April 24, 2010

Can we make Common Sense a Priority in New Delhi??

I wonder when our government will wake up to real issues and begin addressing them. These past two weeks, any tourist to India will think we have no real problem in the country and that's the reason we have news channels covering Sania's wedding, Lalit Modi's and Shashi Tharoor's lifestyles and now some phone tapping of leaders from the Opposition.

Well, lets wake up to real issues...I mean every year around April - May, we begin to hear forecasts from IMD on the monsoons in the country and the consequent agriculture scenario. We are all then educated on how we are an agricultural economy and more than 70% Indians do farming and ours is rain fed farming country, bla bla... We are also subjected to many articles on how its not the government's fault for rising food prices or increasing food shortages but its the weather Gods to blame and we then get to hear a series of Climate Change theories... Come on, we are not fools, you know...

Its common knowledge that one of the main problems plaguing India, in food insecurity, is lack of adequate storage of grains. We live in a paradox... our farmers toil, produce grains, these are bought at pathetic rates by the GOI and stored in apalling conditions - to rot. We have overflowing godowns and at the same time ~300 million people go to bed hungry, due to lack of purchasing power and inefficient PDS. Such is the paradox we live in... Little effort is spent on improving the conditions of FCI godowns.

Every year, fresh harvest of grains are stored over the unused, rotten / rotting grains... And when the grains need to be distributed, the ones on top (fresh harvest) is taken out!! What beautiful planning I must say! An average Indian blood will boil at the inefficient / indifferent / callous manner in which the grains are stored and distributed across the country. Being an eternal optimist, each year, I hope for the best and for good sense to prevail. So far, I have only been disappointed. This year seems no different - I just read the news that some godowns in Ludhiama are being used to store cartons of liquor and the open spaces in the godown houses the grains!! You ask why?? Well, its because they have let out the space on rent to the private parties:). Fantastic set of priorities, don't you think?

Our wheat crop has just been harvested and we are told its a bumper crop this year. Unfortunately, we still need to feel sad, rather than cheer our farmers and scientists.

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