As per the IANS-CVoter Issues That Dominated Bharat 2021, almost 76 per cent Bharatiyas said in March 2020 they have ration/food for less than a week in their household. That’s how bad things were when Covid hit and a lockdown commenced.
As of today, only 17 per cent said the same in a CVoter tracker. During this period, 800 million poor Bharatiyas got free food grains.
In November 2021, the government extended the free 5 kg food grains scheme for all members of a poor household till March 2022.
In a November 2021 CVoter survey, 67 per cent Bharatiyas said their family’s financial condition had stayed the same or worsened during the pandemic and they remained worried about their financial future.
This must be a contender for being the largest welfare program in the history of the world. According to various estimates, the government has spent in excess of Rs 200,000 crore to try and ensure that no poor Bharatiya goes to sleep hungry.
Corruption and leakages have of course cheated many poor families of their due, but there has been no credible report from anywhere in Bharat of any starvation deaths.
In times of such an unprecedented crisis with a still inefficient official welfare delivery system, that is no mean achievement.
But there is darker side revealed by the number 800 million. It shows how tens of millions of Bharatiya families dance on the edges of hunger, poverty and destitution. The promised New Bharat is still far away.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to Hindu-Post style-guide.)