From today until the Karnataka Assembly poll results, this column will look at various economic aspects of the state. We begin with agriculture, a sector in focus with BJP president Amit Shah having accused the Siddaramaiah government of being anti-farmer.
Agriculture has been a lacklustre performer in Karnataka, under both the Congress and the previous BJP regimes.
The annual growth rate for the farm sector (including crops and livestock, but excluding forestry, logging and fishing) has averaged 2.5% during the five years of the Congress government, only a little better than the 1.6% average growth registered under BJP rule.
Agricultural growth has lagged behind the overall annual increase in Karnataka’s gross state domestic product, which averaged 5.6% during BJP and 7.9% during Congress rule.
The main reason has been drought: rains failed in two out of five years under both the Congress (2015, 2016) and BJP (2011, 2012) administrations. Karnataka is India’s leading producer of maize, ragi, sunflower, coffee, pepper, arecanut, green chillies, capsicum, tamarind and sapota, and second in jowar, tur, cardamom, tomato, beans, watermelon, pomegranate, grapes and loose flowers. —Harish Damodaran
Telling Numbers: Vector-borne diseases jump in US
Between 2004 and 2016, diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas more than tripled from 27,000 to 96,000 in the US and its territories, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report covered 16 notifiable diseases, including nine newly emerged ones, such as chikungunya and Zika. The CDC director was quoted as suggesting hot spells may be responsible.
Tip for Reading List: How Wenger Shaped Arsenal
The closest to an autobiography of Arsene Wenger, the outgoing Arsenal manager, comes from his close friend John Cross. Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger is an exhaustive chronicle of Wenger’s journey from an outsider to a miracle worker who radicalised the club over a period culminating in the ‘Invincibles’ season. Cross, a Daily Mirror journalist, captures the time Wenger took over, when Arsenal was famous for puritanical football and its attitudes — skipper Tony Adams had served time for drink-driving. A year into Wenger’s tenure, Arsenal were playing the most imaginative football in England, and Adams had transformed into a charismatic leader, beer and burger replaced with broccoli and pasta. For the next eight years, Wenger and his adversary Alex Ferguson formed the English Premier League. It is a book for nostalgia, as Wenger bids farewell to his home of 22 years. —Sandeep G
This Word Means: Talanoa Dialogue
How an ancient form of conversation has regained relevance in climate change discussions
Climate change negotiators from across the world are currently in Bonn for their annual mid-year meetings, sometimes called “inter-sessionals” between year-end climate change conferences. Usually a week long, the meeting is spread longer this time, from April 30 to May 10, mainly because of the inclusion of a new stock-take meeting, being referred to as Talanoa Dialogue. In 2015, when countries finalised the Paris Agreement, they agreed to hold a stock-take in 2018 to assess whether the actions promised were commensurate with their objective of restricting the rise in global temperature. Last November, when Fiji took over the presidency of climate negotiations for a year, it proposed that the stock-take (or facilitative dialogue) be held in the spirit of Talanoa, an ancient form of conversation in the Pacific Islands, done in a story-telling format, through which people try to resolve differences without blaming each other. The Talanoa Dialogue is aimed at answering three questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? —Amitabh Sinha