In the year after India gained independence, 2.1 million acres of good, cultivable land was used to grow peanuts all of which were chemically and heat-converted into hydrogenated oil marketed with duplicity as vanaspati (vegetable) ghee.
At the time according to Kumarappa two acres of such land could easily support a family of five year-round.
The government's support of the vanaspati ghee industry brought unimagined wealth to the owners of the industry and ancillary industries. On average vanaspati ghee was priced at one and a half times as much as cold-pressed locally made oils.
At the same time that families were paying 50% more for a markedly inferior product detrimental to their health, 5.25 million souls were being denied their right to their most fundamental livelihood: their right to grow and eat food instead of starving.
Sources for calculations: Gram Udyog Patrika, July/August 1947 and April 1949.
Posted by Abhay Burjor Ghiara at 5/14/2015