Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 23 October |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Severinus Boethius
Aleteia logo
home iconNews
line break icon

India’s people are starving, even as their economy swells


TIM GRAHAM / Robert Harding Heritage / robertharding

J-P Mauro - published on 08/03/18 - updated on 08/03/18

Reports say India's people are starving while grain is rotting in poor storage facilities.

Reports of starvation deaths are on the rise in India, leading many church leaders and activists to criticize the government’s failure to implement welfare measures and enforce a law that ensures the right to food. The nation’s hunger plight was emphasized after reports of the deaths of 3 young children in New Delhi, who succumbed to starvation.

UCA News reports that Bishop Paul Alois Lakra of Gumla in Jharkhand state spoke out about 12 cases of starvation deaths in his eastern state. One man, 40-year-old Rajendra Birhor, was survived by his wife, Shanti, who reported her husband suffered from jaundice, but they could not afford medicine. They could not receive government subsidized grain because they did not have proper documents.

Bishop Lakra said, “It shows a system failure. We have a unique act which guarantees the right to food for all, and yet sadly governments fail in ensuring basic food for people.”

The government has yet to determine an official figure of starvation deaths. Bishop Lakra explained it is difficult to determine starvation as the cause of death without an autopsy, since starving people often contract one of many diseases while so malnourished.

Critics are questioning how the hunger problem could have gotten so bad in India, a nation which just last year rose to 6th place in the list of the worlds largest economies. In a 2017 report, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation estimated that 190.7 million Indian citizens were undernourished. That’s 14.5 percent of their 1.2 billion population.

As far as food security goes, India is ranked 74th out of 113 countries and it is estimated that 43 percent of Indian children are chronically undernourished.

This is not a new problem for India. In 2013, the Indian parlament enacted the National Food Security Act, with the goal of providing subsidized food grains to about two-thirds of the country’s population.

UCA News says a Jesuit, Father Irudaya Jyothi, is leading a movement to ensure enforcement of the food security law. Father Jyothi believes the continuing starvation deaths show a distinct failure of the government in their efforts to feed the needy.

People are dying of hunger even though tonnes of grains go rotten because of poor storage facilities, sloppy distribution and a lack of effective systems to identify the needy, media reports show. Father Jyothi said it was “inhuman” to make food security conditional on people’s ability to produce documents proving their identity or residence. It also violates the right to life guaranteed by the constitution, he said.
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
Gelsomino Del Guercio
She’s a mom, grandmother, former postmaster — and a cloistered nu...
Philip Kosloski
How kindness begins in your heart
John Burger
Once considered for top post in Anglican Church, former bishop be...
saint teresa of Avila
Zelda Caldwell
Now there’s a computer font based on St. Teresa of Avila’s handwr...
Sarah Robsdottir
When St. Therese dressed up as Joan of Arc (and the sad story of ...
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.