Starvation and Hunger

“When India achieved independence, more than 50 years ago, the people of the country were much afflicted by endemic hunger. They still are. Since India is often considered to be one of the great success stories in tackling the food problem, the belief in success has to be scrutinised in the light of the grim reality that we can observe.”
 Amartya Sen, speaking on Hunger in India at a public hearing on the Right to Food, New Delhi, 10 January 2003
Millions in India cannot afford a single meal a day. Who is to blame for this sorry state of affairs in our nation, the government, the officials or the system?
Corruption exacerbates poverty in most of rural India. The money that the central/state government earmarks for poverty eradication is cleverly pocketed by politicians, corrupt government officials and some village leaders.
A classic example of this would be the NREGA, the flagship programme of the UPA government. The scheme promises 100 days of work and is a lifeline for many rural families. Even though this programme is a success in many parts of the nation, the promised wages are not delivered to the families in other parts. It may shock you that India has more than a third of the world’s hungry people. More than half of the Indian children are undernourished. Against the popular perception among slogans like ‘India rising’ and ‘Incredible India’, India’s condition is not much better than that of the dark continent, Africa or specifically Sub Saharan Africa with countries like Mozambique, Sierra Leone etc. To add to these all, the FCI (Food Corporation of India) is one of the most corrupt divisions of the central government.
There are three main public programmes to ensure the food security in India; the Public Food Distribution System (PDS), the Integrated Child Development System (ICDS), and 100 day-employment guarantee system under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). For the school children’s food security in particular, the government provides meals to all students at schools under the Mid-day Meal Scheme.
As mentioned earlier, these programmes did not turn out as expected with allegations that the food grains sold in PDS are of sub standard quality. Meanwhile, leaders like Mayawati continue building statues as people in UP are dying from hunger due to drought. Any comment on that will launch the tirade of accusations that she is targeted just because she is Dalit. The national media is also, by and large ignorant of the fact and cover articles only on food festivals and restaurants, ignoring the state of hunger.
We can’t blame anyone squarely for this condition of the nation. Poverty, hunger, corruption, societal ills etc are all ills and form a part of one viscous huge cycle.
The child care centres, popularly known as Anganwadis are mostly open only 6-7 days a month when they are the primary facility to provide immunization and supplementary food for the children under age of six and pregnant women at village level, thus expected to work 30 days a month.
Public discourse and action at the grass root level are the need of the hour. All these supported duly at both the state and central level will lead to the destruction of that viscous cycle. It’s all about making the poor and hungry step on the economic ladder, momentarily forget about climbing it.
There is no immediate instant and viable solution to this problem but a sustained inclusive growth happens to be the answer.

