More than half of Bihar’s 10.5 crore population is malnourished, while 70 percent of women and children below the poverty line (BPL) are anaemic, a Supreme Court-appointed official said in a report Thursday.
“About 55 percent of the population is malnourished and 70 percent women and children below the poverty line are anaemic,” said a report by Rupesh, state adviser to the commissioner of the Supreme Court-appointed committee to monitor the implementation of food-related schemes.
According to state government estimates, Bihar has 1.45 crore BPL families. However, the central government puts the figure at 65 lakh.
The report said that drought and flood have further aggravated the situation, with farmers and landless workers being forced to migrate to cities to look for jobs.
Bihar has been hit by severe drought for two consecutive years. In 2009, 26 of the 37 districts were declared drought hit. Last year, the state government declared all districts as drought hit.
“Implementation of the welfare schemes, health scheme and work schemes have not been accelerated, resulting in deterioration in the condition of the poor.”
“Our survey of status of the implementation of schemes like integrated child development scheme, mid-day meal scheme, the public distribution system, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme….in 33 villages of seven districts shows that the government’s efforts to check malpractices are not sufficient,” the report added.
The report added that the agriculture sector has been neglected, though over 80 percent population is dependent on it for sustenance.
“Apart from major leakages and corruption, the coverage of government food schemes is so meagre that they leave huge gaping holes in the social security net, through which large numbers of most destitute people slip into starvation and hunger,” said Rupesh.