‘India is likely to have worse food security problem than China in 21 century’

“I sense a contradiction between Amartya Sen’s statement of 2006 that ‘India certainly needs more economic growth’ and the argument in his book of 2009 that ‘GDP doesn’t add up’. I like him to clarify what kind of growth – if not GDP – he thinks India needs.”

Mark Lindley, visiting professor in Economics at Gujarath Vidyapith, university founded in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi, spoke at The Hindu-Business Line Club campus interface to the corporate world at the Acharya Nagarjuna University near here on Monday.

“India is likely to have worse food security problem than China in the 21 century because the population density is some two and a half times that of China (and 12 times that of the USA). It is true that India’s population is growing only about 1.5 per cent a year nowadays whereas the rate was some two per cent per year until the 1990s. I hope this trend continues,” Mr. Lindley said.

Speaking on the dwindling non-renewable resources, Mr. Lindley said economist Kenneth E. Boulding had predicted already in 1966 a ‘Spaceship Earth’ economy.

But the closed economy of the future might be called the “spaceman” economy in which the Earth would become - a single spaceship without unlimited reservoirs of anything either for exploitation or for pollution and in which man must find his place in a cyclical ecological system. He said at the end of different geological eras were noted by the huge amounts of extinctions and humankind was now entering into the end of such an era. Recalling Rachel Carson the author of the path-breaking book ‘Silent Spring’, Mr Lindley said, “Indication of harm, not absolute proof of harm, is the call to action.”

University of Hyderabad executive council member Ecological Economist H.M. Desarda said what was being considered growth was not development. It was anti-development.

The Indian farmer who strayed from organic farming to chemical farming had got into the debt trap and was being forced to commitsuicide. Nearly a quarter of a million farmers had committed suicides.

People were being seen as resources by scientists, as voters by politicians and as customers by corporate firms. Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) Registrar R.R.L. Kantham, Officer on Special Duty Z. Vishnuvardhan and Dean Faculty of Social Sciences B. Sambasiva Rao spoke.

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