As India celebrates its 65th independence day on Wednesday, millions of Indian children continue to suffer severe malnutrition. Our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has called this a ‘national shame’. Yes Mr Singh, it is indeed a national shame and I wonder what have you been doing about it.
One in four of the world’s malnourished children is in India, thats even more than in the figures in sub-Saharan Africa. Forty six per cent of the country's children are malnourished. Our kids are so weakened by hunger that they become vulnerable to deadly disease. Tens of thousands die every year.
India's child development rankings is far behind poorer nations such as Bangladesh or Republic of Congo
An innocent person would ask – Indian farms are producing more than we can consume, then why this hunger?
On paper, the Indian government has purportedly spent billions of rupees on poverty and food-relief programmes. The Public Distribution System entitles every family living below the official poverty line to 35kg of grain or rice a month. But all that is on papers. Public Distribution System stores in most remote villages are usually closed.
India’s ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance, introduced a food security bill last year, which means right to food for all. But who knows when will they pass the bill. There is no political will to do so. And even if it passes, what is the guarantee that it will address the issues.
India needs a better food distribution system.