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India Asks, Should Food Be A Right For The Poor?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09food.html?_r=1&hp

Inside the drab district hospital, where dogs patter down the corridors, sniffing for food, Ratan Bhuria’s children are curled together in the malnutrition ward, hovering at the edge of starvation. His daughter, Nani, is 4 and weighs 20 pounds. His son, Jogdiya, is 2 and weighs only eight.

Landless and illiterate, drowned by debt, Mr. Bhuria and his ailing children have staggered into the hospital ward after falling through India’s social safety net. They should receive subsidized government food and cooking fuel. They do not. The older children should be enrolled in school and receiving a free daily lunch. They are not. And they are hardly alone: India’s eight poorest states have more people in poverty — an estimated 421 million — than Africa’s 26 poorest nations, one study recently reported.

For the governing Indian National Congress Party, which has staked its political fortunes on appealing to the poor, this persistent inability to make government work for people like Mr. Bhuria has set off an ideological debate over a question that once would have been unthinkable in India: Should the country begin to unshackle the poor from the inefficient, decades-old government food distribution system and try something radical, like simply giving out food coupons, or cash?

The rethinking is being prodded by a potentially sweeping proposal that has divided the Congress Party. Its president, Sonia Gandhi, is pushing to create a constitutional right to food and expand the existing entitlement so that every Indian family would qualify for a monthly 77-pound bag of grain, sugar and kerosene. Such entitlements have helped the Congress Party win votes, especially in rural areas.

To Ms. Gandhi and many left-leaning social allies, making a food a legal right would give people like Mr. Bhuria a tool to demand benefits that rightfully belong to them. Many economists and market advocates within the Congress Party agree that the poor need better tools to receive their benefits but believe existing delivering system needs to be dismantled, not expanded; they argue that handing out vouchers equivalent to the bag of grain would liberate the poor from an unwieldy government apparatus and let them buy what they please, where they please.

“The question is whether there is a role for the market in the delivery of social programs,” said Bharat Ramaswami, a rural economist at the Indian Statistical Institute. “This is a big issue: Can you harness the market?”

India’s ability, or inability, in coming decades to improve the lives of the poor will very likely determine if it becomes a global economic power, and a regional rival to China, or if it continues to be compared with Africa in poverty surveys.

India vanquished food shortages during the 1960s with the Green Revolution, which introduced high-yield grains and fertilizers and expanded irrigation, and the country has had one of the world’s fastest-growing economies during the past decade. But its poverty and hunger indexes remain dismal, with roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight.

..........

A farmer, Mr. Bhuria fell into deep debt six years ago after he mortgaged his land for a loan of 150,000 rupees, or about $3,200. Like most people in the district, Mr. Bhuria is a Bhil, a member of a minority group whose customs call for the family of the groom to pay a “bride price” before a wedding. Mr. Bhuria spent most of his loan on his brother’s wedding and was left landless, yet he and his wife kept having children. They now have six.

..........

Moneylenders are common across rural India, often providing loans at extortionate rates. Some farmers hand over food booklets as collateral. Sitting in a small shop, Salim Khan said people approach him for loans when a child is sick or if they need cash to travel for migrant work.

“Until they repay me,” he said, “I keep their ration card.”

He uses the cards to buy grain at government Fair Price Shops at the subsidized rate of about 2 rupees, or 4 cents, a kilogram. He resells it on the open market for six times as much. The margin represents interest on the loan. He has held the ration cards of some migrants for seven years. “Sometimes I’ll have 50 cards,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll have 100 or 150. It’s not just me. Other lenders do this, too.”

He said he was willing to lend slightly more money to the most destitute because their yellow ration booklets made him eligible for the full 77 pounds of grain, the most available in a tiered rationing system. “The yellow ones are best for me,” he said.

India has too many people and clearly it needs a cultural shift. Nice to see the bankers at hand again to help impoverish the people. Still your poor all you have is sex and I'm guessing contraception isn't freely and widely available in India.

Until the govt address the population issues it won't help the poor, giving out cash will cause inflation and allows people to spend the money elsewhere and will possible create a speculative bubble.

The govt wants to remain popular so it's not going to do what's necessary to tackle the poverty issue.

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I Understand it is illegal to have "untouchables" in India.

clearly, banning the word hasnt banned the practice.

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Inside the drab district hospital, where dogs patter down the corridors, sniffing for food, Ratan Bhuria’s children are curled together in the malnutrition ward, hovering at the edge of starvation. His daughter, Nani, is 4 and weighs 20 pounds. His son, Jogdiya, is 2 and weighs only eight.

Outcome 1 (Traditional): most poor children starve.

Outcome 2: (Saint Geldof) poor children get relief and grow up like their parents to produce a brood of desperate children of their own in a fast-growing pyramid of misery.

Outcome 3: (China) poor children get relief, but constraints are placed on the level of breeding to put a cap on the pyramid.

Corrupt money and profiteering are disgusting, but are no more than an edge-effect when you set yourself the paradoxical goal of allowing unlimited breeding while at the same time preventing child death.

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Outcome 1 (Traditional): most poor children starve.

