Fall in real income deprived cereals for majority of Indians

Adding to the ongoing debate over the efficacy of the Food Security Bill, an Indian economist has argued that falling real income has deprived a vast population of the country of cereals.

The paper only endorses earlier researches on similar lines which have been saying that economic prosperity has not helped to improve the conditions of a big segment of population. The research paper, which has been published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), says that cereal consumption is strongly associated with the real income.

The paper has reached its conclusion by analysing various data on cereal consumption and income, including that of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank.  “We find that over a certain period per capita cereal consumption has declined for a vast segment of population,” says Krishna of Delhi University in his paper published last week. The economist has dismissed propositions that other factors affect per capita consumption of cereals.

Researchers Michel Morisset and Pramod Kumar in their research had argued that “economic growth did result in distribution of wealth among the households but the resulted increase in expenditures went on non-food items and mostly on education, medical care, rent, taxes, fuel and light”. ­­“The consumption pattern of the households is observed to move away from cereals and pulses to edible oil, dry fruits and beverages and other proce­ssed products,” they said and argued that shift to processed food has also affected cereal consumption.

The view was supported by votaries of lieral economy.

However, the EPW research paper rejects them on the ground that they have not been established independently.

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