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BBC News Examines Malnutrition In India

BBC News reports on malnutrition in India, “an enduring problem Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a ‘national shame.'” “[D]espite supposedly spending billions of rupees on poverty and food-relief programs — and during a period of sustained economic growth — the government has made only a dent in the problem,” the news service writes. “It is estimated that one in four of the world’s malnourished children is in India, more even than in sub-Saharan Africa,” according to BBC, which adds, “India has been arguing over what to do about hunger and the poverty that underpins it for years — while its farms produce ever more food.”

“Under pressure, India’s ruling coalition introduced a Food Security bill last year, supposed to enshrine the right to food for all,” but “no one is betting on when it will be passed amid the country’s current political deadlock,” BBC continues. The news service adds that “some critics say there is still not enough political will to tackle the hunger problem,” while “[o]ther more free-market oriented voices argue that the whole approach of subsidizing food and providing guarantees is wrong, simply creating a dependency culture.” The news service writes, “The situation is much better than a decade ago, insists government minister Sachin Pilot, whose portfolio is officially telecoms but who has become closely involved in food policy,” but “he admits ‘it’s unacceptable having so many children with pot bellies and stick legs'” (Pradesh, 8/9).