New Delhi: Every day some 3,000 Indian children die from illnesses related to malnutrition, and yet countless heaps of rodent-infested wheat and rice are rotting in fields across the north of their own country.
It is an extraordinary paradox created by a rigid regime of subsidies for grain farmers, a woeful lack of storage facilities and an inefficient, corruption-plagued public distribution system that fails millions of impoverished people.
And it is an embarrassment for the government led by the Congress party, which returned to power in 2009 thanks in large part to pledges of welfare for the poor, who make up about 40 per cent of the 1.2 billion population.
Quite why the authorities could not simply offload the mountains of grain for free to fill empty stomachs is puzzling, but the explanation lies in the complex regulations that govern procurement and distribution....more
02:40 PM, Jul 02, 2012