There is an interesting paradox that has emerged, which implicitly questions the government’s priorities. Food stocks have crossed 80 million tonnes, yet prices of cereals have begun to inch up in anticipation of a setback to the summer crop due to a truant monsoon. Part of the reason is inflationary expectations; and the best way to manage it is by offloading food stocks—either through the public distribution system or open market sales. However, this has obviously not been happening with attendant consequences.
And worse, as the ‘Tracking Hunger’ series—which ran in Mint and Hindustan Times—revealed, a lot of the burgeoning food stocks are either rotting in the open, or ending up as staple food for grateful rodents, inviting censure from the Supreme Court. Clearly, lessons are yet to be learnt. It is time the government sets the record straight.