Eazy Foreign Languages

This blog is about German and French Language in Vijayawada. Articles, poems, songs and experiences of poolabala

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Interview with the architect of IRMS

 Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long. …

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

..Ralph Waldo Emerson

A high profile technocrat, corporate leader, finance expert, President - Surya Soft Inc. Project Manager and Architect of Citigroup, Sr. Management Consultant IBM. To sum up he is a global leader. A visionary Mr Vijay Penmatsa, the architect of IRMS is ready with his Integrated Rural Management System that creates

Million jobs in agriculture

In the USA he served leading international companies Woolworth, Sprint PCS, GE, National Gypsum, Pfizer, Price water house coopers. This accomplished global leader, the most sought after personality has come back to India with a strange reason to fulfill his earthen dream that radically transforms Indian Agriculture into to an organized sector and changes the fate of the farmer. He is on the mission like a soldier battling with bureaucracy, deterred by red tapism, disappointed by political apathy yet striving to bring golden era in agriculture sector with his brain child, a non-profit scheme, Integrated Rural Management System (IRMS) He is on the move. He has been knocking at the doors of ministers, politicians, bureaucrats to invigorate Indian Agriculture to serve the country with the underlying spirit: Jananee janma bhoomischa … swargaadapi gareeyasi

With his invincible leadership and dynamism coupled with burning nationalistic zeal Mr. Vijay K. Penmatsa is forging ahead with his mission which is a process and a cause of paradigmatic change in the field of agriculture for the accomplishment of a noble task of emancipating the farmer from the clutches of middlemen and several odd persisting problems by joining loose ends in agriculture. Mr. Vijay is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. More than a dream IRMS is a strategy and beyond a strategy it is an effective solution to successfully integrate and maximize available resources.

In toto IRMS is a vision, a mission and a golden touch to the present emaciated and drooping agriculture sector that wipes tears and brings cheers.

IRMS does not simply imagine what does not yet exist but provides a glimpse into the possible future based on scientific study and practical work. Mr. Vijay is not only a visionary who can see what might happen some day but also an eternal optimist who strongly believes that tomorrow or the other tomorrow or the other tomorrow has in store  for the farmer bright days, golden glory, new dignity  that gives him a socio economic status on par with IT professionals. At this out it might look like a fairy tale but it is not hard to believe only if you go through IRMS a whole some plan emanated from perfect realm of futuristic thought of Mr. Vijay K. Penmatsa.
The present agriculture scenario is in India going from bad to worse. Far from being unprofitable it is shameful, humiliating and hopeless. It is suicidal to farmers and shame on the nation that one who feeds the nation is reeling under hunger pangs and embracing death as an ultimate resort. The recent crop holidays in the state are declaring a high alert.

Where is the government’s will? The government often resorts to temporary measures like loan waivers and subsidies which are half measures and so futile. The governments hither to could not think in the right direction with a clear mind.  It is very clear that lack of political will and inadequate executive body is making agriculture a non-profit sector day by day… the current pseudo democratic system is always roaming  around self-centric vote banks leaving the key sector like agriculture and rural sectors behind.. A passionate agriculturist and renowned business process architect Mr. Vijay Penmetsa (NRI) returned to India from USA and created a holistic approach to make agriculture sector more profitable as an organized sector. His self-sustainable approach will make villages rich, independent and reduces urban migrations.  This scheme was initially published and discussed at a full length in 2009 Congress election manifesto of Andhra Pradesh and later on this was removed from the manifesto fearing that this might derail Late. Sri Y S Rajashekar Reddy’s co-operative farming concept.

IRMS a holistic approach
It is the time for a holistic approach:  Even if the governments say that they have the will power and financial strength we can’t believe them in the absence of a credible policy. IRMS was designed after taking inputs from farmers, local markets, millers, middlemen, local un-organized mandis and several intellectuals like Prof. M.S Swaminathan, M.P, “Father of Green Revolution”,  Sri N.R Narayana Murthy, Ex.Chairman for Infosys, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner, co-founder of Asha foundation

IRMS has been specifically designed to handle the challenges posed by the unique features of Indian agriculture like unorganized workforce, price fluctuations, instability of farm supplies, weak infrastructure and involvement of numerous intermediaries, among others. Over a million employment opportunities can be created through IRMS without spilling a rupee from government’s budget. IRMS can handle drought stricken areas effectively through better insurance packages. Reliable statistics provided by IRMS will help the government to support farmers during natural calamities and in implementing other schemes.  IRMS will catalyze rural transformation that will help alleviate rural isolation, create more transparency to the farmers, workers and improve their productivity and incomes.

