Food Inflation – the real issue is of planned production & storage

Pulses – the pulse of the nation : Pre-dominantly , Indians are vegetarians , and so the protein requirements are met through consumption of protein rich – pulses

We have always been worried about high food inflation charging the government for inefficient handling of the prices. Often we quote the high price of pulses . Let’s do a little digging on why pulses cost more when 65 % of our nation is engaged in agriculture ?

Pulses production in India is 12-15 million tonnes , and the requirement is 18-20 million tonnes .  Looks like pulses production have never been planned by the ministry of agriculture or the planning commission ; this is when we have celebrated 63 years of independence recently !!

Second issue is that despite poor production , even storage has not been attended to .

FCI- Food Corporation of India has 60.5 million tonnes of food grains ( all kinds of grains & not just pulses )  . This is good enough of quantity to give 21 KG of grain every month to people below BPL .  Sadly enough , 30 % of the 60.5 Million tonnes gets wasted every year due to storage conditions

Issue is very simple , and the policy makers need to plan production and storage to address the gaps . Once this is done , we should never have issues related to irrational prices of food grains

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

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Security or Surveillance ?

Since our last major terror strike at Mumbai two years back , one of the major developments have been about security .  I feel strongly that since a lot of VIP’s died at the TAJ Hotel , a lot of ‘high octane’ drama was enacted both in the parliament , media and other public places .

Let’s do a quick check of what happened post our 9/11 ?

Where do we see most of the surveillance ? Airports , stations , five star hotels etc.  I have stayed in Taj Hotels in Bangalore to CROWN plaza in Delhi and many others. I visit a five start hotel every week to meet friends and visitors who stay in such hotels . Here is what i feel about the so called “over hyped’ security

We have been working for the elite who stay in hotels and travel by air . But still , security issues have not been addressed . Let me walk you through the security processes at display in all major locations

  1. You will find a metal detector ( by default ) at all major public places , and it beeps every time you walk past though it . You are required to take out your cell phone , keep it outside and then walk through it . I has asked at a five star hotel security person in Delhi . If my cell phone was having a bomb what can you do ?? You do not even scan it in the metal detector , i have to keep it in the tray outside the metal detector . The poor guy was doing what his security company had told him. He was blank and answerless.
  2. In every airport , the process is the same .
  3. Interestingly , i was at HYATT regency at Mumbai a day before yesterday. A person came , asked my driver to open the door , bonnet etc wiped the steering with a plastic and went back to the machine to read the plastic . Imagine , i was a terrorist , would i not get enough time  ( while the security guy is reading his plastic wipe !! ) to run my vehicle into the hotel and shoot or blast anything i wanted ?  can you call it security ?
  4. In the hotels , well dressed security chaps will say Namaste to you with folded hands , ask you to open the doors or frisk you. No one  even understands what the hell bonnet of the car looks like or does it have a bomb ?  i bet you that even if i carried an explosive , it would get in well past the entry point ! Like a convict who carried a pistol in Delhi court last week despite all the security !!

So the point i am making is that due to this security scare , dogs have got employment  ( my friend who is President with a reputed five star hotel  had once told me,  that these dogs can work with accuracy only when deployed for 20-40 minutes , but they are made to work for hours ).  So the point is that, it is all show of surveillance and not security . Intelligence and pro-activeness is lacking totally in our system. People standing at the security points are ill equipped , and there is no way that these guys can be alive to resist the attack, if terrorists strike !!

Last week , i took the security officer of Mumbai airport to task for allowing the so called VIP vehicles parked at the exit gate no 2. I informed him that the gate no 2 has only pick up and drop and is not meant for parking, and that the VIP parking had been created specifically a few meters away , but our arrogant VIP’s have taken it as their birth right to flash red light beacon  or VIP numbers and park vehicles posing a big security threat to Mumbai airport. I asked Asst. Police Inspector , Mr, Mane why he did not tow the vehicles parked on the gate 2. He was speechless , he tried to explain that the VIP’s don’t listen . There were at least 6 vehicles blocking the exit , and not a single driver was in the car …………….I wrote the same to the Chief Minister and the Home Minister …..i do hope that these guys act before a strike !!

We have as a nation failed before naxalites and we will continue to fail against terrorism , till we address technology proactively and pre-empt strikes . Current vigilance in the name of security is a farce wasting money and delaying the check-in in the hotel & airports

Hope the policy makers take the note and act

I have marked this to our Home Minister

Mumbai airport – A true reflection of India

When you land at Mumbai next time , do peep below to get the aerial view of Mumbai- A true reflection of India .  On one side , you have dozens of aeroplanes , and the other side hundreds of Slums . That’s India .

The government will remove the slums shortly, but the poverty will not go ,it will be shifted from the eyes of the viewer. You will have swanky buildings coming up on the slums- may be a new runway or another terminal etc. So after a few months, if a visitor lands in Mumbai and sees that there are no slums , he or she will imagine India growing much faster , slums disappearing …. Poverty vanishing off fast , faster than China .

Think before you imagine the real India . We are doing cosmetic changes and these do not impact the health of our nation

We need change at the grass roots .

We are still far – far away ………….

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

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