By Pervez Bari
NEW DELHI: M.K. Faizy, national president of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), has urged the Central government to abandon the move to produce hand-sanitizers using rice, while the people in various parts of the country are struggling for food due to the lockdown.
Permission to use rice in stock with the Food Corporation of India to produce ethanol, the major component of hand-sanitizer, was given in a meeting of the National Bio Fuel Coordination Committee presided over by its Chairman, the Central Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister.
Faizy said that news of people waiting in kilometres-long queues for a single-time food and their protests are coming out on daily basis. Still the government’s priority is to ensure hand washing of the affluent than to provide food for the starving poor. India is ranked 102 in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) out of the 117 countries.
According to a United Nation’s report, India is the worst malnutrition affected country in the world. About 20.8 per cent children under the age of 5 are underweight; 37.9 per cent are stunted and 51.4 per cent women in the age group of 15 – 49 are anaemic, says the report.
He pointed out that as per the World Bank statistics, one third of the children suffering from hardships in the world are in India. In all 18 crore people are below poverty line (BPL). WHO directs that an adult should consume at least 125 gram of grains daily. However, the studies of Lancet show that the inadequacy of food in India is so severe that even this requirement cannot be met.
It has been just a few weeks ago that a report of International Labour Organization, (ILO), was released, which predicts that 40 crore labourers will be poverty-ridden in India. Even when the country is facing severe crises, such steps of abusing food grains show that the government is not giving any importance to find solutions to it or to alleviate the hunger of the citizens. Strong popular protest ought to rise against such moves, said Faizy.
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