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Now, a law to prevent wastage of food at weddings & social gatherings!

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I am sure at one point or another you may have witnessed huge wastage of good food at either someone’s weddings or a social gathering. Some of the weddings literally have hundreds of dishes many of which are not even seen, let alone eaten by the public. So where does it go? WASTE!

But, it seems that it may be a thing of past as the government plans to take strict actions again wastage of food in weddings & Social gatherings. Yes a lot of food goes to waste. According to some government figures at an average about 15-20% of the food made goes to waste. In my view, it could be even more and pretty expensive in terms of money. There are also the numbers of unaccounted people called gate crashers who enter a marriage function just to eat something and get out.

Government is planning to come up with a regulation on the lines of the Guest Control Order of the 1960s to manage the number of guests in marriages. After the recent problems like food shortages, food inflation, problem of food scarcity etc. the government has setup a committee comprising some eminent personalities ( the likes of MS Swaminathan etc.) to look into the problem of managing the entire food issue. And one of their recommendations involves this where building awareness and legislation for the same will be considered important.

Though this measure is an interesting attempt by the government at trying to save food resources, there are various problems. Who will see to that no wastage occurs at weddings because thousands occur every day in the country? What constitutes wastage – people throwing while eating after they take on their plate or excess food not being consumed? How much wastage is tolerable? What measures will help prevent this indiscriminate wastage of food? Does one have to answer anyone about the food consumed at a wedding after the entire function is over? Also, what if the reason for food wastage is real valid one….

If we consider this problem, then we can see there is food wastage everyday at messes, hotels, restaurants, bars, trains, aeroplanes etc. There is food wastage in people’s homes. There is food wastage while transporting various products from one place to another. Obviously I don’t mean that to say that food wastage is a good thing. But will the government have officers everywhere to prevent such wastage? Can such a thing be monitored all the time?

Instead what can be done is to prevent wastage during transportation by encouraging retailers to develop their cold storage. Large amounts of tomato and other crops have been wasted this year because of poor storage, inability to handle excess capacity etc. The milk products are spoilt very fast because of poor logistics and supply chain. Hundreds of Tons of food grains go rotting due to improper warehousing facilities. Law should be bought here..

For other times, the issue of wastage of food can be tackled by creating awareness about the importance of saving food for that one extra meal for the poor. Or one can probably have something like food credits at restaurants, hotels etc. similar to carbon credits. One can exchange these food credits if a restaurant or event management company for weddings cause less loss of food. But for that too some kind of evaluation and monitoring would need to be done.

This is a really good move by the government. But it has a long way to go if to develop into a concrete option to save food for the poor by a large amount.

  1. tasneem says

    best idea dude

  2. Madhav Shivpuri says

    Good points by all commenters already.

    What I would say is ‘economics’ is the answer. What is the cost to people at marriages throwing out the food? Money goes out their own pockets- bride’s parents or something like that. So will they make more and throw? In a family of 3 (like Altaf’s comment) will the family throw out out cooked food to the streets if the onions and dals which goes into the curry already cost a fortune?

    Now, what is the cost incurred by the govt to let food grains be eaten by mice or let it decay? Zero or something nearly that! Anyway, it doesn’t hurt their pockets! If the Govt was to purchase the grains from farmers using the politician’s salaries and repay the politicians after the grains were sold…might not be enough money to purchase the thousands of tonnes of veggies and grains but I like the thought :-)

    1. tasneem says

      yes of course!

  3. liju philip says

    When nothing works, BAN works. That’s how successive govts in India work. Its just the incompetence of the govt in getting problems under control that makes them ban.

    The issue with inflation is supply side, infrastructure sucks in India. There is no proper storage of food grains. They are left to the mercy of nature on empty airstrips.

    Wish the govt bothers to get its house in order before taking such drastic steps.

  4. Altaf Rahman says

    Excellent point @ Pooja.

    Government is trying to divert the attention from the main problem by showing some silly issue.

    It is still fresh in the memory of the people when only few months back Supreme Court has asked govt to atleast distribute the overflowing food grains in its old delapidated godowns. The govt refused to do so by saying procedures wont allow it.

    The Supreme Court has asked the govt repeatedly what is it going to do? Govt said they will reply soon. Till now they did not come up with a solution.

    Wastage in food after cooking is a natural phenomenon. Even in a house of only a husband and wife also there can be wastage. (After the wife cooks food, the hubby comes home and says he dont feel like eating. Some times the food goes into fridges, some times into dustbin). As the author rightly pointed, the wastage in hostels, mess, restaurants are accepted fact of life.

    Same with marriage. Suppose you are inviting people for a party of lets say 50 people. Do you take the risk of the food shortage in an unforeseen circumstance? You normally prepare a little extra to consider for those, unexpected guests, gate crashers etc. You dont want your party to be remembered for a party where there was food shortage. It is perfectly alright to have extra food. May be for the humble beggers the sheer size of food cooked may look vulgar but so is the spending habits of the rich. That does not mean govt has a business to meddle in the affairs of people.

    If people in India are going hungry, it is not because of the wastage of food in parties which failed to go to poor. The people go hungry because of govt inability to ensure sufficient supply.

    The problem is insufficient storage for food articles in India literally for every item. The godowns are outdated and unhygenic. We are following west in laying good roads. We are following west in providing best telcom services. Why cant we see Western storage complexes and follow? I dont see a single food storage silo complex anywhere in India. Modern Scientific storage systems will minimize food spoiling, store maximum tonnage at low operating cost.

    Govt should allow private sector to invest in food storage in massive quantities.

    I feel that every district Head quarters (650 or so in all) should have massive food storage facilities by private sector. The there should be smaller storage facilities best suited for specific item (like dal, wheat, rice, sugar, veg. oil) and cold storage facilities for vegitables and fruits.

    In every food related article I write the same comment.

    I dont know when govt and ministries get technical.

    Just my two paisa :)

  5. Pooja Gupta says

    Wastage of food in government godowns accounts for the maximum food wastage. Why doesnt govt. first tries to control the wastage at its own end and then come up with such laws – which cannot be implemented effectively and only provide another extra route for the local policewallahs to earn the extra bucks.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Yeah I agree completely with you. But then the idea is a pretty noble initiative though implementation is going to be a big headache and I doubt the government would want any more headaches right now.

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