Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Divineguma - a way to hoodwink a nation

It is preposterous for a senior minister in government to say that the above program will uplift the lives of one million households. Just think about the logic. They are supposed to provide the basics, so that households will become self sufficient in many areas including food production, but also on livelihood development. This if one takes a five person household should positively affect 25% of the population of this country. Are they dreaming in technicolor?

The hundred rupees of seeds given to my neighbor in Hingurakgoda as part of the program did not even germinate, such is the quality of the seeds they provide. You can take a horse to water but cannot force it to drink. Understand that it is just the empowering process that the govt. should get involved in, not tell what people should do. If people are waiting for the govt. to advise them what to do then those people are not in a calibre that can even take advice.

The 500 families who were forced to lease a Dimo Batta that had been lying in Galle Face overnight so that the minister could get into the photo op are now rotting corroded because the film of salt was not washed off. They are in deep trouble trying to meet the monthly Rs22,500 lease payment.

Most people know what they want, it is not up to the govt. to tell them. It is the infrastructure in order to get what they want that the govt. should assist with. Much of the infrastructure is soft loans or microfinance(the Batta lease is at full rate with People's Bank being the main beneficiary) Then the climate to operate and whatever is provided should be of good quality and not an excuse to spend money or give their henchmen contracts in selling faulty goods.

The sad fact is that I think the Minister in charge of this project really believes it can work. That is the worrying thing. He does not realize anything about the people it is directed at. You cannot make entrepreneurs out of those who have no inclination in that direction. In my opinion it is giving false hopes to people on the margin, and continuing to keep them leashed to that hope without releasing them from this hope, by getting them to take control of their own lives and not depend on the state to help them along the way.

A person who wants to plant a coconut tree in his yard will do so Divineguma or not. Freely supplying coconut saplings willy nilly is not the answer. Considerable thought goes into this, and when things are divided amongst people everyone feels entitled to it whether they make use of it or not. So only half the seedlings will be planted properly and lets bet on it that the other half will not see the light of 5 years for the first nut.

In Sri Lanka we will take anything given free or thought to be free, even a headache. It is the unintended consequences of the recipient that I am trying to explain to farmers or rural people to avoid by listening to those who are spreading this lie.

To avoid disappointment do what you originally wanted, nothing in the Divineguma program is going to help you as the officials who are supposed to assist even don't know how. The whole program is inflate an already inflated ego of a person or persons in senior govt. positions.

Take whatever a govt. person says with a pinch of salt as it is not being said to assist you, just to massage the ego of the person making the asinine statement.

No comments: