources, the workers get demoralized and start losing interest in the institution. Some may try to change job or search for the greener pastures. Only a team with high moral and a deep sense of belonging (A SENSE OF BELONGING)can keep the institution strong. This challenge needs a good and inspiring leadership at the top who could keep the flock together by providing guidance, hope, and good future to the stakeholders.
  3. Maintaining a sustainable growth:- With the graphs showing downwards trends, it is becoming difficult to manage growth in face of the tough national and international competition. All high-value proposals of multinational companies are taken by foreign banks who provide them credit at very cheaper rates because their cost of funds is very low. They can afford to give loans at thinner spreads and still make handsome profits because of high volumes and low cost of transactions. Because of reduced interests on deposits, the depositors are not attracted towards banks as in some cases, the net interest income after payment of income tax doesn’t cover the cost of inflation. Added to this is the fear in minds of the depositors about the introduction of a new law about bail-in in the banking sector, which though has been put on the back burners but people still have a fear in mind that the ghost may reappear at any time. They ponzy schemes and the crypto currencies like the Bitcoins have taken a big toll on the deposits of the banks. In view of stress on resources,  the banks are unable to fund large proposals.
  4. In-cumbersome procedures:-The age-old procedures of processing proposals with a lot of paperwork especially for the small traders and businesses and other small loans, discourage the perspective loanees from coming forward. Although some progress has been made in simplifying the procedure yet a lot needs to be done in order to attract customers.
  5. Comparatively Smaller unit size and strength of Banks:- Barring very few banks like State bank of India, the size, strength, capital base, and technological exposure of our banks is no match with the foreign banks. With the globalization and the world becoming a global village, our banks have to compete with the foreign banks. This is not possible unless we match their strength as well as the cost of operations.
  6. Diminishing of the physical interface:- With the introduction of technology in the banks, there is less interface with the customers as most of the transactions are done through the internet, mobile, or online banking, as is done in the foreign countries. Our culture, traditions, and behavior are different from theirs. Face to face interaction has an element of emotion to which we are used to, and the absence of which creates dryness in the relationship. With the increased size of business as well as the number of customers, it may be difficult to keep interface contact with them.
  7. Replacing the outdated technological infrastructure:- In order to match the competitors, the technological infrastructure needs to be updated or replaced with the more sophisticated and efficient one. This may not be economically feasible for the weak banks but in the face of competition and to ensure sustainable growth it becomes imperative to go for it. To stay in the market, an appreciable increase in the volume of business can only take care of the cost factor involved in the upgrading of electronic infrastructure. Only big volumes can reduce the cost of the transaction. The recent case of heavy costs incurred by banks while replacing the currency note holding trays of lakhs of ATMs, when the Govt. introduced new currency notes in place of old notes of different denominations is a live example of updating technology under compulsion in order to stay active in the market.
  8. Strengthening of internal controls:- In view of the rising NPAs and incidences of frauds, the strengthening of internal controls (DEFECTS IN BANK AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS) at any cost has become very urgent. The recovery of NPAs and strengthening of internal controls, management audit, effective inspections and audits of all operational activities, and forensic audits may add costs to the already burdened banks but there is no escape and must be activated in a mission mode in order to regain the public confidence.
  9. Skill building and succession planning:- Advance training in specialized fields and skill upgrading of staff is need of the hour. Gone are the days when banking was every body’s job and bankers used to be a jack of all trades but masters of none. Now with a lot of advancement in the banking field, new innovative ideas are the order of the day in order to beat the competition and the challenges. Value addition to banking products with fine packing and branding which may suit the tastes, requirements, and choices of the customers have to be tailored in order to stay ahead in the competitive atmosphere. A robust and sustainable succession planning must be done at least for the next two decades and which may be reviewed and upgraded periodically.
  10. Setting up an advisory for the clients and brand building:- The Brand building is a long and continuous process. Successful leaders have built successful Brands which have resulted in heavy returns for their businesses. A product can be easily copied by anyone but a brand can’t be copied. Banks need to attract more clients by providing them with the products suitable to their requirements and choice. The markets and businesses now are not protected against competition from across the international borders especially after the signing of the world trade agreement. Now only the strongest,  the fittest, and those who can afford to adopt a change can survive; others are bound to vanish from the scene. Under such circumstances, banks are bound to suffer losses as their products are exposed to greater risks. This is one of the reasons for a spurt in the level of NPAs of banks in the last few years.                                                                                                                                           THIS IS A BIG CHALLENGE FOR THE BANKS AND FOR MEETING THE SAME BANKS NEED TO PROVIDE EXPERT ADVICE TO THEIR CLIENTS AND FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEIR SURVIVAL. BANKS NEED TO ESTABLISH ADVISORY WITH EXPERTS WHO COULD PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO THEIR CLIENTS FOR SURVIVAL. The upcoming of big Malls, online shopping through big international giants like AMAZON, ALIBABA, FLIPKART, SNAPDEAL etc have adversely affected the retail market in the country. In order to compete with these big sharks, the retailers have to come up with a matching model of business in the market. Banks have to come up with new innovative models for their clients in their own interests.
  11. Retaining the existing clients:- In view of the tough competition in the sector, banks have a big challenge ahead in retaining the existing clients not speak of adding more to their kitty. The clients have various options and opportunities available to them, so the banks need to ensure that none of the good clients slips out of their grip. Gone are the days when there used to be a customer loyalty and attachment with their banks. Now the customers change banks more often than their vehicles. A regular contact with the customer/ holding customer meets by higher executives whose words and decisions matter need to be organized in order to create more confidence and bonding with the customers. Good leaders are good listeners and people love to be listened to. Promoting and advertising of banks products is very necessary. One of the cheapest ways to promote and advertise banks products is to feed their salient features as caller tunes into thousands of the mobile phones of staff members. In addition to products, the caller tune can be made to contain a mission or a brand promoting song. 

