A recent survey of household consumer expenditure in India by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) for the period July 2004-June 2005 found that West Bengal, Orissa, and Assam have the most households without enough food. Surveying 124,000 households spread over 7,999 villages, and 4,602 urban blocks, the survey found that the communist claim to protect the poor is a lie.
About 10.5 per cent of the communist ruled West Bengal was hungry followed by Orissa with 4.8 per cent. Assam reported "the highest percentage of households (3.6%)" that did not get enough food every day in all months of the year. In communist Kerala, sampled population reported the "maximum percentage of dissatisfied households in urban areas" did not have enough food.
A recent UNICEF analysis of this statistics say that although Indian gross domestic product is growing at 10 per cent, Indians figured even worse in the report than Ethiopia and on a par with Eritrea and Burkina Faso in the area of malnutrition. The Health Ministry's own data, 46 per cent of children below the age of three suffer from malnutrition compared to 35% in sub-Saharan Africa and 8% in China. It's even more startling when you consider India predicts growth of 9.2% this year. According to the Asian Development Bank 42 per cent of the Chinese and 78 per cent of Indians live under USD 2 a day which is more than the population of China.
It is not clear if the higher rating for Ethiopia or China is because of better reporting in India and more transparency or the sheer population numbers being larger. Yet the poverty part of India 's economic equation is as daunting as it is embarrassing. This is precisely why the latest Indian budget focuses on allocating more money for the agriculture sector. However, as always, the problem in India is not planning or allocation-it is corruption and poor implementation.