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Ration Cards in Hand, But Hunger Lingers: Why?

In a nation where ration cards are intended to secure essential food grains for those in need, the persistence of hunger among the impoverished remains a poignant paradox. Despite the provision of these cards promising a lifeline to sustenance, the reality persists that many impoverished individuals still battle hunger on a daily basis.

According to the SOFI-2023 report, 233.9 million (24 crore) Indians are undernourished.

The GHI report reveals a 35.5% child stunting rate, the 15th highest globally.

51.4% of Indian women of reproductive age (15-49 years) suffer from anemia. 

Established with noble intentions, the ration card system aims to safeguard the basic right to food, providing subsidized grains like rice and wheat. However, the contradiction arises as many impoverished families still battle hunger despite these cards.

Some illness and some self-centered individuals entered the system. After 2014, a new approach to addressing this issue was adopted, and new technology was used to eliminate millions of fictitious beneficiaries, link ration cards to Aadhaar cards, and promote digital technology in government fair shops. Stated Narendra Modi.

 The central question emerges: Should possessing identification, like an Aadhaar card, be a requirement for obtaining basic food?

A fundamental human right, the right to food is protected in India by Article 21 of the Constitution, which also protects the right to life and liberty. According to interpretation, the right to life as stated in Article 21 entails the right to a dignified existence rather than merely existing as an animal, and this necessitates guaranteeing access to food rather than merely its availability.

In addition to hunger, the assertions made by the authorities that the deaths were the result of “illness” are another factor linking all of these deaths. In Santoshi’s case, Koili Devi, the mother, was threatened that if she persisted in believing that her daughter had starved to death, her body would be dug up and cut open for a post mortem. Koili Devi, according to Scroll, demonstrated extraordinary fortitude when she reasoned, “Now that my daughter is dead, how does it matter what anyone does with her body?”

Why is this happening in a country which supposedly produces more food than it needs?

One of the primary reasons behind this disheartening reality is the inefficiency and corruption within the distribution system. Instances of mismanagement, irregularities in allocation, and even cases of pilferage have been reported, leading to the exclusion of deserving individuals from accessing their entitled provisions. Noteworthy is the disparity between the theoretical promise of ration cards and practical implementation, leaving families struggling despite possessing these welfare cards.

 Furthermore, the disparity between the theoretical promise of the ration card system and its practical implementation is glaringly evident. Even though these cards assure the availability of essential food items, the quantity and quality of the provisions received often fall short of meeting the basic nutritional requirements of a family. Consequently, families struggle to make ends meet, unable to combat the pangs of hunger despite possessing these cards meant for their welfare.

Addressing this issue requires a collaborative effort between the government and society. While the government issues ration cards, administrative hurdles hinder reaching the impoverished. A joint effort is needed to ensure genuine need receives help, while preventing misuse of provisions.

 I feel that while the government is doing its part, it’s failing to reach the impoverished due to various administrative hurdles. I suggest that the solution lies in a joint effort where both the government and society must ensure that those genuinely in need receive help, and if someone is misusing these provisions, they should be stopped. Collaboration between us and authorities could make a difference, ensuring that no hungry person sleeps empty-stomached.

I believe that the benefits of the ration card are only reaching the middle class and upper class, not the Creamy or Below Poverty Line (BPL) individuals.

Raising awareness, simplifying procedures, and extending support networks to marginalized communities are crucial steps toward bridging the gap between promise and reality. Empowering  marginalized sections  to access  food provisions is not just a matter of policy but a fundamental human right .

In conclusion, the persistence of hunger despite  the ration cards signifies societal failure. It demands immediate and concerted efforts from authorities, policymakers, and society at large to rectify the shortcomings in the distribution system, ensuring that the vulnerable populations receive the sustenance they are entitled to, thus turning the promise of ration cards into a tangible reality for all in need.

Edited by: Matsoarelo Makuke

Photosource : Pinterest


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