After 62 years of independence, it gives me a feeling of exasperation and suffocation to write about “lack of food” as a pertinent issue , an issue which seems to have a perennial root in the wet roots of Indian development journey. Starvation is one of those issue which remain unnoticed on an awareness platform by most of us on a public norm. The revelation of the incidents and monstrous extent of malnutrition and scarcity of food, takes a lot of people to an amuse , amusing me on the apathy of an average Indian citizen.
When we are hogging in the restaurants and wasting food at the rate of 1/3rd what we consume in our designed and fashioned restaurants where we boast of our increasing spending powers and paced crawl towards a developed economy, many of us might not even know that we rank 94th in the global hunger index of 119 countries.
More than 27% of the world’s undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children (under 5 years) in the country are underweight. The figure is among the highest in the world and is much higher than the global average of 25% and also higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s figure of 28%.
When we are overweight on our spends on cricket and charisma of bollywood, it might be an unheard fact that around 40% on the babies born in India are underweight.
We still have population in our country which feeds on rats and grass because they can not afford the grains and in the development reports it is not accounted as a case or count of starvation because starvation in English dictionary means “empty stomach death” and in the postmortems , the bladders of all these demised population contains traces of grass and rat excerpts.
It is not because we cannot feed such a huge population, it is not because we cannot think of a system, rather it is because of lack of awareness in the minds of so called educated people and implementation on huge budget PDS (Public Distribution System) and other development programmes.
I know it is not a time to crib over why it is not done or why do we not know that millions of people die without food, it is important to understand the need of taking one step ahead and developing a thought process to live with our heads high and stomach filled.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of MICA, Ahemdabad.