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Why hunger, poverty do not infuriate us?

  By Vijay Darda | 11-12-2017

Petty issues are blown out of proportion but no sensitivity is shown on serious matters!

We are passing through a strange phase where there is no such thing as sensitivity. There are tall talks. Figures of millions and billions are being bandied about. Tall claims are being made about the swifter and greater development of the country. It is being bragged that India would become a world guru. Many claims may be true but how can you deny the ground reality? A person with even little intelligence too will say that first of all this country needs to fight hunger and poverty.

How embarrassing it is that a girl child in Jharkhand does not get enough food for several days and dies. Even more shameful is the fact that in a matter of barely few months the system has forgotten that incident! The question is not of the death of a child but of death by hunger. Even after 70 years of independence if we die for want of food, then this is a serious matter. This incident should have triggered a storm of debate across the country. Thousands of people should have taken to the streets and questioned the government over the death of that girl, but nothing like that happened and are unlikely to happen because our sensitivities have died!

We do not even want to know how many poor people are still there in our country? The government continues to tamper with the poverty data conveniently. One committee says that a person who earns Rs 33 a day is poor, while another committee conveniently refutes it and says, no no… a person who earns less than Rs 47 a day is poor! What an irony! Can a person get two square meals a day for Rs 47 or get treatment if he falls ill? The government may keep juggling with the data, but the reality is that nearly 30 crore people live below the poverty line in India. There are millions of people who just get one square meal a day. Have you ever met such people? Felt their agony?

Should hunger and poverty not be debated in this country? Is the issue of any film or a place of worship more important than this? With hunger and poverty, the image and reputation of the country suffers and our first priority should be freedom from hunger and poverty! Second most important issue is health of the people. Is government even aware of this? It is easier to say that branches of AIIMS are spreading across the country now, but the point of the matter is what is the state of affairs at our government health centres and government hospitals? Even hospitals in New Delhi are in dire straits. Health facilities in cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur are poor, leave aside the primary health centres.

There are less than 20,000 government hospitals across the country for a population of 125 crore. If the total number of beds in these hospital are added, the figure does not even reach 8 lakh. Apart from this, there are 1.60 lakh health sub-centres, 25,000 primary health centres and 5,500 community health centres. Judged against the requirement, this number is too less but the government does not care nor does any common man raise his voice on this issue. The result is before us. The legion of private hospitals has mushroomed where treatment is beyond the reach of the poor people. I have always been saying that a law should be framed so that officers and officials occupying government posts should be treated only in government hospitals. Public representatives and their family members should also be treated in government hospital and their wards should study in government schools.

Just try it once and I am sure the condition of government hospitals will improve. My question is, when AIIMS can be known for its quality, why not other government hospitals can be so? Do you know that according to the Global Nutrition Report, the weight and height of 4 crore children in this country is not in accordance with their age! In this case, India is 120th among 130 countries of the world. We are looking to steer ourselves into the developed nations’ category. However, we should be ashamed of our position on these underdeveloped children! But who is concerned?

According to the report of the United Nations International Labour Organisation, there are 1.77 crore people in this country who do not have any means of employment. This year, this figure will go up to 1.78 crore people. It seems that the number of real young unemployed is more than that! These youngsters had pinned great hopes on Modiji. Are expectations being fulfilled? In fact, the discussion should be on all these issues. It should be on what can bring glory to the country and make us feel proud, but unfortunately, the nation was made to indulge in issues which have nothing to do with the lives of the people, only to avoid debate on main issues like hunger, health and drinking water supply. We are engaged in raking up the ghosts of history, while the underprivileged tribals in remote areas are dying a silent death. We are not paying any attention on how to make our future bright…! 

 Before I conclude…

The first phase of polling in Gujarat is over. The second phase will also be over this week. The victory and defeat will depend on voters’ decision. But the bitter personal attacks that the country has been witness to in this election does not suit our politics at all and is against our tradition. I hope the personal bitterness will end with the conclusion of elections. Big people should have a big heart.


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Why hunger, poverty do not infuriate us?


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