A recent report by the National Family Health Survey has revealed that 26 per cent of children and more than 30 per cent of children in the country are malnourished.
It is ironical that despite being self-sufficient in food production, India is on the list of countries where a section of the population does not get enough food. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice has taken a serious view of the problem and underlined that hunger and malnutrition are inter-linked and it is the responsibility of the government to provide food to those who do not have food. For this, the court has underlined the need to increase the chain of community kitchens in rural areas.
The court was told by the central government that there had been no starvation deaths in the country, but the bench refused to accept it citing various surveys.
In fact, this information was based on the information given by the state governments. It is also extremely worrying that in many cases the state governments do not state the correct facts to evade their accountability. This attitude needs to be improved. The central government should also confirm such information.
The court said that at the time of elections, political parties make big populist promises. The community kitchen scheme is also in force in many states. In such a situation, parties should combine their promises with plans to provide food, according to the recent Global Hunger Index, the problem of hunger in India is serious.
Due to lack of proper nutrition, children become victims of malnutrition. While the infant mortality rate continues to decline, the rise in the number of malnourished children is alarming.
The Central government’s National Family Health Survey report published some time ago said that 26 per cent of children and more than 30 per cent of children are malnourished. The state governments have agreed to open community eateries for the disadvantaged sections, but they demand that the central government increase the current allocation of foodgrains by two per cent and make financial provisions for the human resources required to run the kitchens.
The central government is ready to increase the allocation of foodgrains, but it has expressed its inability to provide financial support. The central government is running 131 social welfare schemes at its own level and has also transferred funds to beneficiaries under several programmes. In such a situation, the issue of financial cooperation can be resolved through discussions and alternative measures. According to the supreme court’s direction, the state governments should give all information related to hunger, hunger and malnutrition to the court.
At the same time, the Central and State Governments should make it a priority to better implementation of pradhan mantri poshan shakti nirman yojana, national nutrition mission and other programmes and ensure that the distribution of free rations being given to 80 crore poor people in the corona period is proper.
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