Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Government's Imbeclie Meteorological Department and Drought in India

There is a drought this monsoon season in India. It is now being officially acknowledged by the agriculture minister. In a recent meeting with the press Sharad Pawar - the agriculture minister - said,"be ready to face drought". This same minister, until this week was saying, "there is no drought like situation in the country yet".

Not only this, government's imbecile meteorology department is issuing one after another wrong forecast of monsoon season since mid April e.g., on 17th April Met department said, India's monsoon is likely to have average rainfall in 2012 despite fears the El Nino weather pattern may emerge in the second half of the season, the country's top weather official said, pointing to a third straight year without drought. On 15th May the Met department again said, India's 2012 monsoon rains are likely to hit the Kerala coast on time on June 1, the weather department said on Tuesday, brightening farm output prospects as farmers can plant crops like cotton and paddy on time and reap good yields. Then on 1st June when the monsoon didn't arrive, they said, monsoon rains over India's mainland will be delayed by about four days and are expected to hit the southern state of Kerala around June 5, senior weather officials said Friday. On 22nd June, when the rains are getting really delayed, Met dept was still saying, India's crucial monsoon rains are still expected to be average in 2012, the Met Department said on Friday, helping to allay concerns over farm output in the major producer and consumer of food stuffs triggered by sparse rainfall in the last few weeks. On 3rd July they were still saying, the weather office still holds to its forecast of an average monsoon this year despite the lag so far. And even last week, on July 26th, the Met dept was saying, India's crucial monsoon rains will improve in coming days, the country's weather office chief said on Thursday...the monsoon rains will "fill up" the deficiency in coming days, said L.S. Rathore, director-general of the India Meteorological Department.

You can see the constant denial of government officials about the approaching drought in India. Those farmers who rely on these government scientists to begin their agriculture activities like sowing etc., will surely get into trouble. Now, it is known that it is very difficult to forecast weather even after much of the technological improvements in recent decades. But, instead of acknowledging that it is very difficult to forecast whether accurately, the state Met department is acting as if they precisely know when the rains are going to arrive! Such political hubris are dangerous; the fatal conceit of knowledge is one of the major reasons that makes government central planning impossible.

Now, as officials acknowledge that this year India is facing drought, the busybody agriculture minister has already announced his intervention steps to bring the situation to normal. And, as is known since ages, when government says that they are going to make situation normal, situation will get even worst, and that is what is going to happen in coming days in India. This becomes clear when one looks at the kinds of steps government officials are mulling to implement to combat drought. Let's see. Yesterday the agriculture minister announced more than 1,900 crore rupee financial assistance for the rain deficient states. This simply means inflation. They also hiked the diesel subsidy to farmers by 50%. Subsidy on seeds is raised too and farmers who are forced to sow their crop again will be given compensation. All these means only one and one thing: more burden on the coerced tax-payers and higher prices of food items in future. Giving free money to farmers is not going to solve problems of Indian agriculture sector. It only results into perverse incentives for the farmers to not prepare any measures to combat such drought situation in advance. In the absence of government meddling these farmers will be inventing new techniques to cope with drought and other uncertain future situations. These measures will also divert precious resources into wrong production lines and in the hands of inefficient farmers. And all these money printing and so-called financial assistance will in the end push-up the prices of economic goods in the economy. 

As you can see, these inept politicians and bureaucrats have only one answer of every problem: Print Money!!! Such absurd policies will not change anything for better; they can only make things worst. People should now brace for higher prices of various food items.