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Monday, January 16, 2012

Hungry India

If you thought only Ramgopal Verma’s movies are scary, then let me change your perception right away. If the information makes you spill your morning tea then don’t blame me. Whom to blame, I would elaborate later.

According to the latest Global Hunger Index (GHI) at least 230 million of Indians go hungry daily. Hang-on, I am not done yet. 21% of our population are undernourished; nearly 44% of under-5 aged children are underweight with 7% of them die before they reach five years. If you feel that is it, then the answer is NO. There is more to follow. 72% of our infants are anemic with 52% of our young mothers are in the same anemic brigade. Roughly, in the world hunger index we are only better positioned against nations like Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Burundi or Somalia while worse than Sudan, North Korea, Nepal or even Pakistan. Even though the infant mortality rate has decreased since 1990, there is actually a steady rise of hungry people in the same period. Honestly, whichever way we may slice and dice it to cover the bitter truth, the shameful realty is inescapable – India is home to the largest number of hungry humans, handsomely contributing a quarter of the estimated 820 million in the whole world.
 
If that is not enough a jolt, the bleaker scenario is the steady rise of malnourished pregnant women. Depriving the developing fatuous of its required amount of protein, in a way we are literally ensuring the birth of malnourished children to start with. So as a double whammy, we not only continue to allow people to go hungry and malnourished, which is not just a misery for them; it is also the future generations of India that is precariously hanging in balance. 
   
Now that we have firmly established ourselves as one of the world’s most hunger-ridden countries; how we should celebrate the achievement? Perhaps shout in utter derision – “Superpower? My A@#”. 
 
Whom to blame? There are many to be honest. First culprit in the list could certainly be our pathetic Public Distribution System (PDS). That said, the system itself is run by people and before blaming the framework we must pound hard on the thugs who are assigned with the task of smooth and fair implementation. And who is at the helm of PDS? No mark for guessing as it is the crook himself – Sarad Pawar.
 
Many might be remembering the disturbing footage doing the rounds on various news channels where food stocked in many FCI godowns were shown rotting with rodents making a merry or worse canines finding the nonchalantly spread of wheat and rice as a warmer place to lazy around. And what was the bloody excuse? There are some serious problem in supply-chain mechanism and lack of storage space. No wonder the disquieting footage made our Apex court to come heavy on our
 
Agriculture and Food and Civil Supply ministry and ordered them to pull up their socks. I guess Sarad Pawar took the idiom in literal sense as was seen at the inauguration ceremony of IPL the next day putting on that complete mismatch of a red pair of socks, really pulled up. If those nasty pair of red socks were not enough befuddling for those searching for the half clad cheer girls; his reactions on Apex court order, certainly were. And what he has to say - ‘What our Apex court wishes is not possible and more off it is just an advice, not an order’. Really? Now you know Pawar Bhau, what it was when the Apex court again came heavier on you for childishly mistaking their order as a simple observation. By the way, I am convinced the slap of the Shrud on Sarad Pawar’s cheeks is more than just befitting.
 
For certain, people like Sarad Pawar don’t want the rotting wheat and rice to reach the plates of those million hungry, as it would disturb their greed. A fully functioning PDS would ensure that people like Pawar and his stooges lose heavy on the money they are garnering through their nefarious black marketing in the Marathwad part of Maharashtra. A freely available of goods in government authorized ration shops would virtually kill the avenue of highway robbery where cronies of him suck the living daylights of the poor of the region. Apex court can very well go for a walk, if that may require but we are not letting our loot options shut on our own face. After all we are leeches of some unique breed. Disgusting is just the appropriate understatement.
 
For a change let’s not blame the government here. With all honesty some steps are been taken by the central government to elevate the situation. The government already runs two of the world’s biggest nutrition programs: The mid-day meal scheme for students up to class 12th and the Anganwadi program under which infants and children up to 6 years of age are given hot cooked meals. But are they sufficient? Are they far reaching? Both of them appear NO to me looking at the latest GHI index. The reason these two schemes not bearing fruits of that sweetness that we were expecting is because of the sheer loot that is going around the chain. There are instances where the food item designated for these schemes are shown palpably being sold on local Kirana shops. There are clowns in the chain who are shameless enough to loot the food designated for the hungry and syphon them to various grocery stores for personal gain. Even school teachers of the mid-day meal scheme are hand-in-glove with this loot. Now someone please standup and say, they don’t side with what Anna Hazare is demanding.
 
By the way, Uttar Pradesh happens to be the state where the maximum numbers of hungry people are found, as far as India is concerned. To add to it, the number has increased by a staggering 18% since Mayawati started building her own statues. The lady certainly deserves another 6 crore currency garland for this accomplishment. Or should we request another Shrud to do the honors?

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6 comments :

  1. I am here not to negate the observation but do consider the fact that food that Indians eat is nutrient defecit. You will find majority of Indians anaemic that has a lot to do with the vegetarian diet. Lot of Indians have protein and vitamin defeciency reason is the vegetarian diet not that they cant afford food. Another reason is most of indians are not concious about what a nutritious diet is. Result is they eat without satisfyling the mineral and vitamin needs of body.

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  2. @Sam What you are saying might be medically right but with all honesty, just the lack of non-vegetarian food habit can't make third of the population of any nation go nutrition less. For God's sake it is more than fifth of our own people who go to bed empty stomach.

    Lack of food to eat is the culprit, not we preferring veggies over some Tangdi Kebab.

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  3. Sam although I would beg to differ with you on the nutrition aspects of veg food, I would not go into those facts. But financially it is very expensive to consume non veg food in India. The reason is we have not still industrialized our meat productions the scale of any western country or even some of our neighbours. Also Indians are a set of people who eat their food for taste rather than for the nutrition on it, even the so called non veg food eat has more fat in it rather than the Meat's nutrition.

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  4. @ Sam
    A goat eats a ton of plant material in its lifetime.

    A goat can be eaten by nly 40 people for a day

    A ton of plant material is sufficient to feed 40 people for 40 days even after subtracting all the plant waste.

    See the maths there?

    Nonveg food is fine for ppl who live where no plants can grow, eg Siberia, Greenland etc. Otherwise it is just a food fad for the taste buds.

    @Cynical

    Both MMS and Sarad refused to distribute the foodgrains to the poor. But now we have the Food security bill which claims to do just that at a stupendous cost. Look at the hypocrisy here. They want to take the credit for every damn thing.

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  5. sometimesbullsometimesbear Since the food inflation is lowest in last two years, the proposed cost of food security bill would reduce considerably. As anyway, the money spend on it is of the Tax payer's, not from the pockets of our cunning politicians.

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  6. As I Say this there is some more disturbing stats - Approximately 13 Lakhs of our kids die before celebrating their 1st birthday....

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