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Sharp drop in per-capita food consumption

Staff Reporter

Decline in income of small farmers, petty traders is the reason


Annual per-capita food consumption was 200 kg in pre-Independence India

It fell to 166 kg in 2008


—Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Fighting joblessness:(From left) The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences S. Bisaliah, all India president of the DYFI P. Sriramakrishnan and economist Prabhat Patnaik at the seminar in Bangalore on Friday.

BANGALORE: The annual per-capita food consumption in India today has fallen to a level far lower than what prevailed during the pre-Independence period, said Prabhat Patnaik, economist and professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Delivering the inaugural address at the two-day national seminar on “Global Economic Crisis, Increasing Unemployment and Alternatives”, organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) here on Friday, Prof. Patnaik said the decline in income of small farmers and petty traders had led to a reduction in the quantum of food consumption.

Though the country is claiming to be on its way to becoming an economic superpower, absolute poverty, hunger and malnutrition are increasing, Prof Patnaik said. The annual per-capita food consumption in India had come down drastically to 166 kg in 2008, from 174 kg in 2007 and 200 kg in pre-Independence India. “The per-capita food consumption in the United States is 900 kg,” he said.

Stressing the need for protecting and promoting small farmers, petty traders and the self-employed, he said rural people are migrating to urban areas owing to insufficient income. “States are competing with each other in inviting investors to set up industries in their States and offering concessions. However, this provides employment to only a small portion of the unemployed,” he said. Governments, he added, are spending less on health, education and other pro-people programmes.

He called upon the youth to demand Right to Employment.

S. Bisaliah, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Agricultural Sciences urged the government to frame polices so as to provide employment opportunities for rural as well as urban people.

P. Sriramakrishnan, president of All India DYFI, and K. Subbarao, senior advocate, spoke. V. Manohar, film-maker and chairman of the reception committee, welcomed the gathering.

The seminar will have sessions on the issue of unemployment on September 18 at Shikshakara Sadhana on Kempe Gowda Road.

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