Governance Now Masterminds

Maggi is India’s soul-searching moment

India has embarked on Make in India campaign and it is time to build products that we can trust and consume without being worried about its quality

prahlad

Prahlad Rao | June 17, 2015 | New Delhi


#make in india   #products   #maggi   #food   #air  

Everyone is a suspect. Everything is a suspect. That is India for you and me.

The food that we consume is adulterated, the air we breathe is foul and our rulers (politicians) cannot be trusted, and this just the primary list. For that matter we cannot trust the auto driver’s meter, we cannot trust the doctor, we cannot trust the vegetable vendor, the raddiwala or even the godmen to whom we surrender after all this treachery.

We bargain at every instance our encounter with the society but we have never thought of bargaining for bit of a trust.

The Maggi noodle controversy should trigger the Indian society to examine its trust factor, the deficit of it.

India is going through intense consumer culture and the consumer culture is about trust, a feeling that a product that we have paid for will satisfy us. But the profit motive has completely washed out any trace of trust and quality.

Brands are built on false marketing, misusing psychology of human mind and then brands thrive on.

The Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for 2014-15 brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says that of the 49,290 samples of food items it tested, 8,469, nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded. Remember that the FSSAI is poorly equipped organization and so even this agency’s efficiency is a suspect.

The government will amend the prevention of food adulteration Act, 1954 to ensure that the consumers get adulteration-free food, says union food and consumer affairs minister Ramvilas Paswan.  But can we trust the politicians, who are never transparent about their motives and actions. Take the current case that being highlighted in the media. A foreign minister is suspected of helping a controversial figure, and the names of a chief minister, former cabinet ministers and host of other VIPs are being thrown around in the politics of gains and losses.

Can we trust these people to govern us and also fix the things? And who are we? We are the people behind the Maggi and other products that are suspected to be harmful. Can we not be responsible enough to bring a product that will not be a poison for our neighbours?

We have not yet entrusted the society to robots but is that the solution? Let the machines run the system as they will perform as programmed. Is that we want? At least there will not a burden on us to trust or distrust the machines as they have nothing to gain and have no motives.

But then the science fiction scenario is still some years away. Till then, let us manage the society with bit of trust and concern, a concern for our fellow human beings. Make good products, and may be one day even the trust can come as a package, like the emoticons or smileys on your mobile phones.

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