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Tackle food crisis on priority

THE editorial Hungry India: Grant millions the right to food (Oct 17) was timely. Population explosion is the main reason for the food crisis. We have to check the birth rate to reduce the pressure on land and food consumption.

The reason for low production is over-fragmentation of agricultural farms resulting in uneconomic holding. Hoarding by profiteers is another big menace. Irrigation facilities are inadequate. Lack of quality manures and better varieties of seeds are hindering production. Pests and rats, monkeys, cattle and crop diseases cause a considerable fall in the output.

Despite all the policies and programmes, our farmers are still uneducated. They don’t have adequate knowledge of developed techniques. Most have no proper facilities for storing foodgrains. The food situation will improve only when planners, experts and policy makers examine all these factors and find solutions.



The editorial is an eye-opener and a reflection on the failure of successive governments to provide food to the teeming millions. There are over 200 million hungry people in the country. They live in slums with no food, shelter and clothing. Many go to bed on empty stomach due to abject poverty. They are considered a blot on the so-called civilised nation.

Politicians are divided wasting time in criticising each other. All political parties are wooing minorities for their vote banks and none is bothered about the problems like the food crisis confronting the country.

D. R. SHARDA, Chandigarh


True, the right to food ought to be granted to the teeming millions but it won’t do unless the hungry people are provided food or the means to earn food. India has no dearth of wheat and rice but, intriguingly, their stocks are being eaten away by rodents or just rotting in our godowns and silos while poor people are dying of starvation.

Even the Supreme Court, in August 2001, had directed the Centre to provide food to the starving populace but to no avail. For the hungry, a morsel of food is God. Economic reforms have no meaning to them.

So, radical economic changes are required to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the hungry. Mismanagement, red tape and corruption should be eradicated. Glaring disparities should be tackled quickly.



More such editorials and articles are needed to awaken our rulers from their slumber. Sadly, the food problem has mainly gone unnoticed even by the powerful media. Our leaders who made supreme sacrifices to attain freedom would never have visualised such a shameful situation even after 60 years of Independence.

The majority of our countrymen are leading a life of abject poverty, extreme hunger and absolute deprivation. The conscience of our rulers is seldom stirred at the pathetic state of affairs. Little is being done or planned for the deprived lot.

A few welfare schemes like the Annapoorna Yojna, the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, the Food for Work and the Mid-day Meal are not really meant for the welfare or uplift of the unfortunate ‘have-nots’, but are baits to catch votes.

Prof R. L. MALHOTRA, Nawanshahr

Central concern

The core of Arundhati Ghose’s article, Services’ contempt for civil authority is not casual (Oct 22), veers around a central concern — the need for the Service Chiefs to explain their stand on why they chose to ignore a government direction to submit their respective bills by the desired dateline.

The stand is really not all that complex for the respected former Ambassador and one-time contender for the top slot in the Indian Foreign Service to fathom: the Chiefs command over a million soldiers lives on trust. They owe them something in return for this extraordinary faith.

They owe them the belief that they can, with due dignity, represent their grievances to the government of the day in unfashionable, even if seemingly unfathomable, terms: unfathomable, that is, for those to whom the equation of holding lives on trust and a response thereto is something passe, something tiresome, since bureaucracy has no equivalent relationship of this kind to worry about.

Maj-Gen RAJ MEHTA (retd), Mohali

Price to pay for faulty policies

THE UPA government’s decision to revise the annual income ceiling from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh for the creamy layer among the OBCs amounts to pandering of vote bank politics.

It is an irresponsible action, coming as it does before the election time like that of revision of pay scales of the Central government employees and the waiver of farm loans for which the present and future generations are made to cough up. It has made a mockery of the principle of affirmative action as merit has been removed from education and jobs.

If the UPA government and its allies think that the criteria of Rs 4.5 lakh should apply for the determination of families or persons to be classified as the benchmark for economic backwardness, the same criteria should be applied for income-tax purposes too.

The government raises huge taxes from the public by way of service tax for services that are neither provided by it nor are justified. The common people have been pauperised by the government’s faulty policies which, in turn, have triggered unbridled inflation.

S. NARAYAN, Mumbai



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