Since the past couple of days, for some specific purpose I am having only two meals a day. First one post noon and the next one at 6:00 pm. As I eat only two times I eat really really well ( read it as gluttonize). Still I stay hungry for most parts of the day except between 12:00 in noon to 8:00 pm. My mind seems to not be able to overlook food, as I wake up hungry at 6:00 am and I sleep hungry at 12:00 am. Only a few times have I been in a place when I did not have food to eat and I was hungry.
The plight of most of our (subsistence) farmers and their families is of hunger, lack of proper nutrition to children and stunted growth. What must it be to stay hungry when you are a producer of food? Isn’t it cruel? One may wonder if I am being overtly sentimental about it. It would be good to go hungry and limit your meals for couple of days and observe it for yourself. You will realise how it could fee. Many of us reading this post eat much before we get hungry and have forgotten how it is to feel ‘hungry’. In the state I come from, Tamil Nadu, people greet by asking Saptingala? ( have you eaten). Saptingala is a replacement for all the “good mornings”, “how are you”, “how is the weather”, “how are things” and the “whatsups” . This must have been the practice when there was not enough food for all. And to be well was as simple as to have a filled stomach.
I was glad when the National Food Security Bill was tabled in 2013. But the new government at the centre is only trying to cut down the expenditure and make it minimalistic in nature. The Shanta Kumar committee which was mandated to look at Food Corporation of India and recommend changes. The committee did that, but majority of its recommendations rather suggest to curtail the National Food Security Act. Two of its recommendations were : to reduce the percentage of population covered under it form 67% to 40% and to increase the cost of grains to half the price of the minimum support price provided by the government to the farmers from the present Rs 2/kg and Rs 3/kg for rice and wheat respectively.
It looks like the way of the BJP government to change laws instead of re-hauling the ineffective and inefficient institutions that are supposed to deliver law. Something similar has also done to the Environmental law, by the High Level Committee set up to look at the environmental law. In their haste to review the law in a limited period of 2 months, the committee goes about recommending changes to law rather than looking at the institution which has to provide the certificates and what lacks with them. Ramaswamy Iyer looks at this in his piece in The Hindu.
One hoped for development and wellbeing with this new government. the hope still is present. Hope this government does what it wants to do for industries without sabotaging the interest of the weaker lot: the farmers, the tribals who survive on the forest and others. Also hope it is not foolish enough to invoke damage to the environment and forests that make the earth liveable.
All this rampant industrialisation without any consideration for the environment or cutting down the expenditure in food security will give the government garner better economic development, higher growth rate etc. But what is the point to development when along with it, the only thing that it garners is increases is conflict, unrest and wider economic divide.