Food Scarcity: Agriculture Minister blames Changing Diet Patterns not His Government
New Delhi: Tuesday April 2008
The inflation (6.8%) and commodity prices, at all time high have left common man groping in the dark.
The agriculture minister Sharad Panwar has different take on the issue; he attributes the food grain scarcity due to changing diet patterns of the consumers in the country and not the policies of the government.
He elaborated his illustrating theory, that “South and North east India, which never demanded wheat, were consuming more chapattis than ever.” The demand for the wheat has increased manifold recent months.
However, many analyst and N.G.O,s differ with statement and are of the view that the root cause for scarcity is faulty policies of the government. Adding to this they stated that the procurement system of the food grains was not working in the country.
To blame the consumers for the scarcity was preposterous and uncalled for; Yes, the demand has increased but it is bound to happen in a country like India where there is shift of mal-nourished population to under-nourished one.
The amount of wheat consumption by South India is miniscule, as rice remains their staple diet Housewife on the street lamented, “What about the other commodities which have risen to their peak in given times.
The essential commodities have soared to enormous proportion in last couple of months.
The prices list is as following i
n Rs 2007 2008 march
Edible oil (per K.G) 70 per K.G.
RefinedOil 70 80
Wheat flour 12-14 16-20
Cereals 42-48 50-55
Rice(parmal 116 120
Basmati Rice 38 60
Spices 60-150 90-180
Domestic gas 250 300
Tea 60-120 60-140
In addition, increase in prices of bread and biscuit is 20%. The prices of steel and cement have also reached their peak in recent months. It is indeed intriguing how the agriculture minister Sharad Panwar reached to such ambiguous conclusions. Instead of blaming the consumers, he should focus on setting his house in order and come with effective measures to control inflation and price rise in commodities.