Dowry statistics touch shocking high in state

Recent statistics given out by the Bihar State Commission for Women have revealed a shocking upsurge in the number of dowry cases in the state.
The data also indicate that various initiatives taken by the government and different agencies have come a cropper. Last year, the number of dowry cases reported was 1,265, whereas the count has touched almost 1,000 till now this year.
A dowry case, relating to one Priyanka Soni (now 21), was reported to the Bihar State Women Commission from Chhapra recently. The girl was married to a man in Chhapra. The husband, employed in a private firm, relocated to Delhi. Thereafter, he landed a job in a public sector bank. He sent Priyanka back to Chhapra, promising to fetch her after sometime. Soon, Priyanka got to know that he remarried in Delhi. The girl had no other option than to knock on the doors of the Bihar State Commission for Women. Talking of atrocities related to dowry, a member of the Bihar State Commission for Women, Vandana Narayan, said in Priyanka’s case, the father of her husband’s second wife had given a lump sum amount apart from different goods. Vandana said: “Over the last five years, there has been at least a 15 per cent rise in the number of dowry related cases. For example, in order to coerce the bride’s father into giving a good amount of dowry, she is tortured after marriage. At times, she is told that she is not beautiful and good enough. So to compensate those, she must bring a motorcycle or a car from her parents. In some other cases, when the boy gets married due to pressure by parents, he starts demanding a hefty amount of dowry from her family members.”
“Nowadays, the most common trend is that the husband and his family members do not get easily satisfied with the dowry they have already got from the bride’s family. So, as if to avenge that, the boy marries another girl and throws his first wife out of the house. Dowry cases cannot be determined by caste and creed,” elucidated Vandana. Citing another example, Vandana said in Bihar Sharif, one Khurshida Khatun was thrown out of her in-laws’ place by her husband Meraj Alam after barely 20 days of marriage. Everything was fine till Meraj’s brother started torturing Khurshida. Her in-laws told her that she would be killed if she dared come back empty-handed to their residence.
In another case reported to the Bihar State Commission for Women, one Anupam Kumari was forced to leave her Delhi residence by her husband, who hailed from East Champaran district.
Anupam’s father-in-law stayed in Dubaha village, Thana Darba in Motihari district. Barely, four to five days after the marriage, the mother-in-law complained that no vehicle was given as part of the dowry. Thereafter, the husband took her to Delhi. Anupam soon found out that her husband was involved in an extra-marital affair. Even after this , Anupam continued staying there, but she was ordered to fetch Rs 7 lakhs from her parents.
According to Anupam, Rs 6,50,000 and jewellery had already been given to her in-laws , but they were not content with that. After being thrown out, Anupam took shelter at a centre of the commission for women.
When this correspondent approached Anita Sinha, the national president of the Rashtriya Mahila Brigade, she said: “We are training dowry victims, who could not raise their voices against crimes meted out to them earlier, on ways to deal with situations. We train up unmarried girls too, we also go to the houses of victims to explain their in-laws the vice of demanding dowry and discourage them from torturing the brides.”

Indian dowry deaths on the rise


The number of Indian brides burned to death for not bringing adequate dowry payments is on the rise

In 2010, 8391 dowry death cases were reported across India, meaning a bride was burned every 90 minutes, according to statistics recently released by the National Crime Records Bureau.
A decade earlier this number was 6995, but climbed to 8093 dowry deaths in 2007.
Dowry, although banned by law in 1961 but never seriously enforced, is an ancient tradition prevalent amongst most Indian families.
With prosperity burgeoning after the early 1990s when India’s state-controlled economy opened up to a free market system, this pernicious custom became more acute with greedy grooms backed by their families seeking to get rich through their hapless brides.
But if a bride refused to satisfy incessant demands by her husband and in-laws for money and goods, despite having brought with her the mandatory dowry at the time of marriage, she was subjected to inhuman treatment.

Human Trafficking Exposed – Shocking Relevation


In a bizarre incident, parents of a 15-year-old girl allegedly forced her into prostitution to overcome the financial crisis of the family.
 They sold her to a pimp and would receive a fixed amount monthly in return. Somehow, the girl managed to escape from the clutches of a pimp based in Sambhal. After, the girl fled, panicked parents started rigorous search for her when the pimp stopped sending money to them.
When their all efforts went in vain, they approached the Delhi Police and lodged a missing complaint. Following the investigation by the police, the shocking revelation came to light about the misdeed of the parents. Consequently, five persons, including parents of the girl were arrested and the victim was rescued. The girl had taken refuge at her one of the relatives in Bhalaswa dairy in Delhi. Following the tip off, the girl was rescued.  
Police said that the accused father Lal Singh and the girl’s mother Chandrawati and three pimps Ravinder Singh, Shanno and Sachin Rastogi had been arrested in this connection. “Initially it appeared to be a case of kidnapping of a minor girl but during investigation, police came to know that father of victim is a vegetables supplier. Singh was under huge debts due to loses in business hence he forced his daughter into prostitution to get rdi of his debts,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) BS Jaiswal.
He added he planned to make quick money and cleared his debts. “He went to his native Village and brought the girl to Delhi on the pretext of getting her into good school. But, the parents sold her to Ravinder. When, she resisted, she was badly beaten up by her father and mother. The earning of prostitution of girl was shared by the pimps and parents of victim,” the official added.
Then, the girl was sold in Moradabad to one Shanno. Later, Shanno further handed over the girl to another pimp ~ Sachin in Sambhal. The further investigation of the case is in progress. The victim will be produced before Child Welfare Committee.