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54. Revealing Figures

The following facts and figures taken from a pamphlet entitled Food Crisis, 1946, are of special interest in view of the food shortage :

Production of Foodstuffs in India (1945-46)

Rice 25.8 million tons
Wheat 8.3 ,, ,,
Gram 3.0 ,, ,,
Millets 7.5 ,, ,,
Maize 2.2 ,, ,,
Barley 1.7 ,, ,,

The above quantity has been found insufficient for the total population of India and the estimated deficit is 6 million tons.

The Punjab, C. P. and Berar, Sind, Orissa and Assam are not exporters of cereals in normal times. The deficit areas are the N.W.F.P., Bihar, U.P., Madras, Bombay, Ben­gal, the States of Travancore and Cochin, all of which have to import either wheat, rice, millet, or all.

The production v. requirements of foodstuffs annually is as follows:

Foodstuffs Production Requirements Deficit
  million tons million tons million tons
Cereals 50 60 10
Pulses 7 12 5
Vegetables & Fruits Unassessed At least double -
Fish 0.6 9 8.4
Milk 22 35 13
Eggs 2660 146000 143340(No.)

The following is a table of balanced diet for the maintenance of proper health:

Cereals 14 Oz.
Pulses 3 "
Green leafy vegetable 3 "
Root vegetable 3 "
Other vegetables 3 "
Fruits 3 "
Milk 10 "
Sugar and Jaggery 2 "
Vegetable oil, Ghee, etc. 2 "
Fish and meat 3 "
Egg 1 Only

This diet yields about 2600 calories.

The adult Indian male requires 2600 calories
Female 2100 ”
Child 12 and 13 year 2100 ”
Child 10 and 11 year 1800 ”
Child 8 and 9 year 1600 ”
Child 6 and 7 year 1300 ”
Child 4 and 5 year 1000 ”
Pregnant woman 2400 ”
Nursing mother 3000 ”

But how much do they get in comparison with other countries? The figures reveal a sorry tale:

Country Calories per head per day
America ...3,200
Great Britain ...2,600
Germany (after the war) ...1,600
Japan (under American occupation) 1,575
'Grim and dangerous level' 1,500
And India 960

No wonder the death rate and infant mortality figures are appalling:

Country 1942 Death rate per 1000 Infant mortality per 1000 births
Australia 10.5 39
Canada 9.7 54
America 10.4 40
Germany 12.7 (1940) 68
England 12.2 (1940) 54
Japan 17.6 (1938) 114 (1937)
India 22.0 163

and our expectation of life woefully short:

Country Expectation of life at birth
  Males Females
Netherlands 65.70 67.20 (1931-40)
New Zealand 65.46 68.45 (1934-38)
Sweden 64.30 66.92 (1936-40)
America 63.65 68.61
Denmark 63.50 65.80 (1936-40)
Union of S.A. 61.46 66.80 (1940)
Canada 60.90 64.70 (1940-42)
Ireland 59.00 51.00 (1940-42)
England 60.18 64.40 (1937)
Germany 59.86 62.80 (1932-34)
Italy 53.76 56.00 (1930-32)
Japan 46.92 49.63 (1935-36)
India 26.91 26.56 (1931)

Not until our people are able to get enough to eat, can all our schemes for proper housing or roads or even education and health be of any real avail. Adequate and proper diet is the first requirement of man, and to this end the energy of all Provincial Governments must be diverted forthwith if we are to live.

A. K.
Harijan, 8-9-1946