Beef or meat ban is just a news for us middle class Indians. Similarly, the price rice of pulses would unsettle us for just a few days, following which we continue to buy them, though with a winch on our faces. But imagine the condition of the lower castes, the Dalits and the impoverished!
A 2010 research paper showed that Dals are the cheapest and most widely consumed source of proteins in India. 9 out of 10 people, be it rich or poor, have dal at least once a week and only 1 in 3 have animal protein once a week. Certainly, the equation reverses now with prices of pulses shooting up to Rs 187/kg.
Ban Dal and not meat. While the government is struggling to boost the Dal supply in the country, we have ready flow of animal protein, that too at a price much lower than Dal.
Buy a whole chicken for just 120 and beef is even cheaper, which is also popular among the tribals and the Dalits, leave alone Muslims. In fact, beef is also a contributor in the country's economy as it is a basis of vast industry which employs or contributes to the employment of millions of people.
Restriction on Beef has also affected farmers who are already facing a draught-like situation. Now, they cannot even sell their animals. IN Maharashtra, the beef ban has taken a toll on animals in the zoo too. They are being fed on chicken and not their usual diet of Beef, cutting down their nutrition intake.
Incidentally, India has some 300 million cattle and cows roaming about on the streets of towns and villages. Their numbers will swell in Maharashtra alone by 200,000 as increasing number of farmers are abandoning the animals they cannot sell.
India will soon turn its face away from Dal
Now that we have enough reasons to retain beef sale in the market, a probe into the price rise of the pulses is also required.
What surprises us is the fact that India is dal deficit, even though it produces a quarter of the total pulses production in the world, but consumes only a third of it. The rest of it goes for export.
To compensate the very deficit, the government had to get yellow peas dal from Canada, which is primarily used as animal feed. Pitching on its high nutritious content, the government of India had to hardsell it to the resisiting population. And now, it constitutes 70% of total pulses imports, comprising half of Canada's production of the legume.
Apart from this, we have been importing pigeon peas, gram, urad, moong, masur, and kidney beans. Nevertheless, the Indian government is not ablt to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Statistics imply that there has been a jump in the production of dal from an average of 14 million tonnes to 17.5 million tonnes in the last three years. But the demand touches 22 MT.
And the vicious cycle of demand and supply continues, in turn, digging the hole in the pockets of common man.
According to the Price Monitoring Cell of Consumer Affairs Ministry, tur dal price has gone up to Rs 181 per Kg from Rs 85 per Kg, Urad Dal has gone up to Rs 187 per Kg from Rs 99/Kg last year.
The trial rests! Meat wins over Dal. Anyone listening?