Category Archives: Miscellaneous
Contrary to popular belief, India is not a poor country. Just terribly selfish and heartless. After all, they worship millions of gods who are heartless (because they are no god). If you’ve been raised to believe India as synonymous with poverty, you’ve been lied to.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Every day some 3,000 Indian children die from illnesses related to malnutrition, and yet countless heaps of rodent-infested wheat and rice are rotting in fields across the north of their own country.
It is an extraordinary paradox created by a rigid regime of subsidies for grain farmers, a woeful lack of storage facilities and an inefficient, corruption-plagued public distribution system that fails millions of impoverished people.
And it is an embarrassment for the government led by the Congress party, which returned to power in 2009 thanks in large part to pledges of welfare for the poor, who make up about 40 percent of the 1.2 billion population.
Quite why the authorities could not simply offload the mountains of grain for free to fill empty stomachs is puzzling, but the explanation lies in the complex regulations that govern procurement and distribution.
“This is a case of criminal neglect by the government,” said D. Raja, national secretary of theCommunist Party of India, an opposition group. “The ruling party has been the worst manager of the demand-supply of food grains.”
Officials say that, in all, about 6 million tonnes of grain worth at least $1.5 billion could perish. Analysts say the losses could be far higher because more than 19 million tonnes are now lying in the open, exposed to searing summer heat and monsoon rains.
Saddomajra, a village in the bread-basket, Punjab, is one of the dumping grounds for the record stockpile of wheat that has accumulated after half a decade of bumper harvests in the world’s second-largest producer of the grain.
Here there are thousands of sacks of decomposing wheat, occupying an area the size of a football field and towering in some places to the height of a house. Tarpaulins cover most of the mounds, but many of the bags are torn, spilling blackened grain blighted by fungus and insects.
“The wheat has been lying there for the past five years. It smells very bad,” said Hakkam Singh, who works as a watchman at the open field. “Nobody steals it, but people use it to feed fish and poultry farms.”
At another dump, on the outskirts of Amritsar, locals told Reuters that officials sometimes dip into the sacks of rotting grain to mix it with fresh wheat for distribution to the poor who hold ration cards.
WHEAT STOCKS AT ALL-TIME HIGH
The government buys rice and wheat from farmers at a guaranteed price, a support system akin to the subsidies that led to Europe’s notorious butter mountains and milk lakes.
The government has raised the price it pays to buy wheat by more than 70 percent since 2007, which only encourages more production. As a result, stocks are now at an all-time high of about 50 milliontonnes, 12 times more than the official target.
“It’s related to pure economic security for the farmers,” said Purnima Menon, a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in New Delhi. “They make a safe choice of crops.”
Rajiv Tandon, a senior adviser for health and nutrition at aid organisation Save the Children in India, said that to diversify the country’s food basket farmers should be offered incentives to grow vegetables and other cash crops.
However, he said root-and-branch modernisation is needed. The farm sector was transformed by the introduction of high-yielding seeds, fertilisers and irrigation during the Green Revolution nearly half a century ago, ending a dependence on imports, but it has seen only incremental reform ever since.
Storage is one of the biggest problems of all.
“For the last 25 years the storage capacity has not been upgraded at all,” Tandon said. “Part of the grain is officially stored outside store houses, where the chance of rotting is high. There are often not enough sacks and tarpaulins, and sometimes it is dumped by a graveyard or cremation centre.”
Grain stocks officially deemed as stored in government warehouses now stand at a record 82.4 million tonnes. However, that is about 20 million tonnes more than actual capacity, which means grain lying in the open is being passed off as “stored”.
WHO WILL BUY?
State-run Food Corp. of India (FCI), the main grain procurement agency, buys about one-third of total wheat output to run welfare programmes and keep stocks for emergency needs.
What to do with the rest is a conundrum for the government, which is reluctant to sell wheat for less than the inflated support price it paid to farmers because it would put further strain on an already hefty fiscal deficit.
Recently it offered 6 million tonnes of rice and wheat to state administrations for the poor at cheaper rates, in addition to 55 million already earmarked for financial year 2012/13. But there were not many takers because state governments are grappling with budget overruns themselves.
Exporting wheat is not an attractive alternative.
After buying wheat from farmers and adding freight, storage and transport costs, the free on board (FOB) price is around $346 a tonne. However, Indian wheat would only be competitive in the export market at around $260, which implies a loss – effectively a further subsidy, and this time to consumers in other countries – of $85-90 per tonne for the government.
The brimming granaries forced India to lift a four-year-old ban on private exports last September, but lower global prices have scuppered those plans.
Traders say that even if India went all-out to export wheat it could at best sell 6-7 million tonnes a year because of transport bottlenecks and doubts about the quality of the grain.
New Delhi is considering the export of up to 3 million tonnes of wheat to sanctions-hit Iran, but traders say Tehran will not be falling over itself to buy because of concern that Indian grain may be tainted by fungal disease.
Last month the government decided to offer 3 million tonnes of wheat to local biscuit makers and flour millers at $205 a tonne against the $225 it paid to farmers in 2012.
“Subsidising our bread and biscuit makers is easier than subsidising consumers of other countries,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified due to political criticism of a solution to the surplus that benefits private companies rather than the poor.
In China, a large portion of wheat stocks are channelled into the country’s rapidly expanding animal feed sector, replacing more expensive corn. However, India has an exportable surplus of corn and its meat consumption is far lower, so there is little demand for wheat as a replacement for other grains.
A government-supported survey published earlier this year found that 42 percent of India’s children under 5 are underweight, almost double that of sub-Saharan Africa. The finding led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to admit that malnutrition was “a national shame”.
