The death of the three sisters in the national capital due to starvation on July 24 has raised alarm bells for a country that eyes an annual GDP of 7 percent and boasts to be the 6th largest economy of the world.
Recently, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said in its report, that country’s serious hunger level is driven by high child malnutrition and underlines the need for stronger commitment to the social sector, and ranked
India 100th out of 119 countries on Global Hunger Index, as compared to 97th position last year.
Last year, an 11-year-old girl in Jharkhand’s Simdega district had died of hunger owing to cancellation of her family’s ration card as it was not linked to their Aadhaar number.
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There has been a host of schemes across the country to ensure distribution of food to deprived and needy but there have been issues of leakage where food subsidies or other government benefits don’t reach the beneficiaries. The current government’s step to link Aadhar with ration cards may have drawn flak from few quarters but the step aims to crack down on leakage.
However, there have been outstanding models of free or cheap meal namely the Amma Canteen of Tamil Nadu, the rice distribution scheme of Chhattisgarh or the newly launched Indira Canteen of Karnataka.
The central government must take grave cognizance of the recent deaths due to starvation and dismal Global Hunger Index, and come up with something like Amma Canteen to serve the cheap meal to deprived people across the country.
Any ‘supermarket’ development model will lose relevance if people across the country die in the scarcity of bread.