International teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has come under siege for applying her “bully pulpit” to paddle into political problems, such as the farmers’ protest in India. Mohinder Gulati, Former Chief Operating Officer, United Nations Sustainable Energy for All, has drafted a letter to Thunberg, which is also noted to the United Nations Secretary-General.
“I had admired your courage, commitment, and capturing the global imagination on climate justice when you stood up at the 2018 UNCCC,” Gulati said in the note to Thunberg.”However, I am writing to you with some disappointment that you have started using your well-earned bully pulpit to wade into political issues, such as farmers’ protest in India, which may not be as simple and as straightforward as you may have been led to believe,” he added.
“Walking into the thicket of local political issues, often mired in a battle with corrupt and vested political interests, would undermine your ability to keep the moral high ground to exhort world leaders into action for a sustainable future. I would urge you not to expend your political and moral capital on controversial local political issues,” Gulati said in the letter.
In his letter, the ex-UN official attempted to teach her on four problems associated with India’s agriculture sector, which are discharges from product excess burning, Food wastage, water crisis, and Corruption-controlled agriculture markets. Meantime, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri cited Gulati’s letter and said, “celebrities often require a fact & reality check! No one better to do this than an admirer who is also a domain specialist! This open letter from the former COO of a UN environment-related partnership to Greta is an eye-opener & a must-read,” Puri tweeted.
Gulati said that other powerful fixed interests are serving from the status quo. The government obtains large quantities of wheat and rice for the public distribution system and gives a pre-announced minimum support price (MSP). Out of about 210 Mt of wheat and rice produced in the nation, the government procures about 85 Mt for sale to the poor at one-tenth of the acquisition price. About 52 percent of this procurement is produced from only three states – Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh – the network of protesting farmers, he added.
“More than 90 percent of the farmers in the rest of India do not benefit from this system. Normally, the market price is lower than the MSP. This is what creates a great opportunity for the broker mafia. Brokers and politicians purchase wheat and rice from farmers in other states at a lower price (about 60 percent of MSP) and pay them in cash, bring it to government procurement stations in Punjab, Haryana, and UP, sell it at a higher price (MSP) and get paid by cheque. This is counted as their tax-exempt agriculture income,” Gulati said.