The cause of this widespread malnutrition cannot be tied mechanically to a lack of staples like rice and wheat.
Indeed, many families living on less than $2 a day are fuelled and filled by subsidised carbohydrate-rich food like wheat chapatis. These lack the much-needed protein and other nutrients that come in more expensive food. Poor hygiene and contaminated water are also to blame because they cause illnesses like diarrhoea, which prevents nutrient absorption.
Still, there are real grain shortages in the poorest states.
Here the problem is an inefficient and corruption-prone distribution system. Eighteen months ago investigators said millions of dollars worth of grain meant for poor families had been siphoned off and sold locally and abroad in a scam involving hundreds of government officials.
In 2010 the Supreme Court urged the government to distribute grain free to the hungry rather than let it go to waste in warehouses and open fields, but that hasn’t happened.
This is because state governments are reluctant to buy extra grain for distribution under the food welfare programme and, even if they were, only people with under-the-poverty-line ration cards would be entitled to buy it in subsidised shops.
“The problem of rotting grains and the poor going hungry lies in the system itself,” said Biraj Patnaik, principal adviser on food issues to the court.
The government is now planning a food security scheme that will guarantee cheap grain to 63.5 percent of the population.
However, critics see this as political gimmickry. They doubt that the new scheme will be less corrupt, more efficient or better targeted than current programmes, and they suspect that the government will not be able to afford a plan that may cost as much as $12 billion in additional subsidies a year. (Yahoo! India)
Interesting read… Colorado wildfires wouldn’t have been that bad if the US government actually cared. What exactly are the US citizens paying heavy taxes for if the government doesn’t use it to save their lives?? Creepy…
AP labels the 2012 Colorado wildfires worst in state history in this story.
My friend and fellow climate skeptic, nationally syndicated radio host Lars Larson, asks some pointed and pertinent questions about what appears to be some of the most idiotic policy ever devised by government. Since we’ve been covering some of the folly of trying to link the fire to global warming, I thought this government folly with trying to put it out would go along with the issues discussed here. – Anthony
He writes in an email to me from Friday:
I have new questions rolling around in my head every day but there are at least four things I know for sure this morning. This year the U.S. Forest Aervice will spend north of a billion dollars fighting forest fires across America. Billions of dollars worth of trees owned by the American people will…
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There is a lot of hype out there advocating rebellion against the Illuminati, trying to stop them from achieving their New World Order. However, there’s an ironic twist. The NWO will be established and there’s no stopping. And paradoxically it is the very people who are anti-NWO who will welcome it. Here’s how: The world is intentionally being turned into utter chaos; this is paving a way for the Antichrist to arise to usher global peace and oneness into the chaotic world. This New World Oneness itself is the New World Order! It’s a very tricky business. According to Share International, when the most awaited Maitreya emerges everything will fall into place, and the world will love him to the point of calling him god.
“He has been expected for generations by all of the major religions. Christians know him as the Christ, and expect his imminent return. Jews await him as the Messiah; Hindus look for the coming of Krishna; Buddhists expect him as Maitreya Buddha; and Muslims anticipate the Imam Mahdi or Messiah. Although the names are different, many believe that they all refer to the same individual: the World Teacher, whose personal name is Maitreya (pronounced my-tray-ah).” (Who is Maitreya) (NOTE: True Bible believers know him as the ANTICHRIST. Do not be deceived! The Lord Jesus Christ has clearly warned us beforehand to be extremely careful not to be deceived by this entity.)
So what is this Antichrist going to do? “At this time of great political, economic and social crisis Maitreya will inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and create a civilization based on sharing, economic and social justice, and global cooperation. He will launch a call to action to save the millions of people who starve to death every year in a world of plenty. Among Maitreya’s recommendations will be a shift in social priorities so that adequate food, housing, clothing, education, and medical care become universal rights. Under Maitreya’s inspiration, humanity itself will make the required changes and create a saner and more just world for all.”
His intentions are definitely a new world; a global unity, universal inclusivism, global tolerance, global religion, global everything. (Hence his title ‘World Teacher’.) The very opposers of the NWO will be making the required CHANGE (in fact it’s already begun) and accept his NWO. The Global Elites know this. Remember, they are Luciferians, and have been directing the course of this world by skillful manipulation for centuries. It is their very strategy to create chaos and rebellion towards their pretence NWO so that when their real NWO is established by the Antichrist it will be upheld by the rebels themselves! Today’s global anarchy is designed to make the populace frantic for that figure who will arise to bring about the NWO (new world oneness). When he comes there will be such awe and wonder that people will begin worshiping him for his many wonders and answers to their problems.
The youth of today are disillusioned; they are made to think they are rebelling against the evils of this world to bring about world unity, but they are in fact brainwashed by the very Elites who want global oneness; and these Elites will achieve this openness with the approval of the very generation that is opposing them when their ‘master’ enters the scene, promising the solution of the ONE WORLD! Such irony!
See anything odd?
Do you see a fallen entity with horns hidden amidst the wings? The black arrows point to the horns; the red points to the head; the blue to the knees (as though seated in a yoga position). That figure is more obvious than the wings! Am I paranoid? Absolutely not! As children of God the Father and co-heirs with Christ, we’re called to discern. Such images are inspired by the power of darkness, and they are always disguised to the carnal eye. The yoga position (a.k.a as the lotus position) is extensively used in Hinduism and eastern religions for transcendental meditation, invoking the evil spirits. Also, the Baphomet (Satan) is always portrayed as sitting in the same position. I clearly see a horned creature sitting in a lotus position – and the Spirit in me has affirmed that it’s demonic. These are NOT wings of God’s angels.