Poverty and Politics.
India clocking enviable 8-9 percent growth over the last five years that has put money in the pockets of millions of its people and fuelled demand for everything from cars and computers to clothes and fancy homes.
It has also catapulted the country onto the: world stage, boosting its claim for a bigger role on forums such as the U.N. Security Council. This month, it moved closer to buying new fighter jets worth a whopping $15 billion.
Yet while the urban middle classes dine in swanky shopping malls where eateries offer everything from sushi to burritos, millions of children are dying due to a lack of food.
Last month’s report by the Indian charity Naandi Foundation, the first comprehensive data since a 2005/6 study, said India’s nutrition crisis is an attributable cause for up to half of all child deaths.
Yet India’s public spending on health, estimated at 1.2 percent of its GDP in 2009, is among the lowest in the world.
Not just in India, but in countries around the world, we know that you can’t just rely on trickle down. There have to be policies in place, there have to be political choices that prioritise malnutrition.
In Shivpuri, an impoverished tribal-dominated district in Madhya Pradesh state, that reality is on full display. The region’s malnutrition level for children under five matches the national average, but child mortality rates are worse at 103 deaths per 1,000. The national average is 66 deaths per 1,000, according to U.N. children’s agency, Unicef.
Most of the children here are from India’s most marginalised and poorest communities, such as tribals and lower castes where literacy is poor and poverty high. (Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/a-richer-india-sees-national-shame/913344/0)
So what we are going to do about it. Almost nothing. As usual!