In a sovereign democratic republic like ours which has been registering relatively better GDP growth for some time now and has the largest pool of youth force in the world that claims to have adequate food to feed its population, is it not shameful to find that still millions of poor Indians cannot afford even a single meal and more than two and half million fellow Indians die of hunger every year?
The situation is even more shocking when one comes to know through Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) report of January 2013 on global food wastage that says, 'India stands out for its glaring lack of infrastructure and food storage facilities due to which 21 million tons of wheat - equivalent to the entire production of Australia - goes waste in the country'.
Here, it is quite pertinent to see what United Nations as well as the Indian Constitution promise:
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.N. 1948) Article 25 states, "Everyone has the right to a standard living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food."
Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1949 states, "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law."
Article 47 of the Constitution of India, 1949 states, "The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties."
Now, let us find some startling ground level facts and data on the subject:
- Every day more than 7000 people die of hunger in India.
- India is topping the list of countries in World Hunger Chart.
- More than 30% of the world's hungry population lives in India.
- Over 200 million people sleep hungry every night.
- About 850 million people survive on less than Rs. 20 a day.
We have plenty of laws and hundreds of law enforcing agencies with millions of officials drawing thousands of crores in salary in the name of protecting and safeguarding the basic interest of Aam Aadmi (common man) of the country. Now the question is, how long the country should wait to see things happening as per the constitutional provisions and election promises? And how long the ruling political class wait for FDI and foreign loans/grants to take care of even the most basic ground level problems without first ensuring 100% internal resource management?
Paradoxically, however, the ruling political class in the centre and the states alike celebrate and advertise their India Shining, India Rising, Incredible India and other such make-believe stories and slogans through big ads, sponsored programs etc. in a very big way by spending hundreds of millions of public money.
To say the least, in such a situation, can any right thinking person justify the pattern of governance the country has been witnessing for the last 65 long years after the independence?
It's time for all of us to voice our views collectively and effectively as per the constitutional provisions in order to convince and pressurize the political class across the board for taking urgent concerted effort to end the malady of starvation deaths on highest priority without indulging in political blame game.