Good leaders have the tact and the wisdom to convert their weaknesses into their strengths and challenges into opportunities. All that is required is a strong will, dedication, a deep sense of belonging to the institution, and a good team of dedicated staff.

OPPORTUNITIES:- While there are big challenges, there exist equal opportunities also. Some of the opportunities available to banks are…..

  1. Big market and big population:- The size of the market is fast increasing and in order to meet the requirements of the second largest population of the world, which is increasing by 20 million souls every year, ample opportunities are becoming available  to the banks to finance in all sectors, may it be agriculture, horticulture and allied, industry and manufacturing, trade and services, infrastructure, mining, shipping, transport, power, tourism and so on. In addition to this, banks have the opportunities to go for business beyond the international boundaries as the entire world is open to them for doing business. All that is required is strength and will.
  2.  The country still not fully developed:- The country is still not fully developed and there is a lot of scope for investment in almost all sectors of the economy. Still, we are calling for FDI in various fields for economic development. Banks need to enlarge their capital and size to substitute the FDI. There is no dearth of opportunities, banks need to redraw their working models suiting the economic activity and matching the foreign banks.
  3.  Advisory services:- With the advent of an open economy, there is a need to change business models in almost all sectors. Banks can provide services for providing training to clients in order to take up new business models and earn some fees and attract customers. This is already being done on a small scale by banks and govt. like some awareness programs for artisans, farmers, and agriculturists etc. EDP(entrepreneurship development programs) are conducted by EDI in the country where banks can participate and attract young budding entrepreneurs.

Money blocked in NPAs and loss assets:- There is a lot of money blocked in NPAs and loss assets on account of money lost in frauds and for which banks have already made provisions out of their incomes. These block of funds are in a way HARD AND A LITTLE TOUGH MINES of reserves for the banks. Any recovery from these heads adds to the income and overall health of the banks. These reserves must be tapped by effective recovery techniques (Management of NPAs -Some recovery techniques.) and maximum effort needs to be made to address further slippage to this category. (Bank’s NPAs. Causes and Remedies.)

Rod and reward:- Banks must not spare the rod wherever required and should not become a miser while promoting the talent and rewarding the performers.

Challenges make one more strong. Challenges provide an opportunity to face hard situations and increase one’s self-confidence. They provide an opportunity to prove your will and strength. A nation becomes strong only when it faces challenges and so are the banks. Banks have to take these challenges in the right perspective which ultimately will change their fate.

