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India to Pass New Bill in Battle against Hunger

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TEHRAN, April 13 (ICANA) – India has the largest number of hungry people in the world and every year, around 2.5 million people in India die of hunger.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:19:51 AM
India to Pass New Bill in Battle against Hunger

More than 400 million women, men and children go to bed hungry every night while the economy grows at a steady 8 to 9 percent every year.

Almost, 56% women of maternal age are malnourished. As a result, they give birth to malnourished children, perpetuating the cycle. In India, 57% of children below the age of 3, are severely or moderately stunted and under-weight.

In order to tackle the hunger crisis in the country and to use food supplies more efficiently, the government is enacting a National Food Security Bill or the Right to Food. The draft of the food security bill is likely to be finalized sometime next week.

India ranks 66th out of 88 developing countries on the Global Hunger Index despite great progress in various fields. Despite a network of half a million fair-price shops, food grains routinely rot in state granaries and there is pilferage and inadequate public distribution making life difficult for the people.

The draft bill is likely to propose cash transfer of subsidy to the Below Poverty Line families through smart card, instead of providing cheap food grain. The bill, which seeks to provide legal entitlement

for cheaper food grains to poor households has faced many problems because of differences between the centre and states over the poverty estimates.

The World Food Programme along with the State Government of Orrissa in eastern India has already introduced a pilot project where they have recorded the bio-metrics of around a million people alone.

Critics say that providing rice or wheat may be insufficient to tackle malnourishment because they do not include essential food items like pulses, oil, and sugar. However, what is worrying most observers is rising food prices.

The Bill in all probability will come into effect as the United Progressive Alliance government has a majority in the Parliament and the principal opposition party the Bhartiya Janata Party is also extending support to the government on the bill.

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