Outcome 2: (Saint Geldof) poor children get relief and grow up like their parents to produce a brood of desperate children of their own in a fast-growing pyramid of misery.

Outcome 3: (China) poor children get relief, but constraints are placed on the level of breeding to put a cap on the pyramid.

Corrupt money and profiteering are disgusting, but are no more than an edge-effect when you set yourself the paradoxical goal of allowing unlimited breeding while at the same time preventing child death.

outcome 1 over the next 50 years is almost inevitable on current population trends & climate mayhem !

outcome 2 population spikes due to st geldoph-ilks followed by crop failure compounds the misery

outcome3 - this is the intersting one for India, most Indians believe in reincarnation, without more people how will the current people ascend up the caste system to enlightenment ?

Without more bodies/souls they would have to reincarnate into bugs or trees, they don' like this idea.

Also child workers = wealth = the child is the benefit.

From my time there I noticed the Asians have a greater tolerance (they seem happy) for population density & noise than Europeans.....not sure why ?

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Guest Noodle

outcome 1 over the next 50 years is almost inevitable on current population trends & climate mayhem !

outcome 2 population spikes due to st geldoph-ilks followed by crop failure compounds the misery

outcome3 - this is the intersting one for India, most Indians believe in reincarnation, without more people how will the current people ascend up the caste system to enlightenment ?

Without more bodies/souls they would have to reincarnate into bugs or trees, they don' like this idea.

Also child workers = wealth = the child is the benefit.

From my time there I noticed the Asians have a greater tolerance (they seem happy) for population density & noise than Europeans.....not sure why ?

Not so sure. What's the fertility rate on the Indian sub-continent now?

Over here, 30 years ago it was 6.5 children per woman, down to 1.64 now and falling (2.1 is accepted as the fertility rate to maintain the population at it's current level).

Peak people possibly preventing planetary pulverization?

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Outcome 1 (Traditional): most poor children starve.

Outcome 2: (Saint Geldof) poor children get relief and grow up like their parents to produce a brood of desperate children of their own in a fast-growing pyramid of misery.

Outcome 3: (China) poor children get relief, but constraints are placed on the level of breeding to put a cap on the pyramid.

Corrupt money and profiteering are disgusting, but are no more than an edge-effect when you set yourself the paradoxical goal of allowing unlimited breeding while at the same time preventing child death.

What a dreadful indictment on human-kind that that phrase can even find its way in to a seemingly serious sentence.

I realise you are making a different point about society interfering with nature in one respect but not another. My point is just that, look at what we have become that even talking about controlling breeding seems okay.

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What a dreadful indictment on human-kind that that phrase can even find its way in to a seemingly serious sentence.

I realise you are making a different point about society interfering with nature in one respect but not another. My point is just that, look at what we have become that even talking about controlling breeding seems okay.

Or simply leave it to the horrors of nature. :huh:

We cannot outgrow our petri dish. Not an option.

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Or simply leave it to the horrors of nature. :huh:

We cannot outgrow our petri dish. Not an option.

I obviously didn't make my point very clearly, never mind.

I'll wait for notification regarding approval to engage in the most basic human function.

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Or simply leave it to the horrors of nature. :huh:

We cannot outgrow our petri dish. Not an option.

Exactly Noodle. Mankind in some parts of the world seems to act like one giant Ponzi scheme, always relying on more people being created at the bottom of the pyramid.

It will end in tears.

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What a dreadful indictment on human-kind that that phrase can even find its way in to a seemingly serious sentence.

I realise you are making a different point about society interfering with nature in one respect but not another. My point is just that, look at what we have become that even talking about controlling breeding seems okay.

What we have become ?

Crazy monkeys didn't get to the top of the food chain by "being nice & kind" we got there by eating other species out of existence :D

Within our 'troop' the upper layers are the most dangerous, those monkeys will destroy the planet before the games up !!

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Not to sound rather ruthless...

The people at the very bottom serve a purpose though... They are allowed to breed for the a potential great war in the near future.

Everybody in China around 30-50 years old was effectively bred for a massive war with the USSR which never happened.

Same thing with India.... at some point they will have a war, a BIG one and he who has the most expendable infantry wins. India outnumbers Pakistan on raw population numbers 8-1. Old rules about how many infantry you can mobilise no longer apply. The 5-10% of the population max is irrelevant due to automation and mechanisation of arms, food and ammunition manufacture.

So while WWI we could barely manage to scrape together 1 million infantry, 2015 we can easily conscript 40 million infantry to send off to war to die.

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What we have become ?

Crazy monkeys didn't get to the top of the food chain by "being nice & kind" we got there by eating other species out of existence :D

Within our 'troop' the upper layers are the most dangerous, those monkeys will destroy the planet before the games up !!

WTF are you on about?

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I obviously didn't make my point very clearly, never mind.

I'll wait for notification regarding approval to engage in the most basic human function.

Can still do that and not make a baby.

Would you rather people enjoyed themselves and have too many children growing up in poverty, or they enjoy themselves and have fewer children growing up in suitable conditions?

Contraception is the greatest ever environmental technology.

