Two years back, Aadisht (the smartest human being alive, outsmarted in intelligence only by the Jagadguru who is beyond comparison and, don’t forget, is the most important leftist blogger of our times) had written a post taking issue with Utsa Patnaik’s claim that the poor have less food than before the reforms.
He had pointed out that while they were eating less cereals than before, they were eating more of everything else – i.e. their diet had was getting richer. This is a common phenomenon. As people start affording more, they eat less of bhakri ki roti or ganji and more of vegetables and meat. At that time he got a lot of flak for the claim, and it turned out that he had not actually looked at the data sliced by income levels. Aadisht changed his blogging software after that and his posts are lost to the world, a great loss to humanity.
But nonetheless, it turns out that he was right. The poorest are eating less coarse cereals, more rice and wheat, more fruits and vegetables and more meat, fish and eggs. They are eating more of those things because their incomes have gone up and their tastes have changed. The proof can be found in the notorious free market fundamentalist publication, the Economic and Politcal Weekly (pdf link, will stay good for four months I think. After that, leave me your email and I’ll send you the file.)