Sunday, May 4, 2008

When did Bush become an Indian politician?

Why have food prices gone up?

It is because more Indians are now consuming food.

This is the explanation given by President Bush for the consumption (!) of Americans.

Bush is not alone in making such revelations

Here are some of Bush’s predecessors – the Indian politicians.

“Why have wheat stocks dwindled in India?”

It is because south Indians are eating chappathis now-a-days –

reply by Sharad Pawar, Union minister for Agriculture.

“Why have cloth prices gone up?”

It is because dalit women are wearing blouses –

reply by ‘Periyar’ EV Ramasamy Naikar.

But the man who stole the scene on this issue is the cartoonist Sudhir Tailang.

His cartoon (which I am not able to produce here) in today’s Deccan Chronicle

says that our Indian politicians have a great news to gloat over

that their food policy for Indians had rattled even the Americans!!

Kudos to Bush whose revelation will be used

for and against the food policy (is there any?) of India.


Bush blames India for food prices

Washington/New Delhi, May 3: The US President, Mr George W. Bush, joined his secretary of state, Ms Condoleezza Rice, in blaming the rising prosperity of India’s huge middle class for the spiralling global food prices.
Prosperity in countries like India is “good”, but it triggers increased demand for “better nutrition” which in turn leads to higher food prices, Mr Bush said. At an interactive session on the economy in Missouri, Mr Bush argued that there are many factors responsible for the present crisis, only one of which was investment on biofuels like ethanol.

“Worldwide there is increasing demand. There turns out to be prosperity in the developing world, which is good. It’s going to be good for you because you’ll be selling products in the countries, you know, big countries perhaps, and it’s hard to sell products into countries that aren’t prosperous. In other words, the more prosperous the world is, the more opportunity there is,” he said.

“It also, however, incre-ases demand. So, for example, just as an interesting thought for you, there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class... Their middle class is larger than our entire population. And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food, and so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up,” he said.

In India, all major political parties, including the Congress, BJP and the Left, lashed out Mr Bush for his comments and the Opposition used the opportunity to attack the government. Most parties said a major reason for spiralling global food prices was diversion of land producing foodcrops in the US to bio-fuel production, while the minister of state for commerce, Mr Jairam Ramesh, said Mr Bush was “completely wrong” in his assessment.

“Mr Bush has never been known for his knowledge of economics. And he has just proved once again how comprehensively wrong he is. To say that the demand for food in India is causing increase in global good prices is completely wrong,” Mr Ramesh said. The Congress criticised the US President, saying the analysis was “completely erroneous”.

“India is a not a net food importer. It is a food exporter. The assumption that local prices are increasing because of a changed India is completely erroneous,” the AICC spokesperson, Mr Manish Tewari, said, adding, “The crisis is actually because of diversion of arable land in the developed world for ethanol production and because of changes in the climate pattern.”

While the Left parties blamed the “neo-liberal economic policies imposed on India by the Bush administration”, the BJP used the US President’s statement to attack the Congress-led coalition at the Centre over its “failure” to control inflation. “The statement by George Bush fixes into the frame of irrelevancy of the statements of the UPA ministers. It is the same like Praful Patel saying that price rise is due to change in food habits,” the BJP spokesperson, Mr Prakash Javadekar, said.

Mr Bush’s comments come soon after Ms Rice came up with the theory that “apparent improvement” in the diets of people in India and China and consequent food export caps are among the causes of the current global food crisis. Several international experts have in recent days held biofuels, until recently cast as a miracle alternative to polluting fossil fuels, for being responsible for usurping arable land and distorting world food prices.

No comments: