India! The Paradox of Plenty: Acute And Widespread Hunger Amidst Overflowing Food Stocks

Essay by GovindchettyHigh School, 10th grade June 2006

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 33 times

At a time when the India is poised towards a high-growth trajectory, the masses suffer under the debris of poverty and hunger. At the beginning of the millennium, India boasted of a food surplus of 65 million tonnes while 320 million people went to bed starving. What an ironic situation that while the country incurred Rs. 6,200 crore to keep the food grains stacked in the open, it had no means to distribute it to the deprived ones. Moreover, economists have been telling that even if poverty increases in the short term, the price has to be paid for long-term stability and growth. As per NSS statistics, 42% of our rural population and 49% of urban population receive less than the accepted daily calorie intake norm - and these proportions have virtually remained the same in the last decade. Hunger is the outcome of increasing poverty and deprivation; hence it should not be a cause for fear.

Yet, with every passing year India has been sinking deeper into a quagmire of despair. The wastages of agricultural produce for the FY 02-03 were estimated to an alarming extent of Rs.50,000 crore. The Indian agricultural sector is beset with inefficiencies from the farm gate to the end consumer. The sector lacks a strong marketing network for agricultural produce.

The entire sequence from harvesting to packing, transportation, storage and wholesale to retail is too long. Around 40% of the value is lost in the supply chain by the time the produce reaches the consumer. The prime objective of the agricultural price policy is to assure remunerative prices to the farmers so as to even out the effects of seasonality and to provide price and market incentives for diversification of agricultural products to meet the consumer needs. Food supply management has been the cardinal...