Real-time information, customized knowledge and infrastructure facilities provided by IRMS will enhance an organized workforce and the ability of farmers to take decisions to align their farm outputs with market demand, securing quality & productivity. IRMS eliminates unnecessary intermediation, multiple handling and transaction costs to benefit the farmer for an enhanced productivity and better farm gate prices. Village internet kiosks managed by non-political elected bodies will enable the rural community to access ready information in their own language. The benefits of this scheme will be passed to the urban sector either directly or indirectly. The initial phase of the project would involve establishment of a pilot for an effective model of employment and agriculture services. In the long run, IRMS services can be integrated to proposed Common Services Centers (CSCs) scheme under the National e-governance Plan (NeGP) of the Government of India.

We all the how important is the rural sector. But how are the rural sectors today? How miserable are the Indian farmers and Indian weavers! As Sarojini Naidu writes in her
INDIAN WEAVERS “weaver weaving at the break of day… Weavers weaving at fall of night… Weavers weaving in the moon light chill. One can enjoy the beauty of the poem
But in spite of working like machines they are unable to make both ends meet.  Worse is the case of farmers. Agriculture is looked down upon by the educated class who passionately choose IT. As Arundati Roy writes in her “God of small things” the educated Indians who serve American clients paid highly and the rest are engaged in their struggle for survival.

In fact rural sector plays a vital role in India. It produces nearly 25% of the GDP, feeds a billion people, and employs 66% of the workforce. IRMS is the first and foremost Public Private Participation (PPP) program. IRMS, a self-sustainable system is not reinventing the wheel or it is not dumping any of the existing system; it is just combining the existing bits and pieces together with seamless transparent business processes.
As we all know, some of the reforms that are triggered and implemented by global markets for some good reasons are widening the gap between the rich and poor in India. On the lines of our Poojya Baapuji and we all believe that the country will prosper only when the rural sector is strong. IRMS, a true shadow of the real GRAMA SWARAJYAM will offer a self sustainable system with good governance. People of India are pretty confident that the current government will abide by its responsibility to win the confidence of the people and is committed to improve the system by adopting best-in-class processes.  

In the current scenario, rural employment and crop management is very fragile and there is tremendous scope for improvement. There are a few popular Government sponsored
e-governance projects in different forms like e-Seva in Andhra; DC*Suite in Kerala;
 e-district in Tamil Nadu; Jan Sewa Kendra in Gujarat etc. Mostly, they offer common civil services like Issuance of Certificates, Social Welfare benefits, Ration Card related services, collection of taxes, user fees etc. National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) was launched with very good goals but some more attention needs to be paid on the diversity of village characteristics and skill sets of rural workers.

 Mr. Vijay’s team requested for permission to implement a pilot project in one district in each state at least two states to create enough sample data for financial modeling to work with insurance companies and resource suppliers. This scheme was widely discussed with Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Patil, Honorable President of India many times at different platforms, in her presence in Rashtrapati Bhavan and Raj Bhavan, Mumbai this was discussed with Planning Commission, PMO staff, executive body of NREG schemen and many Union Ministers like Sri Sharad Pawar, Salman Kurshid, Haryana Chief Minister, several agriculture ministers, and agriculture commission chairmen. And also this was discussed with Sri Ashok Chavan, Sri Shankar Naryanan, Governer of Maharashtra, Council Chairman, Ex. Chief Minister of Maharashtra and with his agriculture ministers and commission chairman multiple times in Mumbai.

World class professionals with different expertise and tremendous exposure to agriculture,  change management, process orchestration, financial modeling, and best-in-class supply chain and distribution systems have been empanelled for this IRMS project, which aims at realization of the objectives at about one or two pilot districts in at least two States. The objective behind this exercise to develop a model that can be optimally replicated in all other districts of those states.  A project like IRMS can easily attract unconditional funding from international banks to implement the commercial project. Former Infosys chairman Sri N R Narayana Murthy offered his support for the pilot project but still the project didn’t start….. Why? What is lacking in India? IRMS can create over a million jobs without depending on government budget.  It can cut 50% of the funding that is being misutilized under the name of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme But still the project didn’t launch why? What are we lacking?

Mr.Venakat .P the associate editor of Journalist interviewed
The Architect of IRMS – Mr.Vijay.K.Penmatsa.

Q: Where do you hail from?  Where did you have your schooling?

