Despite Surplus Food, 20% Indians Go Hungry: Expert

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Srinagar, Sept 22 : “Modern humanity is destroying the natural world on which the survival of our entire posterity depends.” This was said by renowned economist and writer Prof HM Desarda- a former member of Maharashtra State planning board while delivering a public lecture at University of Kashmir on “Challenges of equitable and sustainable development” here on Friday.

During the lecture which was organised by Department of Economics University of Kashmir Prof HM Desarda said “It is astonishing to find that despite producing 250 million tonnes of food every year we are not able to distribute it equitably amongst a population of over 100 crores and due to this inequitable distribution of food amongst the consumers more than 20 percent population of the country cannot manage 2- time meals a day.”

Prof Desarda while maintaining that modern economics is based on self-interest said “The major challenge which we are facing today is to protect the remaining natural capital and humanity from further devastation and extinction. This can be done by promoting the concept of organic state where there is minimal or no use of fertilizers and chemicals in the agricultural practices.”

He added “We need both energy and water but what we have to ask ourselves is that whether the construction of dams and GRID stations is the only way of achieving these. We have to devise and look upon alternate resources which are in harmony with our natural habitat and can cause less damage to the ecology.”

Terming 20th century as a century of “violence” which devastated the natural resources and ecology of the planet Prof Desarda said “Rising temperatures, melting of poles, shrinking of glaciers, hurricanes, torpedos, flash floods, ozone depletion, global warming, and tsunamis are the gifts of the 20th century where human activities and unneeded interventions in the name of development and growth created havoc as a result of which the air we breathe today, the water we drink and the food we eat have become hazardous for consumption.”

Desarda while maintaining that there is a need for sustainable development said “We have to first understand the eco-system around us and once we gain that ecological perspective of our day-to-day life then we will have better and clear understanding of the political and economic practices governing our socio-cultural life.”

In his presidential address Vice Chancellor University of Kashmir Prof Talat said “These interactions provide an opportunity to our students and scholars to interact with the experts and veterans in the field and promote the culture of cross fertilization of ideas in the campus.”

In his remarks Vice Chancellor SKAUST (K) Prof Tej Pratap said “We have to think globally but act locally and adapt only those agricultural practices which can suffice our local needs without damaging our ecology and as per the indicators it has been proved that despite investing 100 crores every year on plant or crop health most of the things which we eat today are unhealthy.”

In his welcome address head, department of economics Prof GM Bhat said “The idea of sustainable development is to ensure all round growth and development without compromising on the availability of natural resources in future.” Prof Bhat said that the Department of Economics University of Kashmir holds such interactions regularly to help students benefit from the experiences of renowned academicians and Practitioners in the field of economics .

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