AGRICULTURE: A SERIOUS PRIORITY.

Food is the basic necessity of all living beings, and the humans are the only species who toil to grow different varieties of eatables for satisfying their hunger as well as taste. Millions of other species depend wholly on nature for food and consume very few unprocessed items throughout their life, in contrast to humans who need thousands of items differently processed in hundreds of ways in order not only to satisfy hunger but also the taste. This run for variety and taste leads to hundreds of complicated diseases and for the remedy of which he requires thousands of drugs and medicines for which he has again to depend upon agriculture.

To meet the basic requirements, production of varieties of food grains, fruits, poultry and the allied items, agriculture and the allied activities need to be given a top priority. Although a lot of development has been made in the agriculture sector including the allied activities such as horticulture, floriculture, apiculture, fishery, animal rearing, dairy, and poultry farming as well as growing of medicinal plants, yet there is a mismatch between the efforts, planning, level of production, storing, value additions, marketing, and pricing. A lot needs to be done in the field of proper planning and management of agricultural production by the concerned agencies/departments associated with this important and vital sector. All the stakeholders such as agriculture deptt. of the concerned governments, agriculture scientists, their field staff, concerned officers from electric and irrigation deptt and the bankers, especially in the underdeveloped and developing countries need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the farmers in the fields. The approach of all the concerned has to be focussed and a target-oriented and not as a mere casual social responsibility.

PROBLEMS

  • In the absence of proper and timely support and guidance especially to the marginal, small, and medium farmers they are unable to manage a balance between production, supply and demand. The incidence of continuous drought or floods leaves them in distress. Their absolute poverty gets further burdened by the bank loans they have availed. Farmers by nature are shy and hesitant about visiting various govt. offices especially which are located in the far-off cities. Under these circumstances, they are exploited by the comparatively better off people in the society including the politicians. This exploitation has discouraged them from their traditional activity since ages and compels them to migration to other activities by disposing of their land. Many such farmers go into depression and resort to suicides or become landless laborers. Maximum migration has happened in agriculture sector than in any other during the last few decades. These dangerous trends of migration and suicides are a blot on the society and the nation as a whole, so need a serious thought. WAIVING OF LOANS IS NOT THE SOLUTION. IT DOESN’T EMPOWER A FARMER IN ANY MANNER. Unless he is empowered by providing timely support, and proper guidance, he can’t come out of the vicious circle of poverty.
  • Agricultural land is shrinking day by day with the development of infrastructure, industry, services sector and housing. Fertile land especially around the cities and towns and along the highways is being converted into business markets, big housing projects, malls and palaces for holding big functions. A suitable policy needs to be made to take care of this dangerous trend.
  • Maintaining the fertility of the soil needs a serious thought. In order to produce more, we are resorting to excessive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. They not only spoil the fertility and aroma of the soil but are harmful to the entire living creatures including humans.
  • We are still resorting to flooding type of irrigation on a very large scale and thus wasting the water which is already in scarcity. In absence of proper distribution of water and proper management of existing canals, we are forced to resort to the drilling for water from the underground sources which in addition to being a costly proposition also disturbs the balance of nature.
  • Inspite of so much development we have failed to make value addition to our agricultural produce at the farmers level. This benefit of value addition by proper grading, attractive and convenient to handle packing, is reaped by someone else.
  • Convenient and cheap availability of duly certified high yielding hybrid seeds as well as replacing the traditional fruit orchards into high-density orchards are still in the infancy stage and need to be taken up on priority.

