Administrative mismanagement is to be blamed for India’s current food inflation, said Ajay Chhibber, Director General of Independent Evaluation Office, Government of India. He was speaking on the topic ‘India’s Development Record in the Asian Context’, at the Madras Institute of Development Studies recently.
Chhibber said that India witnessed an acute food inflation even at a time when the country had more than double the targeted buffer stock of grains. Though India had four to five years of record crop production, it was one among the countries with highest inflation in the world, and this inflation was led by increase in food prices, he said. “India’s buffer stock target was 30 million tonnes. But it had 80 million tonnes of grains in its godowns. This is an extra buffer stock of 50 million tones. One would think how a country can face inflation in such a scenario,” he said.
He added that the situation was more surprising, considering the fact that the food grains were largely managed by the government. “India has one of the most extensive public distribution systems and the government is the largest trader of food grains. In spite of this, it faces one of the highest inflations in the world,” he said.
He added that while most Asian countries had seen some slowdown in the growth rates, India fared among the worst, in comparison. India, in spite of being largely driven by internal consumption, still fared worse than other Asian markets, he said.