7.5% growth rate, but why is there less food to eat in India?
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly " baat" ( talk) on the radio stated that India has an economic growth of 7.5%. One cannot fault him for this as there is no doubt that the Indian growth rate is at the moment the highest in the world. The growth rate is a figure and refers to many factors and one of these is the investment in the country and the growth of the industry
Growth rate vs prices
Yet this growth rate has not translated into any material benefit for the Indian masses who continue to subsist on the lowest intake of protein and healthy foods in the world. This has a repercussion on the national health and the resultant effect on good life and performance in sports. The fact is that food prices despite this 7.5% growth have shot up to the sky and the humble Daal( pulses) the main staple diet for the Indians is selling at 3 times the price what it was sold before Modi took over. Daal is the source of protein in India as the percentage of meat eaters is less and also because meat and other items are beyond the reach of the masses because of their exorbitant cost. Mutton sells at almost Rs 500-600 a kilogram and that is not what an average Indian can afford to pay.
A question which I have repeatedly raised is that what use is a Mars mission and another paraphernalia if food for the mases is not available and farmers who produce the food are forced to commit suicide. What relevance has 7.5% growth and missions to Mars have for a child who does not get enough protien to eat or goes to bed half hungry. Many so called nationalists don't want to see the problem from this perspective and the result is the government also has lopsided priorities and food security, wholesome and healthy which should be the first priority remains the last.
Foodstuff and that includes vegetables so essential for vitamins are selling at a price which should be for meat products. Meats are in any case out of reach for the masses and the myth is created that Indians are vegetarians. The fact is that people are unable to eat meats and so a myth of vegetarianism is created. I wonder whether Modi has ever thought of these points in his favorite Man ki Baat radio talks. He has NEVER touched on this issue. The fact is that 40% of Indian live below the poverty line and in numbers, they are more than the destitute of all countries put together. Not a happy thought.
One is reminded of a famous quote by the queen of France during the French revolution. She stated in 1789 "If there is no bread let the people eats cakes". i wonder whether the Modi government has a similar answer. However having said this, one must state that the present crisis of rising in foodstuff prices is a legacy from the lopsided economic policies of the Congress party and emanated from the views of Jawaharlal Nehru. This man really was just a philosopher who was catapulted as India's prime minister and the results in all field were simply disastrous. He set up 5 years plan but agriculture got very less priority and during his time hunger stalked India and thanks to the USA who gave free grains under PL 480, the Indians could subsist. This is Nehru and Congress party's legacy.
But the clock has to be arrested and Modi can not take refuge at the ills of the congress party. He has to turn the clock around and see that the priority is nothing but food and this I am afraid he has not done. He has been in power for 2 years and yet one does not find any visible change. Farmers continue to commit suicide and food prices have shot up to the sky and overall Indian have less to eat, yet the BJP government like the congress is just increasing taxes. So what does 7'5 % growth men and what meaning it has for the poor?. Modi has to address this issue otherwise, he will go down in History like Nehru, who promised much but achieved little.
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