SOLUTIONS

  • Development in agriculture and allied activities needs to be taken as a top priority and handled in a mission mode. All concerned agencies associated with the development of agriculture, horticulture, and all activities related thereto, need to work unitedly in complete harmony with targets of final results fixed for each agency. Agriculture is not an indoor activity so the entire support system has to move to the field and stand by the farmer from sowing to the harvesting of the crop/produce. The concerned persons from the agriculture, irrigation, flood control, and power deptt. should camp in the field rather than remaining in the offices in the cities. They should ensure that all support and guidance is available to the farmer on spot. A combined support is required. Only credit dispensation to farmers would not be sufficient. ONLY MONEY CAN’T MAKE THE MARE GO.
  • There should be a complete ban on the conversion and use of agricultural land for any purpose other than agriculture. As far as possible all other activities need to be carried out on the barren and uncultivatable land. More and more land needs to be brought under agriculture by levelling and using scientific technology.
  • Use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and insecticides need to be gradually replaced by organic manures. Organic farming is a mantra for improving the lot of the farmers as it is cheaper and the product sells at a better rate. With a change in the lifestyle of people, they are more inclined towards organic products. Production of vermi compost which takes about one-month in making from the dung of cows and buffaloes is comparatively easier than the traditional dumping of the animal dung for years. Vermicompost is easy to make in a very short time and is very healthy organic manure. Similarly converting all types of dry grass, weed, stubble, green grass and leaves by mixing with dung in a scientific manner into green manure, saves money and the soil as well as the environment from pollution. LIKE GREEN AND WHITE REVOLUTION WHICH HAVE CHANGED THE LOT OF THE FARMERS AND STATUS OF THE COUNTRY, THE BROWN REVOLUTION i.e CONVERTING AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE, AND FLORICULTURE WASTE INTO ORGANIC MANURE WITHOUT USE OF ANY CHEMICALS, NEEDS TO BE TAKEN IN A MISSION MODE.
  • Making canal irrigation more effective by plugging the leakages and proper cleaning of the same in order to ensure that there is no wastage of water and it reaches the tail end. Instead of flooding type of irrigation, sprinkle and drip irrigation be practised in order to make the best use of available water.  Rainwater harvesting is the need of the hour so all water bodies need to be properly maintained. Flood channels need to be developed and properly maintained by erecting protection walls. The underground water table needs to be charged especially around the tube and bore-wells.
  • Conservation of water is the necessity in the present times. A very inspiring, innovative and successful effort has been made in the remote cold deserts of Ladakh by a young engineer Mr. Sonam Wangchuk for conserving water by making artificial glaciers out of running water from the upstream. These artificial glaciers melt during summer and provide water for irrigation. We should take inspiration from such innovators who did it in the cold desert.
  • There is hardly any value addition to crop, vegetables, and fruits at the hands of the producer resulting in less price being realised by him. Either the middlemen or the big traders who have resources and expertise reap the benefits of value addition by proper grading and attractive packaging of the produce. In absence of cold chain transportation system and cold storing facilities available to the producer, he is compelled to dispose of his produce at throwaway price lest his produce becomes stale and starts decaying. The poor fellow is exploited by the private market regulators. It is an irony that though being an agricultural economy we are importing both vegetables and fruits from small countries whereas a big chunk of our own produce gets spoiled due to less shelf life. We need to enhance the shelf life of our fruits and vegetables by developing infrastructure like cold chain transportation system and cold storing in order to increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables in order to check their wastage.
  •   In many cases, the farmer is unable to realise even the input cost. This frustration is visible when the farmers have thrown potatoes, tomatoes, and onions and other produce on the roads in protests and anger. The government needs to come forward and devise a system for a proper price management, procurement, and distribution of the farmer’s produce. Contract farming and forward contract system/commodity trading through exchanges may be of help to manage the prices.
  • The difference between the price at which a farmer sells and the price at which a consumers purchase is huge. Neither the producer nor the consumer is benefited. The huge margin is pocketed by someone else who exploits both of them. This has to be identified and the system put on rails so that the market is properly regulated.
  • All required ingredients such as hybrid seed, fertilisers, equipment and medicines for the crops should be made available to the farmers from a place convenient to them and that too in time.

Unless the interests of the farmers are safeguarded and the agriculture made an attractive, viable and profitable vocation migration from this sector would continue unabated thereby putting this important sector to serious problems.

There is a continuous growth in population on the globe and requirement of the food items is increasing every day. In India, the growth rate in the population is twenty million per year which creates additional demand for the food products every year. Unless proper planning is not done and implemented on the ground by all the concerned agencies, it is feared that we would become a  food deficient nation thus subjecting the country to exploitation by the food-surplus countries.

Agriculture as such needs to be given a focused attention in order of ensuring good income for the farmers so that people are attracted towards this sector.

