New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala Friday said in Parliament that India should not pay heed to hunger reports prepared by NGOs because in this country even street dogs are fed “sheera (sweet dish)” after they give birth.
Rupala was responding to Aam Aadmi party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh’s comment in the Rajya Sabha on India’s poor rank in the Global Hunger Index 2020.
Singh said the minister in his written reply to the matter pointed out that the country’s hunger situation has improved because in 2019 India’s ranking was 102, while in 2020, it has been ranked 94 out of 107 countries.
The AAP MP said despite being in the top 10 food-processing countries in the world, India still ranks poorly in the hunger index. He also pointed out that neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have fared much better.
Rupala, in response, said the government has already written to NGO Welthungerhilfe, which compiled the report, expressing concerns about their methodology and accuracy of data, and is yet to hear from them.
“Some NGO in the world has done the survey. We have already asked them on what basis have you reached this conclusion? They have not replied yet. But this is a separate matter,” the minister said.
Rupala then went on to narrate a personal incident and said, “Whenever a street dog gives birth in our village, our women provide them with sheera. Even though at times it bites too, we still give them sheera. So in a country where such tradition exists, and then an NGO comes and gives such a report (regarding hunger index) about our children, we should not be sensitive to such reports,” he said.
‘No food shortage at all’
Rupala further said that even “hatte-katte (healthy) children are counted in these surveys”.
“As far as these surveys are concerned, even healthy and strong children are also counted. There is a need to create awareness in society and our dynamic minister Smriti Irani ji has started a jan andolan (people’s movement) and under this, 13 crore events have already been done,” he said.
The minister further said there is no food shortage in the country as the government has around 529.59 lakh tonnes of buffer stock.
“We should have ideally kept 214 lakh tonnes, but we have double the stock. So there is no food shortage at all,” he added.
However, Rupala did agree that due to lack of infrastructure, some perishable food gets wasted.
He pointed out that to overcome this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a provision of Rs 1 lakh crore under agriculture infrastructure fund for the first time to manage harvest.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)
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