Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Common Man's Role in the hour of food crisis in India

The world is suffering from food crisis.The Indian people are suffering from all time rise in inflation, a near 12 % coupled with price rise in all fronts, especially edible oils, pulses, rice and other eatables. No doubt the world food crisis has affected the common man in India too.The Indian Government is rather busy at clinching Indo-Us nuclear treaty and saving the UPA government in the floor of the parliament by proving its majority.

Under the circumstances mentioned above, the common man in India has his own role to play and needs to be frugal as is the case with the US people.The ways and means he needs to adopt are relevant in the present day context, though the ideas may have emanated in the yesteryears, in the late 70’s.

One of the main reasons that is ascribed to world food crisis is that the supplies exceeds our demands and eventhough as economists point out India is in no way responsible for the present day food crisis, we cannot remain in splendid isolation and remain a silent spectator of what we have been actually suffering from.

Then, what else can we do? It is all about our life style. Still, I can vividly recall. During the emergency imposed in India by Mrs,Indira Gandhi in the year 1975, mainly to safeguard herself, she issued a 20 point programme. One of which was pertaining to the instructions given to the groceries and the hotels to follow.They should exhibit the prices of all essential commodities they sell and similarly in the hotels, they should exhibit the price list of food items they sold along with the quantity of food they sold, say for example, ‘coffee 350 ml, Rs 6.00’These instructions if scrupulously followed, will keep the people aware of the current trend in the prices of the essential commodities and they can be monitored over a period of time, atleast until the crisis is blown over.

Similarly another important instruction given to the traders like cement, hardwares, petrol and all other important goods which we deal with, however the small the shop may be, the trader should exhibit a list prominently, indicating the current position of the stocks available etc, so that giving a semblance of hope for the hoarders, black marketers, etc.

Another important instruction given that was to be scrupulously followed and monitored by the revenue authorities at the taluk level was to have a ceiling on ones marriage expenditure which helped to reduce extravagant expenditure, wastages of food in the name of sumptuous feasts etc. All the above programs and steps taken by Mrs.Gandhi are relevant today.

Similarly as far as individuals are concerned, keeping their necessities to the barest minimum especially with regard to our diet and other food habits, which will to some extent reduce the demand and thereby we can avoid scrambling.

Of course, it is quite difficult to observe and follow the above and it may even sound poking at your nose. But considering the larger interests and welfare of the society, of which we also form a part, they may not be difficult. It is just like keeping and maintaining oneself on a diet, still we reach normalcy.

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