Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, August 29, 2010

how to end famine forever?

"by abolishing the word famine from the laws of the land."
sainath is caustic and scathing as ever.

this must rank very high in "top 10 absurdities"...
In 1963, the government of Maharashtra ended famine forever in the State. It did this without adding a morsel to anyone's diet. It did so simply by passing an Act in the Legislature that deleted the word ‘famine' from all laws of the State. No kidding. This was called ‘The Maharashtra Deletion Of The Term “Famine” Act, 1963” (And was dug up after decades by an independent researcher from Bangalore.)
what to do with the excess grain rotting in the warehouses?
Meanwhile, say the ‘experts,' the millions of tonnes of grain rotting in open yards present a “golden opportunity” for India to export this in bulk “and seize on the high prevailing global prices of grain.” That is also what the government hopes to do. Its affidavit in response to a slap from the Supreme Court speaks of liquidating the excess stocks by open market sale (read exports).
and what are the solutions to end food production shortfalls?
... we look around for ways to make up our production shortfall. Indian companies are buying land in parts of Africa to grow foodgrain. This finds approval with the Working Group on Agricultural Production set up by the Prime Minister and chaired by Haryana Chief Minister B.S. Hooda. Its report says “We should seriously consider these options for at least 2 million tonnes of pulses and 5 million tonnes of edible oil for 15-20 years.”
this solution is quite imperialistic and needless to say, idiotic.

sainath finishes with his trademark cynicism.
Will the courts say anything about the notion of shipping grain abroad when millions go hungry at home? Will the government say something other than ‘no' to the needs of the hungry? Will the NAC rethink its stand on a universal PDS? Will Parliament accept fraudulent definitions of food security? Will anyone speak for the Directive Principles of State Policy and how policy must work towards strengthening them? It would, of course, be silly to expect a government of this sensitivity to care a fig for the Directive Principles. But perhaps we can hope that the Supreme Court does?


Anonymous said...

I read the article and was sad to see the strange remark that Indian Navy is to protect private farmers interests by attacking Africans. Such comments only make any sensible reader dismiss the rest of article as the usual leftist rant. As a reputed journalist Sainath should know what he is saying...

csm said...

anon - dont think that this is illogical.
the modern piracy around those seas is there for everyone to see.
the indian navy has been active in protecting trade ships.
the blue water navy is a strategic aim of the navy. read this TOI article.
while i fully second that hindu has a serious left slant, nothing sainath has reported can be termed as a 'rant'.

Anonymous said...

CSM, Protecting trade and preventing piracy is a legitimate task and that is not what Sainath was talking about. He was implying imperialism ie using naval power to subjugate weaker powers.