Ranchi/Kolkata: If you think or believe what government agencies in Jharkhand are saying – that the death of Santoshi Kumari due to hunger or starvation is one rare incident and similar case wouldn’t happen in the future, then, its time to do some fact checking.
According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2015-16), nine out of ten children aged between 6-23, do not get adequate food in Jharkhand.
The survey, which is gets conducted under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says only 7.2 per cent children get adequate diet in Jharkhand. While in Tamil Nadu 31 percent children, belonging to the same age group, get adequate diet.
The survey further reveals that 47.8 per cent (which amounts to almost half of the children born) in Jharkhand are malnourished, while the national average remains 44.
Santoshi, a resident of Simdega district’s situation became worse, when her mother did not get food from PDS (public distribution system) shop as her Aadhar card was not linked. However, in general, most of the children lead a vulnerable life, in this mineral rich state.
For the fiscal year 2017-18, Jharkhand government has allocated Rs 3105.97 crores in health budget, which amounts to only four percent of the total budget.
“When it comes to attracting investors, Jharkhand government spends more than 200 crores only on one summit – Jharkhand Global Investors Summit. Of which, about 100 crores is just spent for for Public Relations (PR) works,” Ranchi-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, Sunil Mahto told eNewsroom.
Interestingly, it took both the Jharkhand and Union government to spring into action after almost 20 days of Santoshi’s demise. The government was initially denying the fact that the 11-year-old had died due to starvation. It, on the contrary, was claiming that she had died due to malaria. Thus, it would be interesting to see the government’s course of action.
Santhoshi’s death come immediately after the report, which shown India slipping down lower in the World Hunger Index Before signing off, we should remember that India has now slipped to 100 out of 119 countries in World Hunger Index ranking.