The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has slammed Scroll after the latter published a report claiming that India had let 65 lakh tonnes of grains go to waste during the period of lockdown. The FCI said that the error was caused due to a misinterpretation of the terminology used in the data on the basis of which the report was authored.
Leftist propaganda website Scroll.in published an article dated June 3, 2020, titled: “India let 65 lakh tonnes of grain go to waste in four months, even as the poor went hungry”, in which it claims that instead of using its grain stocks to feed the poor and hungry during the coronavirus-lockdown crisis, the Indian government is letting this food rot in its godowns.
It claimed that in “just four months, between January 1 and May 1, the stock of rice and wheat that was not “readily issuable”, which included partially spoilt as well as damaged grain, increased from 7.2 lakh tonnes to 71.8 lakh tonnes. This is more than the amount of grain that has been distributed through PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana in April and May to deal with the crisis of livelihoods and food insecurity created by the Covid- 19 lockdown”.
FCI said that they have already spoken to one of the authors and it was confirmed that the misinformation was spread on the basis of a misinterpretation. “It is surprising to note that patently wrong information has been published in your online news portal without making any effort to check the facts and thereby giving completely wrong information to the public at large that 65 lakh MT food grain has been wasted during last 4 months.”
FCI explained that in the month of May, Rabi season wheat procurement happen at a large scale. The wheat stock thus procured is shifted to government storage houses over time. There is a certain time lag as large scale logistical operations are involved. Thus, at any given point of time, there will be a certain amount of procured wheat that has not yet been shifted to a storage house.
Consequently, there are stocks in transit as it takes time to shift them from surplus to consuming states. Due to the lockdown necessitated by the pandemic, numerous welfare schemes were launched due to which the demand for grains increased substantially. As a consequence, there was a larger amount of stock in transit.
FCI stated, “It is apparent from the news report that this quantity of wheat stocks lying in procurement centers to be shifted to storage points as well as rice and wheat under transit to consuming states from procuring states has been labelled as “wasted food grains” and has been highlighted in the article.”
“It is a matter of grave concern that neither the researchers neither your online news portal made any effort to understand the data/terminology or verify the facts before publishing a report which could tarnish the image of a public organisation like the FCI engaged in front line of fight against Covid-19,” it stated.
FCI stated that they had spoken to Dr. Vikas Rawal, one of the co-authors of the report, and he had confirmed that the data was taken by interpreting the stocks yet to be shifted to storage centers and stocks in transit as “not readily issuable”. It was also confirmed that these grains have not been wasted by any measure and they are fit for human consumption.
FCI stated that the mistake could have been avoided if they had been approached for interpretation of the data/terminology which is context specific. The actual quantity of damaged food grains was also provided by the FCI and it was demanded that Scroll issue an immediate clarification given the sensitive nature of the issue.
Scroll shared fake claim that children in Bihar are eating frogs due to lack of food, lies busted by DM
This is however not the first time the leftist mefia portal has been called out for its lies and fake news. Recently, the DM of Jehanabad, Bihar had busted Scroll’s lie after it claimed that children in Bihar are eating frogs due to lack of food.
Media portal the Scroll.in had shared a video claiming that some children in Bihar’s Jehanabad are forced to survive on frogs because they do not have food to eat during the lockdown.
Following the propagation of the claim by Scroll, DM of Jehanabad launched an investigation into the issue. Bihar government’s Information and Public Relations Department had shared the information that upon investigation into the claims made by the video, it was found that the children had enough food stored in their homes and none had any reason to catch or eat frogs.
They stated that the video was made by some individuals with a malicious intention to defame the district administration.
PIB called out Scroll
Following the clarification, Government of India’s Press Information Bureau also called out Scroll for sharing the fake and unverified claims.
Following the fact-check, Scroll has since updated its report and mentioned that their claim has been busted by the DM’s investigation.