18 January, 2021

Granaries Of The Despair State

Thousands die of starvation while surplus food stocks rot in depots. That is the irony that is India.

Abhijit Bhatlekar
Granaries Of The Despair State
When the Supreme Court issued notices last fortnight to six state governments and the Centre to explain why there were reports of starvation despite a foodgrain surplus of over 60 million tonnes, it brought into public domain the shocking case of mismanagement of food stocks by state and central agencies. This, when government figures itself declare that out of the 36 crore people officially living below the poverty line, as many as five crore are victims of starvation.

It is an ironic illustration of that cliche, a problem of plenty. And nobody is willing to fix or accept responsibility. Instead, passing the buck seems to be the game when thousands of impoverished people are starving, dying or have died.

Despite such a grim scenario, the government seems complacent. It is storing three times its requirement of buffer stocks, which is 20 million tonnes, and, for some inexplicable reason, is not willing to distribute it even as the stocks are rotting. According to Food Corporation of India (fci) figures, 10 lakh tonnes of stock had to be placed on the damaged list last...


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