Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
As the Covid 19 vaccine roll out starts from India, the nation which traditionally vaccinates two third of the global population, a message goes out loud and clear. If China can hurt the world then India can heal its wounds. The virus from Wuhan that killed more than half a million people worldwide in the year 2020 devastated the global economy with the top ten economies other than China recording negative growth. The vaccine development usually a 5 year process saw an innovative reduction to a year by scientists around the world. Several western nations like UK, US and Canada started distribution of Corona Virus vaccines last month largely from Pfizer. The Chinese and Russian vaccines still reportedly in stage 3 trials are being given to many Middle East and African nations. With the two vaccines from India now ready for rollout a truly scalable counter offensive has been launched against Coronavirus.
3 Vaccines rolled out, a dozen more in line
At 5.40 AM on the 12th January 2021 the first consignment of Covishield Vaccine was despatched from Serum Institute of India Pune after the world’s largest vaccine maker got approval from the Indian Authorities. Three temperature controlled trucks containing 478 boxes of vaccines each left for Pune Airport, with each box weighing 32 kg, revealed a source involved in the vaccine transport arrangements.
Despite the Corona virus pandemic and the repeated lockdowns, the disruptions and job losses and and the crisis in every major economy, the world bounced back rolling out at least 3 vaccines that completed stage 3 testing and a dozen more that had completed 2 rounds testing and were conducting the final efficacy tests on their products. The 3 vaccines that received approval from most of the Western economies were from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
India the largest global producers of vaccine gave approval to two vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured at Serum Institutes Pune’s facility under the brand name Covishield along with the Bharat Biotech producing Covaxin at its Hyderabad plant under licence from ICMR with indigenous technology. Covaxin is under 3rd stage trials the rollout of which is planned by end February after its results are released and approved. India’s vaccine roll out is significant for the poor across the world because the vaccine prices are affordable.
How China Hurt the world
That China hurt the world by letting the virus spread and intentionally delayed disclosure to WHO and the international community is fairly established by now. Here is the chronological sequence of events that is now available with documented proof from major global publications.
1st January 2020 : Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market area of Wuhan was sealed due to a mysterious respiratory disorder An informative National Geography article points the finger of suspicion to the Wuhan wet markets and why they were responsible.
7th January 2020 : China identified the virus as a novel Coronavirus.
11th January 2020 : The first deaths happened in China
13th January 2020 : The virus spreads to Thailand
15th January 2020 : China imposes travel restrictions from Wuhan to other parts of mainland China but keeps international flights open and the world contracts the Covid 19 virus. Business Insider in another informative article explained “Everything to know about the mysterious coronavirus from Wuhan “
The Guardian in another investigative article exposed how China locked down early without informing WHO. The traffic data from Tom Tom Traffic Index explains the way how China locked down internally in the month of January and February but the rest of the world getting delayed information could lock down only in March after the virus had uncontrollably spread. So the death count in China remains lower than 5000 while more than half a million people died worldwide The scientific community of the world and the medical fraternity and the Corona healthcare, sanitation, emergency services and police across the world chipped in to see that the world recovers quickly. The vaccine companies innovated to bring out vaccines in record time. These vaccines will rescue the world from Covid 19 and India leads the healing process producing two thirds of the world vaccines.
China says political motives behind India’s vaccine rollout
This story was perhaps anticipated by none other than the Global Times the official Chinese mouthpiece. In an editorial by expert Jiang Chunlai from Jilin University's School of Life Sciences, on 6 January Global Times admitted grudgingly that “ India's vaccine export plan could be good news for global market despite political, economic motive: experts”
Here is what it said
India makes about 60 percent of vaccines globally and many countries are eagerly waiting for it to begin shipping doses, according to the BBC report.
Experts suggested that India's vaccines are no less competitive than Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in both research and production capacity, considering that India has the world's largest vaccine manufacturer and lower costs in labor and facilities.
Despite India's reputation for generic drugs, the country is not behind China in vaccine R&D, Jiang Chunlai from Jilin University's School of Life Sciences, who had visited Bharat Biotech, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"India has the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India that has a very mature production and supply capacity, even stronger than some Western countries. Indian vaccine manufacturers also have a much earlier cooperation with global institutes including WHO, GAVI and the Pan American Health Organization in South America (PAHO), and earned their trust decades ago," he said.
"They take a closer approach to Western standards in vaccine development and regulation that has also helped their exports," Jiang said.
The view became trending globally as China and India are engaged in a bitter border confrontation in high altitude Himalayan region of Ladakh.
The New York Times in December 2020 had given a detailed report of the India China border brawl at 14000 feet in freezing Himalayan province of Ladakh The NYT report highlights the border brawl and consequent arms buildup along the 2000 mile border and also the skirmishes China has had with other Asian neighbours like Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia and how China has changed after the coming to power of Xi Jinping.
The confrontation with India “fits a broader pattern of Chinese assertiveness,” said Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington, noting that it was the fourth flare-up since China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, rose to power at the end of 2012.
