That one out of every six persons in the world goes hungry everyday is stale news now. FAO said it quite some time ago and the newspapers reported it on the front pages. The UN-led World Food Summit going on now in Rome further draws our attention to the problem, though many rich nations have already branded the Summit a failure and refused to attend the Summit. “It seems that the plight of over 1 billion starving people is not important enough to force the rest of the top brass to attend this 3 day conference,” says one report.
It is quite paradoxical that hunger exists on a massive scale in a world whose men explore the outer spaces and plan honeymoon trips to the moon.
Where are all the hungry people? Are they so far away from us that we don’t/can’t see them?
“Almost all of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries. In Asia and the Pacific, an estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger; in Sub-Saharan Africa 265 million; in Latin America and the Caribbean 53 million; in the Near East and North Africa 42 million; and in developed countries 15 million in total.” [http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?article1399]
The situation in India is not commendable. “Countries that have shown some great numbers in economic growth in the last few years like India have pushed an additional 30 million people into hunger because of its neo-liberal policies,” says a researcher of hungerfreeplanet.org.
The same report also says: “One-third of world’s children are malnourished and since 2005, an extra 170 million people have been pushed into hunger which is equivalent to the populations of Germany, France and Canada combined. It is outrageous that hunger kills a child every six seconds and an equivalent of a classroom of thirty children die every three minutes.”
The G8 Summit had pledged $20 billion over three years to the hungry of the world. That is not much as the amount works out to $2 per hungry person per year. What’s more scandalous is that the amount came down subsequently from $20 billion to a meagre $3 billion.
Jeremy Hobbs of Oxfam International says that “Vietnam invested heavily in its farming sector when it looked for economic growth and food security, and in 12 years turned itself from a country that had to import much of its food to be a major exporter. Last year poverty in Vietnam fell to below 15 per cent compared with 58 per cent in 1979.”
Governments cannot be mute spectators when their people are starving. Old style [pre-globalisation style] welfare activities are required today even more than earlier. Governments are ready to bail out corporate bigwigs when they go broke. Billions of dollars come pouring in from government revenues when a rich industrialist hits the rock. When the poor go starving why do governments turn a blind eye?
Problems such as the Maoist uprising are a creation of the governments with selective vision.