It’s official now — the UPA government’s experiments with food prices have paid off.
Around 2006, with alarming threats of obesity-related issues, heart problems and other common health concerns, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came up with the idea of increasing food prices. Today, India has less number of obese people, because they have been unable to afford much to eat.
Since then, two in five overweight Indians have died of hunger, two now weigh normal, while one has killed himself — so says a research report on obesity in India. “It has been a process — our process towards a size-zero India,” said a jubilant Ghulam Nabi Azad, the health minister.
According to Azad, the government’s plan called MREGA (Motapa Removal and End to Gigantic Appetites) was successfully sponsored by the Agriculture Ministry. Farmers were made to sell food first to the Ministry at normal prices, which would then sell it to the public at higher prices. Frustrated by this injustice, several farmers have committed suicides in recent past. Although this did not affect obesity much (since the farmers were underweight), the urban obese man did indeed succumb to the high prices, Adnan Sami being a high-profile case who got cured quickly.
The department also identified constraints in providing access to health and fitness measures to the general public, and implemented measures accordingly. They had put across a proposal to the central government in order to increase the prices of the commodities.
“The increase in people’s weights is directly proportional to cheap availability of commodities. We should thank the government for curbing this; this has helped them monitor our food intake,” said the Chief Dietitian at Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Several obese people have expressed happiness over the good effects of price rise. Whereas, many who were expecting reserved seats in trains and buses due to obesity are an angry lot now, after this revelation. An overweight family we contacted cried over the death of their ancestral feature of protruded bellies.
(concept: Shrijit Nair)