Hindustan Times reported that heaps of food grains are rotting in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns across the country due to apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, according to a Right To Information (RTI) query. According to the RTI information, as on Jan 1 this year, 10,688 lakh tonnes of food grains were found damaged in FCI depots, enough to feed over six lakh people for over 10 years. Between 1997 and 2007, 1.83 lakh tonnes of wheat, 6.33 lakh tonnes of rice, 2.20 lakh tonnes of paddy and 111 lakh tonnes of maize were damaged in different FCI godowns.
This pathetic situation is prevailing even as news came that many children in Ganne are eating bits of dried mud and silica due to sheer poverty. New York Times says that India’s eight poorest states have more people in poverty — an estimated 421 million — than Africa’s 26 poorest nations. The Indian Public Distribution System (PDS) is riddled with enormous corruption and inefficiency resulting in only a portion of the grains actually reaching the poorest of the poor. With studies showing nearly 70% of the approx $12 billion budget being wasted, stolen or absorbed by bureaucratic and transportation costs, the poor deserve a better treatment.