So the Global Times report was instantly picked up by several media organisations and put the Chinese leadership on the backfoot.
The report whose link has been given above was carried by Yahoo news and reproduced by several other media sites globally. It clearly shows the Chinese media grudgingly acknowledge that India can heal the hurt the Wuhan Virus has brought about.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Myth 1 Small and Marginal Farmer can’t be productive.
India has the second-highest acreage of arable agriculture land next to the US. As per 2010-11 census, India had an average land holding of 1.15 hectares against 0.6 hectares of China. China has two times more farmers than India and three times more marginal farmers and share cropper. Despite this China produces 40% more paddy and three times more fruit with lower arable land dedicated to these crops. It is not only a manufacturing power but the world’s largest exporter of processed food. India’s two dozen food parks started a decade back but has a capital utilisation of less than 20% with little or no marketing or processing infrastructure.
Myth 2 India’s water shortage is due to rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.
Central Water Commission (CWC) report states that 85.3% of India’s water was consumed by the agriculture sector in the year 2000. Since then no countrywide study has been done on sectoral water consumption but India became a water deficient country as per the 2010–2011 census, when it’s per capita availability of water fell to 1,545 cubic metres per person. This disproportionate use of water happens primarily in two states of northern India that has canal infrastructure and cultivate crops that are water intensive.
Myth 3 : MSP helps small and marginal farmers
Punjab and Haryana account for a third of paddy and wheat procured at MSP by FCI. In the year 2019-2020 this rose by 15% to touch Rs 56000 crores for Punjab and Rs 24000 crore for Haryana.
The two states have just 5% of the country’s marginal farmers and 27% of rich farmer’s. So it is the rich farmer who gets maximum benefit of MSP and not the marginal farmer. Besides with emphasis on MSP procurement of wheat and rice the farmers have no incentive to diversify into production of pulses,fruits and vegetables which are often insufficient that will be beneficial for even the small
and marginal farmer.
For more on the subject read the extract 3 Myths of Indian Farmlands that needs to be dispelled :
Page 135 to 137 Chapter 12 Indian Agriculture at Crossroads
India Emerging Policy Paralysis to Hyper Economics published by Bloomsbury in April 2019.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Farm Bill 2020 passed in September 2020 permitted setting up of new markets while allowing the existing APMC Mandi’s to function. It merely increased the farmer’s buying options that set the cat amongst the pigeons in the APMC Mandi’s of Punjab that had been a monopoly market for FCI ( Govt buying) for the past few decades. The Union Government during the year had also increased procurement under MSP in the financial year 2019-20 by 15% benefiting Punjab and Haryana the most. The FCI procured rice and wheat of Rs 56,000 crores from Punjab alone which was a third of its total procurement. If we look at the statistics we find Punjab accounted for 21% of the FCI procurement for rice which is way above what it procures from other rice growing states like UP 7%, Tamilnadu 4.2%, Bengal 3.5% and Bihar 2.5%. Similarly in wheat procurement Punjab accounted for 37.8% and Haryana 27.3% of FCI’s procurement though a dozen Indian states produce wheat.
“ In 2019-20 alone, government agencies procured 201.14 lakh tonnes of wheat and 226.56 lakh tonnes of paddy from Punjab and Haryana. That, at their respective MSPs of Rs 1,925 and Rs 1,835 per quintal, would have been worth Rs 80,293.21 crore. And all these purchases were done in the mandis” wrote the Indian Express in an insightful article titled ‘Farm Bills 2020: Actual text vs perception’. Yet a month later Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh bypassed the Central laws 3 bills to bypass the farm bill 2020 . and warned of unrest if the farm bills were not revoked. Why ?
This was because his plan to waive the farm loans of Arthiya’s was reportedly not accepted by the Centre. So both farmer unions and the Arthiyas were asked to gherao Delhi which they have done so effectively forcing the Government on the backfoot. This is why the Arthiya association is behind the protest by the farmer unions against Farm Bill 2020 and BKU and other farm unions are being financed to stay put if necessary for months. After all it is a case of retaining status quo which gave Punjab and Haryana the unfair advantage of Rs 80,000 crores of centres FCI purchases at MSP for the last few decades. The state earned taxes of Rs 6500 crores and Rs 2000 crores commission was earned by the Mandi Dalal annually.
For further details please read the three back issues of the blog
Punjab Chief Minister Capt, Amrinder Singh will arrive and have a round of talks with the home minister Mr. Amit Shah on the 3rd of December. It will possibly lead to discussions on the loan waiver after which the siege of Delhi by Punjab farmers could be lifted. So like it or not the taxpayer has to foot the Bill for a crisis in which he has been held at ransom and made to pay.
For knowing about the structural deficiencies in farming that led to Farm Bill 2020
You can read my book
Chapter 11 Volatility in Food Prices : Can it Be Controlled
Chapter 12 Indian Agriculture at Crossroads : New Direction Needed
which discusses the 3 myths of Indian farming and wether MSP help reduce farm distress?