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You know this reminds me of a section in the book Better than Life.

It stated that the general principle of humans was to disagree. Humanity's history was one of war, where entire nations of people would agree for short periods of time to declare entire nations loonies and would fight to wipe them out.

For 4000 years this was all dandy and fine, except humans got too good at war with the invention of the A bomb. And thus mankind's favourite past time war was taken away like the favorite toy of a child and was left to it's own devices. There was talk about limited wars, even warettes but of course nobody could agree on it.

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Exactly Noodle. Mankind in some parts of the world seems to act like one giant Ponzi scheme, always relying on more people being created at the bottom of the pyramid.

It will end in tears.

Population here is now in rapidly decline, birth rate is very low. Attitudes change. People become wealthier and employ technology to provide.

My mother-in-law had 12 children. 6 survived. All her children are grown up, 24-37 now. She has 3 grandchildren!

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Can still do that and not make a baby.

Would you rather people enjoyed themselves and have too many children growing up in poverty, or they enjoy themselves and have fewer children growing up in suitable conditions?

Contraception is the greatest ever environmental technology.

Remind me where in my post I offered any suggestions regarding resolving the issue. Remind me where I concluded that we shouldn't control the population.

I was merely passing comment regarding how dreadful it is that we have arrived in this situation. A situation where it seems reasonable for a group of people to decide how much 'breeding' I am allowed to do.

I assume you don't think that potential overpopulation it is an optimal situation? No, nor do I.

Like I said, I obviously didn't convey my point very well. Although re-reading it it looks pretty clear to me. Never mind.

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Remind me where in my post I offered any suggestions regarding resolving the issue. Remind me where I concluded that we shouldn't control the population.

I was merely passing comment regarding how dreadful it is that we have arrived in this situation. A situation where it seems reasonable for a group of people to decide how much 'breeding' I am allowed to do.

I assume you don't think that potential overpopulation it is an optimal situation? No, nor do I.

Like I said, I obviously didn't convey my point very well. ALthough re-reading it it looks pretty clear to me. Never mind.

Your clarification is gratefully accepted.

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Population here is now in rapidly decline, birth rate is very low. Attitudes change. People become wealthier and employ technology to provide.

My mother-in-law had 12 children. 6 survived. All her children are grown up, 24-37 now. She has 3 grandchildren!

They should stop growing labour intensive rice and switch to super potatoes instead I reckon. Granted it will annoy my dad as he won't be able to buy the Thai fragrant rice which is the only thing he eats these days (he still hasn't gone home yet and is bunkered up in my sisters house).

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Bit rich of the govt to say that.

Abolish your caste system first because when you force people to live in shanty hut things and clean up shit for a living with no hope of getting out then what do you expect?

Typical backwards country that refuses to abandon its old, backwards concepts.

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Bit rich of the govt to say that.

Abolish your caste system first because when you force people to live in shanty hut things and clean up shit for a living with no hope of getting out then what do you expect?

Typical backwards country that refuses to abandon its old, backwards concepts.

Caste systems still exist all over the place though they just pretend it they don't see it. It even exists in China and even HK.

In HK you get

Cacasians -> Cantonese -> Hakka -> Mainland Chinese -> dogs -> Cats -> zombies -> Black people -> Filipinos and Indonesians.

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Caste systems still exist all over the place though they just pretend it they don't see it. It even exists in China and even HK.

In HK you get

Cacasians -> Cantonese -> Hakka -> Mainland Chinese -> dogs -> Cats -> zombies -> Black people -> Filipinos and Indonesians.

On HPC:

Smug STRs -> Permabears -> Goldbugs -> Tin Foil Hatters -> Bulls -> confused/depressed/drunk nutters

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On HPC:

Smug STRs -> Permabears -> Goldbugs -> Tin Foil Hatters -> Bulls -> confused/depressed/drunk nutters

On HPC OT is is

confused/depressed/drunk nutters -> left wing, confused/depressed/drunk nutters -> sane people

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They should stop growing labour intensive rice and switch to super potatoes instead I reckon. Granted it will annoy my dad as he won't be able to buy the Thai fragrant rice which is the only thing he eats these days (he still hasn't gone home yet and is bunkered up in my sisters house).

Being/been done. 56 tonnes of spuds came off one plot this year. Prices are up mind.

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On HPC OT is is

confused/depressed/drunk nutters -> left wing, confused/depressed/drunk nutters -> sane people

Self anaylsis . . .

Confused? Yes.

Left wing? No.

Depressed? Not when I'm here in OT.

Drunk? Tee-total.

Nutter? Probably.

Sane? Hardly.

Jack enjoys it here. He wouldn't chat here if he didn't.

Jack! We need a bike thread. Japanese vs. European would be a good theme.

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Being/been done. 56 tonnes of spuds came off one plot this year. Prices are up mind.

They should create a fake 'flu' epidemic / pandemic. Hand out medication or even start giving annual 'flu jabs'. This medication could contain sterilisation agents that are randomly triggered. The jabs could include mind controlling micro drones. They could even start using companies to organise these jabs for staff.

Wait a minute............ :(

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  • 276 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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