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Book Review: A Rural Manifesto by Feroze Varun Gandhi

Before I begin my review, let me notify that this read is an 800+ pages book. Which at first, I thought I will leave this book in my #DNF list. However, as I started skimming through the pages, I was engrossed and hooked to finishing it. The book left me amused by the amount of research the author must have gone through. I am talking about the book- A Rural Manifesto: Realizing India’s Future Through Her Villages by Feroze Varun Gandhi.
About the Book
Feroze Varun Gandhi, the author of ‘A Rural Manifesto’ is a second-term Member of Parliament, who represented the Pilibhit constituency in 2009, and was elected from the Sultanpur constituency in 2014. He was the youngest ever National Secretary of the BJP from 2008–11, and the youngest ever National General Secretary of the Party from 2011–14. He is a member of its National Executive. In his book, the author talks about the effort to make Indian agriculture globally competitive.
Like I have mentioned, the author must have through an unabated amount of research before putting it into words. The book gives views on scheme and policies which are being pushed aggressively by the government centre. It speaks of the national conversation on rural distress, highlighting the potential solutions to putting the village economy on an even keel while exploring how the vast majority of India ekes out a living. The well-researched book covers facets of the Indian rural economy, with a focus on making the rural economy resilient. Know more about the book by grabbing a copy today, however, In the meantime, you can read my take on the book.
My Take on the Book
When I first started reading the book, I thought I will leave it half way to read something light, but that did not happen coz of the rich content the book had. The author focuses on all the topics related to agriculture and farmer’s problems, right from the pricing in agricultural needs, water problems, management of income and so on. The author explores the idea of farmers in Indian and their exhaustive issue faced by the rural landscape.  On a personal level, I enjoyed reading the book, because, it is filled with facts, figures, and views on rural economy, which was intriguing to learn. The book is about searching the answer on why the rural economy remains in doldrums, 6 decades after independence? It also sparks a national conversation on rural distress, highlighting the potential solutions to putting the village economy on an even keel. It determines how the vast majority of India make out a living.
This book might be a little too heavy for people who don’t enjoy reading facts and figures or which is based on economy or political subjects, for that matter.
The book has 11 chapters overall, and each chapter covers significant topics on various issues. The book has a thorough interpretation on so many important topics such as- On Agricultural Inputs, On Water Availability, On Energy Access, On agriculture marketing, On Non-Farm Income, On Handicrafts, On Rural labour, On rural education, On Rural Healthcare, On Rural Credit and A Way Forward. You may read the book if you are curious to find out and understand the detailed plight of farmers in India, or if you are looking for a serious read to learn about the truth on India rural economy. After completing the read, I feel there are certain steps which needs to be taken in order to stop the plight, a solution to bring farmer's issue to an end, a contribution to solve the problems.
In the word of the author, “The writing is on the wall: India’s small and marginal farmers will need another agricultural loan waiver. However, granted this once, it just cannot continue in the future. There are other ways to mitigate their plight. We need more subsidies on the purchase of agricultural equipment, fertilizers, and pesticides, along with expanding medical insurance coverage. In addition, the scope of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) could be increased. Allowing marginal farmers to be paid for tilling their own fields could reduce their input costs; they can’t afford other agricultural laborers and find it socially awkward to till someone else’s field. Such measures could increase their net income while reducing the scope of rural distress. Small steps like these can make a meaningful contribution to their lot.”
Book Details:
Title: A Rural Manifesto: Realizing India’s Future Through Her Villages
Author: Feroze Varun Gandhi
Hardcover: 848 pages
Price: 690
Kindle Edition: 568
Publisher: Rupa Publications India (2 December 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9353333091
ISBN-13: 978-9353333096
My Rating: 4/5



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