Economist Meghnad Desai says food crisis temporary

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Mumbai, May 7 (UNI) Noted economist and the chairman Emiretus of the London School of Economics Lord Meghnad Desai today said the food crisis in the world, and especially India, was a temporary phase and the situation would soon tide over.

Blaming China for the inflation, Mr Desai said it was a passing phase and would end in 9 months.

Speaking to reporters at the 68th annual convocation ceremony of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Lord Desai said more than 15-20 per cent of food produced in India was wasted due to improper infrastructure and inadequate storage systems.

''The godowns belonging to the Food Corporation of India lack the basic facilities due to which the stored food grains are wasted and the conditions are similar in other store houses also,'' he said.

Mr Desai said the food consumption in emerging economies like India, China and other developing countries was increasing, indicating a sign of prosperity and economic development, but the same was stagnant in countries like US.

The increase in food consumption, however, should not be considered as economic development, as there are many people in India and other developing countries who have to go hungry, he cautioned.

''Can we say that there is no malnutrition in India and that all the citizens get 2 meals a day,'' Mr Desai asked.

Speaking on inflation, Mr Desai said it would come down to around 5-6 per cent by October and like the food crisis, it was also a transitory phase.

''Inflation will come down and will not rise further as some people are expecting,'' he added.

Mr Desai criticised the past Indian governments for not doing enough to control malnutrition in the last 60 years and said there are still many children who are malnourished.

''The level of malnourishment has not come down despite the improvement in economy,'' observed the economist.

He also said the increase in oil prices should be passed on to the consumers and the government should not give any subsidies on it as the subsidies did not reach the common man.

''The consumers should bear 100 per cent increase in oil prices as it is a global phenomenon and no one can do much about it,'' added Mr Desai.

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