Nagpur News: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) today leveled serious charges against Union Commerce Minister Mr. Anand Sharma for misleading the Prime Minister and the Union Cabinet in matter of allowing FDI in Retail by quoting absolutely incorrect facts and figures of food wastage losses in India despite of the fact that the actual facts and figures of food wastage in India was made available to the Government on 3rd September,2010 by a comprehensive study commissioned by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), an organization which comes under the domain of Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
CAIT National President B.C Bhartia & Secretory General Praveen Khandelwal at Nagpur today while questioning the credibility of the notification of FDI in Retail said that if the economic policies of the Country will be drafted on the basis of incorrect facts and figures, it will certainly hit the economy badly and we will be forced to land in a situation what USA and other European Countries are facing ?
The people sitting at the helm of affairs in the Government including Mr. Anand Sharma repeatedly said that there is 30% to 40% food wastage in India particularly since 2010 till now whereas the detailed study of the ICAR stated that in Cereals the post harvest loss is 3.9% to 5.2%,in pulses this figure is 4.3% to 6.1%,in Oil seeds it is 2.8% to 10.1%,in fruits the wastage is from 5.8% to 18%, in vegetables it is 6.8% to 12.5%,in spices it is 1.1% to 8.7%,in livestock, jiggery & Khandsari it is 0.8% to 6.9% .Even after knowing in the year 2010, the much less facts and figures of post harvest losses various responsible people in the Government including Mr. Anand Sharma, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, former finance minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Kaushik Basu,former Advisor to Finance Minister, several Chief Ministers of States, various Ministries of Union Govt and others have at least 20 times repeated the exaggerated figures of 30% to 40% of food wastage in India just to advocate and justify the need of FDI in Retail to develop backend infrastructure in order to reduce the food wastage.
The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while addressing to the nation on 21st September, the day after the notification of allowing FDI in Retail categorically stated that a third of our fruits and vegetables wasted because of storage and transit loss. He further stated that foreign investor will have to invest 50% of their money in building new warehouses, cold storages and modern transport system. It clearly establishes the fact the even the Prime Minister was also misled by not providing the correct figures of ICAR besides misleading the nation on such an important matter which has been advocated by the Govt as one of the major reasons for allowing FDI in Retail. On the other side in the notification issued one day prior to PMs Address to the nation while defining backend infrastructure does not include the explicit words “cold storages and modern transport system”.
Interestingly, two Union State Ministers for food processing Mr. Harish Rawat in Feburary 2011 in a reply to a question in Parliament referred the figures of ICAR and Mr. Charan Das Mahan on May, 04,2012 quoted the figures of ICAR in Parliament. Even the Working Group on Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure set up by Planning Commission in its report in December,2011 included the figures of ICAR about food wastage. The Secretary & Director General Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture appreciated the ICAR report in September, 2010.
Under the circumstances narrated above, the CAIT has charged Commerce Minister Mr. Anand Sharma for concealing the true facts and figures about food wastage in India which was known to the Government in September, 2010 itself. The CAIT has posed several questions to Mr. Anand Sharma.
Whether it is correct that the Government came to know about correct figures of food wastage of ICAR in September, 2010. ?
If so, what were the compelling circumstances which forced Mr. Anand Sharma and others to repeat the incorrect figure of 40% food wastage until now?
What figures of food wastage was quoted in the Cabinet Note on which the Union Cabinet took decision to allow FDI in Retail?
If this figure was 40%, in the Cabinet Note, then why not the Minister of Food Processing and Minister of Agriculture raised objections and stated the correct figures of ICAR?
Why the PMO was provided with incorrect figures which reflected in his address to the nation?
Is it not true that exaggerated figures were repeatedly quoted to built an alarming environment where need of building cold storage and modern transport system through FDI in Retail could be proved to be the only way?
Why the explicit words “cold storage and modern transport system” were not incorporated while defining backend infrastructure in the notification?
Is it not true that the notification in question has incorporate several conditions much against what the Government is preaching during last six months?
The CAIT has demanded a response from Commerce Minister Mr. Anand Sharma about the questions raised herein . The CAIT has also demanded that since the basic fundamentals of the notification are based on incorrect figures and facts, the Government should withdraw the notification and an open discussion be conducted with all stakeholders of retail trade and political parties.