 

 


 

 

COMPASSION.

Compassion is an attribute of God. It is in a way a reflection of God itself. All creatures of this universe possess this attribute of God in one way or the other of different degrees. Some are more compassionate than the others and some may be less but all have traces of this Godly attribute present in them.

Have not we seen a bitch feeding the orphaned kittens along with her own puppies, although cat and dog are arch rivals?. Or a shark taking a helpless drowning dog on her back rescuing him to the shore. This is compassion which is present in all creatures in one or the other form.

Humans who are considered as more closer to God and having this attribute in abundance, but with the over influence of the mind or the Satan or the Shaitan on him, this basic quality remains overshadowed or subdued. We do feel an urge to help the needy when they are in distress or need our help and care and at the same time something takes over on our concern for others and the whole attention gets diverted from the feelings of compassion for others. This negative tendency in the humans who are becoming more self-centred and selfish in the modern times of rush for everything is the real cause for dissatisfaction, tension, and depression in life.

How alighted and satisfied we feel when we are cared for by someone. How happy we are when we are assured and are confident that someone is there to come to our rescue in case of an adversity. This one-way traffic is a sign of sheer selfishness. Can someone else also hope for our help and assistance? Are we mentally and voluntarily prepared to come forward to help others? We must; in case we want to achieve happiness and satisfaction. ‘TREAT OTHERS WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO TREAT YOU’ is an old adage. Love begets love and hate begets hate. As you sow so shall ye reap. It is as such completely in one’s own hands to remain happy and satisfied by reciprocating the same with others.

In case you are interested to taste some abuses or get few slaps on your cheek, go and slap someone or abuse someone and see the results. The results would be surprising, as you may get your choicest abuses showered on you as well as a volley of slaps on your cheeks to your complete satisfaction. This is an example of reaction to which we all are subjected to. We don’t have or we don’t maintain our own characteristics and qualities but our life and actions have become a  mere reaction. We always react not act and this reaction produces heat, hatred, and animosity which is a cause of frustration, dissatisfaction, and depression for us. REAL PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION COMES BY GIVING, FORGIVING AND CARING FOR OTHERS AND NEVER BY HOPING AND  WISHING TO BE RECEIVING  AND BEING CARED  BY OTHERS.

Forgive and Forget is the mantra for a happy life. In the circumstances when someone abuses and frowns upon you, maybe for any reason, and instead of reacting with double the force which is bound to create a chain reaction, if you just control yourself, force a pleasant smile on your face and beg pardon from the other person, although for no fault of yours; just feel the experience. Your opponent will feel ashamed for his behaviour towards you. Embrace him and give him a warm hug and a loving pat. It may seem to be very difficult but the results are amazing. An intellectual person has said, ” If there is one fool let there be not two”. Always try to avoid situations which result in exchanging of heated arguments and ultimate quarrels. Always try to have a compassionate feeling and attitude towards others. This makes life easier for you as well as for others.

We should never fail in our duty to help others as long as we live. Compassion turns the deadliest foes into friends. We should continue increasing our area of compassion throughout our life. This would create an atmosphere of peace all around us. Kindness doesn’t cost anything but instead, it gives us a lot of satisfaction and peace of mind. There should never be any dearth of love and compassion in our heart for anyone without any discrimination of caste, colour, or race.

No one has ever achieved peace and satisfaction by amassing wealth or by owning huge stocks of worldly materials by working day and night like a slave, contrarily he becomes more greedy in the mad race of more and more material. For doing this we sacrifice the lofty principles of life and become more distressed and dissatisfied. None in this world has ever achieved peace, satisfaction, and happiness out of the materialistic possessions as the lust for the same never gets satisfied. We become slaves of the possessions and not their masters. We should never fail in our duty to help the needy and our heart should start melting with the passion of compassion for those who need our attention and help. This feeling will burn any negativity from our mind and give us a lot of satisfaction.

A compassionate heart brings us closer to God who is an embodiment of love, peace, and tranquillity. We need to behave better than any other creature in this universe only then will we really deserve to be called humans. Only compassion and love will bring satisfaction to the hearts and peace in the world.