Things to do, food for thought

Context:

  • To manage our agriculture, livestock sectors during the lock-down

Need for an immediate action plan:

  • produces around 52 crore litres of milk daily.
  • 80 crore-odd live poultry, supplying meat and eggs to consumers.
  • producing maize, soybean, mustard, groundnut, cotton and other coarse grains that are ingredients for livestock feed.
  • It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that farmers are able to keep their animals alive and market the crop during lockdown.

    so, it is important to have an immediate action plan.

Issue of implementation

  • Ensuring free movements
  • to ensure ground-level implementation of already-taken decisions
  • problems in implementing the essential service reachablility.
  • smooth movement of essential items has been affected.

Suggestions for improving the implementation issue

  • Issue a single notification-> Centre must issue a single notification relating to food items in a standard format and uniform language so that all ambiguities are removed.
  • address the problems arising from restrictions on the transport
  • Invoke the ESMA-> Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) be invoked for the delivery of all essential services relating to food to prevent disruption of supplies.

Suggestions to prevent post-lockdown chaos

  • Address the rush for RawMaterials, Trucks, Rail Racks
  • First– Place all food items, agri-inputs, packaging material and transport services under ESMA for a six-month period to prevent profiteering.
    • Smooth Marketing of Agri Produces
  • Second-Suspend APMC (agricultural produce market committee) laws for the next six months
  • Third-ESMA should apply to all utilities and transport services.

Conclusion:

  • The government must start planning now to prevent post-lockdown chaos, especially profiteering in the event of shortages. Smooth recovery from the lockdown is as important as managing supplies during the lockdown.

A smarter supply line

Context

The government must ensure that people don’t go hungry and take measures to make sure that people don’t crowd a few outlets, increasing the chances of the virus spreading.

Need for the package to compensate losses:

  • Finance Minister announced a welfare package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore  is too small to cope with the onslaught of the virus.
    • Aprox-> 4-5 Lakhs Crores is required.
  • Divert all the subsidies and development funds
  • Issue clarion call for voluntary donation

Focus on supply lines of food and ways to achieve it

  • Why good food supply line matters?  -> people don’t crowd a few outlets, increasing the chances of the virus spreading.
  • to provide public distribution system can avail three months’ ration at one go.
  • The challenge of delivery:
    • Home delivery option
    • Price Control
    • Roping in civil society:
  • The challenge of supplying perishables:
    • Retail distribution lines
    • Buffer stocks

Conclusion

When things settle, it will be worth knowing how the virus spread from Wuhan to Iran, Italy, Washington, India and other parts of the world. Which organisation or nation failed to blow the whistle and alert the world in time? Was it China’s failure? Or that of WHO? Or was it the failure of all governments around the world to respond quickly to the outbreak? We need better global governance for pandemics to avert the next crisis.

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