Kejriwal’s 10 Guarantee failed to Acknowledge the issue of Hunger & Malnutrition

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Background On August 29, 2019, 50,200 people wrote to the Delhi Chief Minister for constitution of State Food Commission which would look into the effective implementation of Food Distribution Schemes through Ration Shops, ICDS and Mid-Day Meal in order to prevent deaths due to starvation and malnutrition in the national capital territory of Delhi. State of Malnutrition & Food Security in Delhi During 1st round of National Family Health Survey (1992-93), almost 36 percent children below five years were underweight; while 47 percent and 16 percent were chronic and acute malnourished, in the national capital territory of Delhi. Almost 23 years later when the 4th round of NFHS was conducted in 2015, the percentage of children who were underweight, stunted and wasted in the national capital was 27 percent, 32.3 percent and 17.1 percent. The percentage of underweight children reduced by 9 percentage points, chronic malnutrition reduced by 14.7 percentage points and acute malnourished increased by 1 percent respectively. Quite surprising, the percentage of underweight children, in the recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS), was found to be 28.1 percent. Presently, there are 2057 Fair Price Shops providing food grains to 68.75 lakh beneficiaries through 17.14 lakh food security cards as on 3rd Jan 2019. Further, in Delhi, there are 73,884 families consisting of 2,76,787 members amongst the poorest section of the population who are unable to get two square meals a day on a sustained basis throughout the year and their purchasing power is so low that they are not in a position to buy food grains round the year even at BPL rates. Do these families and their children receive the food entitlements with respect to 25 kg wheat, 10 kg rice and 1 kg sugar per card in Delhi? Poll Promises The Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party in its Manifesto 2020 introduced the concept of door-step delivery ration which they term as revolutionary initiative to ensure dignity, transparency and accountability in supply of food ration and ensure food security for all. The AAPs’ manifesto did not talk much on how this scheme which was not implemented previously will be inclusive to all eligible families who are not covered under the food security net. Further, the Bhartiya Janta Party in its Sankalp Patra 2020 agreed to give Wheat Flour to poor families at Rs. 2 per kilogram through public distribution system and has not discussed their vision to address the issue of hunger and malnutrition among children. Whereas, the Indian National Congress Manifesto 2020 earmarked its vision to improve the nutritional status of children by improving the quality and delivery of Mid-Day Meal and social audit of the scheme on periodic basis. The INC manifesto further looked upon to improve the nutritional status of children availing mid-day meal by introducing banana and soya or boiled eggs as part of Mid-Day Meal Scheme.  To revamp the public-distribution system, ration card camps will set up once in 6 months, to ensure that no eligible person has to strive for food. Further, the Manifesto emphasized on providing 3 kg Dal at Rs. 25 per kilogram and 1 liter edible oil at Rs. 20 to each BPL family every month. To advance food and nutrition security, the INC in its manifesto promised to double the allocation of rice and wheat under the National Food Security Act. Source: BJP Sankalp Patra, 2020 Indian National Congress Delhi Election Manifesto, 2020 Aam Aadmi Party Delhi Vidhan Sabha 2020 Manifesto Image Source: The Hindu

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