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No Starvation Deaths in Last 5 Years, Says Govt, Dismissing Media Reports

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool leader Kalyan Banerjee asked Minister of Consumer Affairs CR Chaudhary if it was true that despite 5.2 lakh Fair Price Shops (FPSs) starvation deaths were still prevalent. They also asked for a number on such deaths being reported in the last five years.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 19, 2017, 5:19 PM IST
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No Starvation Deaths in Last 5 Years, Says Govt, Dismissing Media Reports
Representative Image (Hakim/UNICEF via AP)
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New Delhi: As reports continue to emerge from across the country on several deaths related to starvation, the government in a reply to a question in Lok Sabha has stated that there has been “no reported incidents” in the last five years. The Centre also said that that media reports on such deaths were not “substantiated”.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool leader Kalyan Banerjee asked Minister of Consumer Affairs CR Chaudhary if it was true that despite 5.2 lakh Fair Price Shops (FPSs) starvation deaths were still prevalent. They also asked for a number on such deaths being reported in the last five years.

To this, Chaudhary said, “No State Government/Union Territory Administration has reported any incident of death due to starvation so far.”

Chaudhary also dismissed media reports and stated, “There have been media reports of starvation deaths in Jharkhand and UP, however, after enquiry, the state governments informed us that the allegations of deaths due to starvation have not been substantiated.”

This comes close to the heels of the death of a 65-year-old woman in Korta village of Danda block, which locals alleged was a case of starvation. The district administration, though, dismissed the allegation and promised action based on the post-mortem report.

Danda block development officer Sahjad Parwez said that the deceased was suffering from prolonged illness but couldn't verify whether she had a stock of food grains in her house.

Chaudhary also laid bare the government’s plan to tackle starvation deaths by providing food security to the vulnerable population.

“To eradicate the problem of starvation and to provide food security to the vulnerable population, the Government has been providing food grains at highly subsidized prices to the targeted population through State Governments/Union Territory Administrations under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in terms of National Food Security Act, 2013 and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS). National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 provides for coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population thus covering about two-third of the population for receiving food grains at highly subsidized prices of Rs.3, 2 & 1 per Kg for rice, wheat & coarse grains respectively under TPDS,” replied the Union Minister.

In September this year, an 11-year-old girl, Santoshi was reported to have died of starvation in Jharkhand’s Simdega district after her family was struck off the government welfare rolls for not linking their ration card with Aadhaar. However authorities have dismissed any such case and said that Santoshi had succumbed to an illness.

In October this year, a 75-year-old man died of hunger in Jharkhand’s Deoghar district after the biometric reader at the PDS shop couldn’t read his daughter’s thumb impression. This was again a charge denied by the government.

According to the United Nations annual hunger report released in 2015, India was home to the highest number of hungry people in the world – 194 million. “India's numerous social programmes are expected to continue to fight hunger and poverty,” the report had stated.​
| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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