The number of rural landless families increased from 35 per cent in 1987 to 45 per cent in 1999, further to 55 per cent in 2005. The farmers are destined to die of starvation or suicide. Replying to the Short Duration Discussion on Import of Wheat and Agrarian Distress on May 18, 2006, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed the Rajya Sabha that roughly 1, 00,000 farmers committed suicide during the period 1993-2003 mainly due to indebtedness.

In his interview to The Indian Express on November 15, 2005, Sharad Pawar said: The farming community has been ignored in this country and especially so over the last eight to ten years. The total investment in the agriculture sector is going down. In the last few years, the average budgetary provision from the Indian Government for irrigation is less than 0.35 percent.

During the post-reform period, India has been shining brilliantly with a growing number of billionaires. Nobody has taken note of the sufferings of the family members of those unfortunate hundred thousand farmers.

Further, the proportion of people depending in India on agriculture is about 60 % whereas the same for the UK is 2 %, USA 2 %and Japan 3 %. The developed countries, having a low proportion of population in agriculture, have readily adopted globalization which favors more the growth of the manufacturing and service sectors.

About the plight of agriculture in developing countries, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said: Trade agreements now forbid most subsidies excepted for agricultural goods. This depresses incomes of those farmers in the developing countries who do not get subsidies. And since 70 per cent of those in the developing countries depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, this means that the incomes of the developing countries are depressed. But by whatever standard one uses, todays international trading regime is unfair to developing countries.

He also pointed out: The average European cow gets a subsidy of $ 2 a day (the World Bank measure of poverty); more than half the people in the developing world live on less than that. It appears that it is better to be a cow in Europe than to be a poor person in a developing country.

Demoting Agriculture

The Economic Survey reports released till 1991 contained the Chapters in the following order: (1) Introduction, (2) Agricultural Production, (3) Industrial Performance and Policies, (4) Infrastructure, (5) Human Resources, (6) Prices, Price Policy and Public Distribution System, (7) Fiscal Policy and Government Budget, (8) Monetary and Credit Developments, (9) The External Sector and (10) Problems and Prospects.

In the Economic Survey 1991-92, Finance Minister Manmohan Singh recast the Chapters in the following order: (1) Introduction, (2) Public Finance, (3) Money and Credit, (4) Prices and Distribution, (5) Balance of Payments, (6) Industry, (7) Agriculture, (8) Infrastructure and (9) Social Sectors.

It is not known as to why the Finance Minister demoted the importance of agriculture that has about 90 per cent population from the second place to the seventh in the annual Economic Survey of the country. In a way does it symbolize the low importance deliberately given to the growth of the agriculture sector in the scheme of globalization?

Strategy of Globalization

In the Report (2006) East Asian Renaissance, World Bank Advisor Dr Indermit Gill stated: Cities are at the core of a development strategy based on international integration, investment and innovation. East Asia is witnessing the largest rural-to-urban shift of population in history. Two million new urban dwellers are expected in East Asian cities every month for the next 20 years. This will mean planning for and building dynamic, connected cities that are linked both domestically and to the outside world so that economic growth continues and social cohesion is strengthened.

The market economy seems to be more concerned with the growth of consumerism to attract the high income groups who are mostly in the cities in the developing countries. Rural economy and the agricultural sector were out of focus in the strategy of globalization.