AT THE PM GATI SHAKTI TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH FOR INTEGRATED PLANNING WORKSHOP…brifing media persons are Swetika Sachan (IAS); OP Minhas (DDG, DoT), Sudip Chaudhary (CE MoRTH); Kamlesh Gosai (ED Traffic, Railway Board), Sumita Dawra (Special Secretary, DPIIT); P Swaroop (IAS, Secy, Land Reforms, Govt of Gujarat), Dipendra Singh Kushwah (IAS, Development Commissionor Govt of Maharashtra), Dr Saransh Mittar (IAS, MD, CGRDC, Govt of Chattisgarh) who guided the participants from five states of Western & Central Region

THERE is so much of talk of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gati shakti and amrit kaal and other hi fi vocabulary with thousands of crore attached to it, that my head is spinning like any ordinary aam aadmi — it’s like the BJP government wants to be remembered forever, for what? For dragging this country down to more and more bankruptcy or creation of money not legal tender – so that on a country we live on various loan clouds of money laundering and continuously keep taking away the minimum quality of livelihood which the mass of this country ekes out through hard work, dedication and honesty?
Of course, hoping for a better tomorrow with roti, kapda and makan and also affordable bijli, pani and sadak…economically priced state-of-the-art public transportation! Not failed smart cities like capital city Panaji courtesy the aya and gaya Ravans of various political scenarios.
Don’t ground level realities from the bottoms up matter at all? Or is development and progress of stunning monster highways, roadways, umpteen new government buildings (white elephants all) and festival after festival on a roll…the only way to go in our bankrupt and stressful times? Ever since the present powers-that-be discovered there is money to be made by hook or by crook in commissioning mega project after mega project and such dizzy incomprehensible talk of how India is going to be the United States of America or China of tomorrow.
Funny or not funny, nobody thinks that perhaps Germany or the Netherlands or Japan are better models to emulate – conservative yet quality-conscious about its progress and development, making a little go a long way. Of course these are developed countries where needs are met as are wants but we see none of the glorification of wealth in public life …except in the grand stand lifestyles of a Donald Trump or a Vladimir Putin!
THIS is to say we may look forward to a speeding up of progress and development in India Gati Shakti-style. Our suited, booted, tie-ed up government bureacrats from five states, mainly Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa met recently in five-star comfort as if to the manner born and discussed the problems of how to fast-forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a being a fully developed, educated, billion or trillion-dollar economy by when…2025? That’s when we will celebrate amrit kaal?
Until then India’s millionaires, billioinaires, trillionaires (21 in all or more?) may continue to stash away what I call cheat fortunes around the world in shell companies to live the good life at home and abroad, while singing sad dirges for the working classes at home struggling for jobs to live a hand-to-mouth existence? These days I, an educated media person who was more or less happy till three years ago, am paying Rs100 for a bhelpuri and Rs70 for a plain rava dosa in an Udipi eatery in Goa – Rs50 for a coconut and Rs20 for a single cucumber/carrot/tomato/green mango/drumstick, most about everything in the market place! Like I’ve observed before the only happy people today are those who’ve got a farm of their own and all our politicians have farms of their own…who doesn’t?
This is to say at all our high-end powered meetings it’s mostly a lot of tall talk, talk and talk as at the recent Regional Workshop with Five States of Western & Central Region on how to implement the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan….few took into consideration the ground realities of each of the participating states. But perhaps it served as opportunity for government bureaucrats to share experiences and something may come out of it. The PM’s Gati Shakti national mission portal seeks to speed up in Goa a cultural atlas, mapping of tourism footfall and libraries, religious sites and museums, take into stock flood areas and presumably do something about it, take stock of fair price outlets and go-downs, do a surveillance of agri-projects small and big (in Goa ait’s mostly small holdings for its fractured agriculture now given the large scale cutting down of hilly plateau forests (where the state’s last water resources yield potable water) for more airports and government projects to benefit the country, not necessarily the small state of Goa where there is major resistance to mega projects which will change the face of Goa from small is beautiful to more and more tall and urban is…beautiful?
All I can say is after all the surveillance exercise to map up every resource the country …then what? Let’s hope the road to hell is not paved with the good intentions for small state Goa! As far as I can see all our states are on a different page vis-à-vis economic status, education, land use patterns, people and their lifestyles, language, religious beliefs and so on…history! Is it a good idea to impose the PM’s Gati Shakti Gujarat Integrated Master Plan in all the states? Sorry, as far as I can see is we’re proving to be champions at wasting money we don’t have (by creating a mirage of it by hook and by crook) and handing over mega infrastructure projects to same closet buccaneers of economy – most are from Gujarat for some strange or not so strange reason.


THIS year’s Carnival has come and gone and I must confess I missed it. For the first time in my life in Panaji I didn’t venture out given the state of capital city Panaji’s roadworks in an utter mess, especially after dark it is dicey to negotiate one’s way back home though ill-lit streets and back lanes…but I believe I missed something.
Mainly the house of mud float but more so the millet float created by the Directorate of Agriculture’s director Nevil Alphonso and his officers to spread the message that millets of Goa and India and the world are superfood: Grow more millets, eat more millets, be healthy and happy. Some 45 officers carrying placards sang and danced their way on the streets to some fantastic music…urging people to drink and eat more millets, especially Goa’s very own maroonish little millet called ragi or nachne (finger millet) …eat/drink nachne amil or ambil, tizan, ladoo, bhakri and so on. They carried placards educating the lay public about millets.
This is a first in carnival history in Goa and thumbs up to it. Most folk I know are already switching over to millet eating except that few urban junk-eaters recognise them the many millets we enjoy a legacy of! Apart from nachne or nachni/also ragi few know how large a variety of millets we have in this country. More recognizable are large millet sorghum (jowar, both creamy and red) and the greyish green pearl millet – bajra or bajro in Gujarati. Bajra is my favourite millet having grown up eating “bajro-no-rotlo” (bhakri) in my childhood, there would be bajro rotlo for lunch or in the evening leftover rotlo would be broken and there would “vagarelo rotlo” – the dryish pieces soaked in buttermilk, tempered, seasoned…yummylicious evening meal especially if the buttermilk was a little tart.
After pearl millet you may recognize red amaranth (rajgira), barnyard (sanvo), foxtail (kangni), kodu (konda), little millet (samo), proso millet (chona), buckwheat is also a millet I think but am not sure. Millets make for better quality eating for sure for they are alkaline grains more protein rich, gluten free, low glycemic, fibre-rich, rich in calcium and iron…altogether they mean less inflammation in body beautiful.
If I were you I’d quickly discover the charms of eating the millets of Goa, India and the world! Basically, grass seed food for the birds but then again human beings were eating them long before the industrial revolution arrived, the food revolution in its wake and the nasty refining of grains, genetic modification, chemical farming, preservation and transformation to increase shelf life…etcetera. All at the cost of decreasing our shelf life!
There is every good reason why we should eat only millets these days (if only to keep our farmers new hope and a reason to live fruitfully). Make sure the millets you buy are organically cultivated and learn to cook millets…soak, flour, steam, cook, air-fry, etcetera. Count for something. On that it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly

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