No doubt, India's drought is nature-made. It is due to the failure of monsoon in more than half of India that has made the country fall short by 10 million tonnes in rice and an equal quantity of sugar. But the nation could have avoided the man-made misery, the food crisis which is because of globalisation. Massive land grabbing, displacing farmers and abnormal growth of the landless have led to a situation where those who depend on the land have been further marginalised. Our growth rate has been hitting nearly 10 percent for the past two decades. Even this year it is 6.1 percent. Yet the number of the poor, roughly 70 percent of the population, has not shown any appreciable dent. There is no paradox except that the extra-earned money has gone to the pockets of the rich. The growing luxury crops for exports have told upon the cultivation of rice and wheat. Rice has also been exported on a large scale when India needs every grain of it. The globalisation had put India under an obligation to export. But this could have been avoided if some ministers and top bureaucrats had not fallen prey to the temptation of making money under the table. The Centre has shown a lot of concern, but there is no word about an inquiry into the scandal. India has not yet realised that the growth rate does not reduce poverty and hunger. It aggravates both. The Manmohan Singh government has not yet woken up to the fact that the model of industrial agriculture and globalised trade on food are responsible for the creation of hunger. Farmers have inevitably depended on debt for help, not realising that a debt trap is also a hunger trap. Many suicides have taken place and many more would. The poor in India are worse off because the avenue of their livelihood has been destroyed, thanks to globalisation. The middle classes are even worse because they are eating inferior, not better. Junk and processed food is forced on them through globalisation. The country is now the epicentre of the malnutrition of the poor who do not get enough. The malnutrition of the rich is because their diets have been degraded with the Americanised food culture. President Bush made a fallacious argument when he was in office. He said the food crisis in India was because the Indian middle class has expanded more than America's total population and is consuming more food grains. But what he does not know is that India on the whole still eats less. A report on the Causes and Cures for Food Security which has come out in the last few days says: "President Bush's bio-fuel policies and his protection of the grain cartel are the real reason for the price rise." Food has been transformed into a commodity controlled by joint corporations. The uncontrollable rise in food prices is clearly an outcome of the economic policies which have been framed to fit into the neo-liberal paradigm enunciated by the West. The government has intervened at every step to create corporate monopolies in the food system - from steel to domestic production, trade to food process, to liberalised imports to export oriented agriculture. Though the government intervention has unleashed a forced driving up food prices, it is now throwing up its hand and saying it can do nothing to control prices. At the Global Agro-Industrial Forum meeting on April 11 last year, PM Manmohan Singh said a steep rise in food prices would make inflation control more difficult and might hurt macro-economic stability. He, however, ruled out the return to an era of blind control to check prices. "We cannot react to such a situation by returning to an era of blind controls and by depressing agriculture terms of trade," said the PM. After having shaped an economy which is leading to high cost food for the poor, he has said he believes in running a "hands off economy." This is putting the economy on autopilot for corporate control of food systems. Imports are no longer affordable, and a model based on import dependency might be in the interest of the US government which has always used food as a weapon. It is definitely not in the interest of India's food sovereignty, nor in the interest of the 70 percent of India's population, already denied access to adequate food. A decade and more of corporate globalisation has devastated agriculture worldwide with the promise of cheap food. Yet the very forces and processes that have launched the globalisation are taking food beyond people's reach. Prices of food are rising worldwide. More than 33 countries have witnessed riots. India has had very high increase in prices of essential commodities. All kinds of reasons are being thrown around, including population growth. These are outrages explanations because prices have doubled over the past year, but not the population. When India's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru found that after pumping in thousands of crores in the economy through the First Five Year Plan, there was no improvement, he immediately appointed a top economic expert to find out where the money had gone. The report showed that the extra money was pocketed by the rich. Nehru was not surprised but felt hurt that Mahatma Gandhi's advice to the industrialists and businessmen to act as trustees had made no difference. In fact, whatever Mahatma Gandhi preached on village economy and self-reliance has not been followed at all. He is not to blame but those who run the government are. The main reason why more hunger is increasing when India is growing financially is because the globalisation which the trio - PM Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia - has pushed is detrimental to the country. Economically competent, they have got lost in the theories they have themselves adumbrated for development. What surprises me is that the PM has not set up a committee - he appoints one at the drop of a hat - to find out where the income generated through nearly the trebling of the GDP has vanished. The rich and middle classes have no doubt lined up their pockets. Still this is only a partial answer. The nation needs to know the full story. The writer is a former member of the Indian Parliament and senior journalist E-mail:knayar@nation.com.pk