Sunday, May 4, 2008

Revisiting Singur in context of the current food scenario

Prez Bush has apparently come up with a new "Bushism". However, this piece of Bushism is not original, and this statement of his is "borrowed" from Ms Rice, who has "backed up" her statements with a "few facts". According to Condolenza Rice:

we obviously have to look at places where production seems to be declining and declining to the point that people are actually putting export caps on the amount of food... that in countries like India and China, it was not as much a problem of declining production as growing prosperity, which has pushed up demand resulting in “pressures to keep food inside the country...
Well, as far as I am concerned, in case of India it may not exactly be "declining production" in the strictest sense of the word, but it is something equivalent to it, since it is a clear statement that the supply is struggling to keep up with the demand.

Now, the part I am interested in is when Rice mentions that there is actually an export cap on the amount of food. From the point of view of India, as a country, as of now, this might just about work, if, after the export cap there is enough food for the people. But, surely, this is a pointer that in future, probably India will have a case where not only will it have an export cap on food, but it will also have to import food. Despite all the grand statements of "India shining", I dont think that the poor Indians (or even the "middle class") have enough resources to buy food at higher prices that will inevitably result from importing food. An average Indian in US spends around $150 per person for food - that is Rs 6,000 per person per month, which roughly translates to Rs 24,000 per family of four per month. No, the rates are too high.

Which is exactly why I choose to differ with the left front when they decided to let Tatas use Singur for their car factory. I had a post on this topic earlier where I outlined a few arguments why Singur should stay a farmland, and an alternative location should have been picked up by the CPM government. There was a comment from a commentator that there are "lifestyle needs" and there are "livelihood needs". Apparently the commentator thought that cars were going to be "livelihood needs" soon enough. In reply to this an anonymous commentator replied:
"Yes, but if you dont take care of today's need, the question is, "will you survive to see tomorrow?"
Prophetic words.


Update: Another report that highlights the crisis. India has blindly stumbled into an inflationary situation.

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