A: Well I hail from an agriculture family from West Godavari
I studied at Jalagaparru near Bheemavaram. I was with my grand parents later on
I moved to Visakhapatnam and also studied there.

Q: What was your line of study? What was your specialization?
BS, Electorics from AVN College Visakhapatan and MBA, Marketing & Production Management  from  Regional College of Management

Q: When did you move to the USA?
I worked in India for four years before I left for the USA in 1996. I worked in Cement Corporation of India before moving to the USA, I was the youngest Regional Manager but I couldn’t stand the laziness so I resigned on the same day.

Q: When, where how did you get such a plan as IRMS?
I got this plan while I was carrying out my Research in the US. As I told you I hailed from agriculture family. My father and my ancestors were in agriculture. So I know the condition prevailing in agriculture in India pretty well. And I also know the problems of farmers through personal experience. When I was working for Andhra development forum I used to come to India and used to three weeks to one month. During this time I Studied Mundies (local markets) as well as international markets. I was a consultant in the US working for a high pay on hourly basis. My job was to advise companies.  Though I was very busy I used to think and work a lot on Agriculture in India. I never lost track of my country. There was and there is an irresistible urge to strengthen this unorganized sector

Q: Is there any person or incident that served as inspiration for IRMS?
My father always used to incur losses. A small farmer suffering loss is different but
In spite of having 30 to 40 acres of land he suffered losses most times. Small farmers
Had hard time during draught conditions (during TDP regime) This led farmers to commit suicides.  All these incidents are inspiration.

 Q: What are the objectives of IRMS?
Bringing all un-organized rural artisans to the organized workforce sector.
Ensures secure and continued employment.
Helps the farmers by supplying essential inputs like fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, financial assistance, machinery, technical know-how etc.
Providing guaranteed and timely workforce to the farmers and rural businesses for stable prices with pre-defined/authorized delivery work standards.
Provides accurate demand and forecasting tools for better crop planning.
Canalized all the financial assistance and bank loans with guaranteed repayments.
Facilitate micro-credit, micro-leasing, machinery rentals and storage yards to the farmers.
Ensures annual hardship allowance/bonus for the qualified workforce.
Both farmer (land owner/lease holder) and workforce will be insured Rs. 2 lacs for accidental death and Rs. 50, 000 for each accidental occurrence.
Ensures social security after the age of 65 years to both workers and lease holder
are some of the objectives of IRMS

Q: Who are the important people you met in connection with IRMS?
M. S Swaminathan, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Dr. Kuldeep Nayar, K.Raju, IAS- Principle Secretary- Rural Development.  Special invitation by Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Patil to a conference at Maharashra Governor's Bungalow.  I also met Sri Ashok Chavan, Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Sri Shankar Narayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, Sri Balasaheb Thorat,  Agriculture Minister of Maharashtra, Agriculture Commission Chairman, Planning Commission and PMO Team and many intellectuals.

Q: How do you feel about people you met?
The politics people want only survival. All time and energy is focused only on politics. They hardly have anytime to think about anything. Mostly they were egoistic. They don’t want outsider’s advice. Agriculture Minister has no time to think of reforms.. People who have no clue about agriculture were nominated to important positions for example  J.V. Somayajulu is a Chartered Accountant. He was nominated as Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.  Dr Chakrapani encouraged me a lot.

Q: Apart from the knowledge are they willing to change the position of agriculture?

No, they are afraid of bringing changes. I guess the Agriculture Minster will have no work if IRMS is implemented.

Q: How do you differentiate between co-operative farming and IRMS?

In Cooperate farming farmers collect farms. They have work together.
Though it is not impossible it is difficult in Indian conditions. Politics
caste and religion many create problems.

Q: How does it handle problems?

IRMS is a non profit organization. We implement it in every village. It is a national level program not just a state level program. IRMS offices are set up in every village which are equipped with touch screen computers. The villagers enter the data in computer in Telugu
Or in any other regional language. The farmer enters the crop he selected for example cotton plantation. He also enters when he is going to plant cotton, how many urea bags he wants. He also enters the pesticide requirement. Farmer enters all this data for his own benefits. The work force will also enter their availability. The farmer sends a job card for them. IRMS ensures availability of fertilizers, pesticides seeds and eliminates brokers with the help of  real time data bank.

Q: What is the future of agriculture? People lost hope on agriculture no-a-days?

Without a holistic plan like IRMS the agriculture sector will remain as unorganized sector. There are so many loose ends needed to be connected. I hope IRMS will do it.

Associate Editor

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