Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting priorities right

UNICEF data shows 48% of India's children under five suffer from malnutrition, that is some 60.8 million children. Both in percentage terms and in absolute terms it compares poorly with neighboring countries like China ( 15%),Bangladesh ( 43%) , Pakistan (42%)and African countries like Nigeria (41%), Tanzania ( 44%) and Congo ( 46%). Only Ethiopia seems to be worse off at 51%. And this when the GDP has more than doubled since 1991. What development are we talking about ?

Lets look at another piece of information. Between 1997 and 2007, the Parliamentary Committee found that 1.83 lakh tonnes of wheat, 6.33 lakh tonnes of rice, 2.20 lakh tonnes of paddy and 111 lakh tonnes of maize rotted due to either lack of storage facilities or poor maintenance of stocks in the existing facilities. And against a buffer norm of 31.9 Million tonnes, FCI was having a stock of 57.8 Million tonnes. With such a poor track record why maintain excess stock ? So the point is not about availability . The point is about willingness to feed people. What kind of Government are we having ??

And the third piece of information is this. An amount of Rs 28054 Crores has been spent to host the Common Wealth Games in Delhi. And we know the quality of the infrastructure created with this money.

The basic question is this : Is this the infrastructure that India needs now ? Cant the tax payers money be better spent in creating adequate storage facilities for grains or in distributing food at affordable price to the needy rather than let it rot...What national pride are we talking of when we have our children suffering for want of proper and adequate food ? When will we get our priorities right ?????

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