Ration lines were in existence when I was in school. So one knew that India had a food shortage. Wheat used to be called PL480 wheat – what was unfit for consumption in US was sent to India. One of the honourable Ministers of yester-years Mr. C Subramaniam set up Food Corporation of India. This was supposed to buy all the foodgrains from rural India, set up godowns to store them and then sell it in Urban India.
Viola, India would not have any food shortage – at least that is how it was supposed to work. It did not. By the time I was in college there was a healthy contempt for anything government! In one of our trips we met a ‘mandi’ expert – and asked him did the FCI not threaten him?
He laughed – he used to buy food grains from farmers and sell it to the FCI (Oh la la la – we thought they were supposed to eliminate HIM). That could not be profitable we argued. He said what non sense! I buy at Rs. 10 a kg and sell at Rs. 11 a kg. However these guys were not used to such a small margin…
Then the facts came out. The grains would be nicely drenched before it was weighed in for FCI. Simple -weight went up, and perhaps about 20-30% margins were created.
Alas, the grains would rot, we protested. Of course said the agent – ‘lekin kisko padi hai’ .
Many governmental programs are created with the long term vision of a man watching through the ‘nice vision’ of ‘good intentions’. Most of these ministers (CS was as straight forward as they came) -did not prepare for the ‘kameena’ pan of the bureaucrats.
So now Sharad Pawar (what fresh do I need to say about his reputation?) destroys 11,500 tonnes of food grains, but we will not set up a cold chain, private storage, …..well have fun Mr. Pawar. Your food ministry and the performance of the Indian cricket team (No. 1 in world ranking) both stink.
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