Thursday, June 20, 2013

Scam in Making: Millions go hungry but India lost foodgrain worth cr in 5 years

NEW DELHI: The UPA government, which is pushing the food security bill as a potential vote weapon ahead of the 2014 general elections, lost grains worth R45 crore in the past five years, according to data accessed by HT through the Right to Information (RTI).

The grains, damaged mostly during handling and storage, could have fed at least 2,50,000 people per year for the last five years, according to HT’s calculations. By its own admission, the government lost wheat worth R5 crore and rice worth crore in the last five years. The revelation comes at a time when the UPA-led government is trying its best to push the food security bill through an ordnance on the grounds that it will give two-thirds Indians a legal right to cheap food. At least 12.5 lakh people could have been fed wheat and rice over the last five years in which crores of rupees worth of vital grain has just rotted away.

The RTI reply shows that although the government has been able to bring down losses over the years, a impoverished food storage infrastructure continues to result in high wastage of wheat and rice in a country which, by one count, has 200 million food-insecure people.

Despite conservative government estimates putting the death of children due to malnutrition at a minimum of 3,000 every single day, heaps of rotting food grains continue to lie across fields in sweltering heat and heavy rains
20 Jun 2013, Hindustan Times (Mumbai), Harinder Baweja

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