Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Opinion: Why Hyderabad-Karnataka region did not grow like rest of Karnataka?

Last Sunday I attended a convention in Bangalore organized by institutions built by Mr. Basavaraj Patil Sedam, a well-known politician and a Rajya Sabha member. Topic of the discussion was how those migrated from Hyderabad-Karnataka region could help their motherland prosper. Dignitaries put forward their perspectives. All assembled there took oath to commit funds towards welfare of the region they originated from. It had good motive and right intentions. The leader behind this scheme, Mr. Basavaraj Patil Sedam had put all his efforts to convey this in right manner and had roped in officials, and those respected from society to have a greater buy-in and make it a movement.

But there was a big flaw in their thought process. Truth is politicians and Govt. officials are facilitators of economic growth but they cannot create it. Even if they are able to do something, they can create pockets of growth but not a full-fledged, sustainable economy. It is the majority of population and the demand for their produce drives the economy. Policies, governance helps to promote growth but there has to be underlying force in the economy to succeed. This is what the history of economics all over the world had shown us.

Let us assume Govt. has created proper policies, provided all the infrastructure needed and banks are funded with the capital required to be lent. Will that make Hyderabad-Karnataka a developed region? Not really, as reasons are many. Take the case of Bellary. It was prospering as long as there was good price for iron ore despite the lack of infra, policies etc. When China reduced its imports, there were not many takers for iron ore left in the market. So it impacted economics of Bellary. Now you can see hundreds of Earth Moving equipment lined up outside Bellary Bus Stand looking for work. This is the reality of the economy. It prospers when there is demand for products or services produced in the region.

So what are the other main produces of this region? Rice comes first to my mind. Look at those paddy farmers, are not they doing well? Why not, they are no less than those live in Bangalore in lifestyle. Then who is left behind? And why?

You pick any poor family randomly in any village or town in this region; see their income and consumption pattern. Look at their productivity. Any family which is below poverty line is sure to have more consuming mouths than working hands. It is not that all cannot find work but all of them do not want to work. At least one or two members in those families spend time lazily and they live off on the earnings of the working member, a single head many a times, burdening him and ensuring that they do not break out of poverty as a family.

Look at those families who have loads of debt and see where it all started. Most likely that loan would have origins in a grand marriage or any other family function. That means they spent more than they could afford and there is no easy way out. They are struck in the vicious cycle of debt.

Mr. Basavaraj Patil Sedam
We need to be sympathetic towards those farmers committing suicide and offer them help but the same kindness towards other poor will backfire. We will spoil them further. Those who say they do not have a roof, why cannot they build their own? Why do they wait for Govt. to help them? Who will suffer until the help arrives?

I too grew up in this region. I tried supporting many in my personal capacity but results were not encouraging. You cannot make someone work who do not want to work. There is an old saying ‘You can take a Horse to waterhole but you cannot make it drink water’. It is his choice. If those poor want to remain poor, what is there for me or you to do? If they want to break out, they will find work and also a way out of poverty.

Mr. Basavaraj Patil Sedam, please see how you can put those lazy poor to work if you want to realize your dream. There is plenty of money in this world for those who want to work but not much for those who do not respect it.