India is currently facing an insanely huge number of discoveries about affordable and fulfilling meals for all in the country, including the people below the poverty line. And by the people under the poverty line, I mean for 2011-12, for rural areas the national poverty line using the Tendulkar methodology is estimated at Rs. 816 per capita per month and Rs. 1,000 per capita per month in urban areas, which again translates to Rs. 27.2 per day for rural areas and Rs. 33.33 per day for urban areas, which again translates to Rs. 9.06 per meal for rural areas and Rs. 11.11 per meal in urban areas.
In this country which is rich in traditions, cultures and languages and much more, we are also rich in poverty and poverty and wait for it…… poverty. And so, more and more people are beginning to depend on ration shops for their day to day meals.
While the government is conducting brainstorming sessions on these ever increasing phenomenon, many Union ministers have come up with many wonderful and great ideas, which started with Mr. Raj Babbar stating that a complete and fulfilling meal could be had for Rs. 12 in Mumbai. The only good thing that has come out of that statement is that many journalists and foreign media personnel flooded into Mumbai to try and figure out which was this wonder food that this Union Minister was blabbering about. And yes, you guessed it right, it was the humble Vada Pav that won this unwarranted attention. But the problem is that there was no one else in the competition, and it doesn’t fulfill the condition of being fulfilling. So, technically, there was no competition and there was no winner and there was no fulfilling meal for Rs. 12.
And this is when, Congress leader, Rasheed Masood, said that an even better meal could be had for Rs. 5 in Delhi near Jama Masjid. When asked whether he ever had a meal for Rs 5, he said he can have a meal for even less than Rs 5. Wonder if he ever had one and what it was.
And on top of all this, yet another Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said that a meal could have been had for Re. 1. I wonder if he was talking about his meals at home. But Mr. Prakash Karat took up Mr. Farooq on this idea and asked him to implement this scheme in Jammu and Kashmir which is under autonomy. But he seems to have slipped out of this one like a slippery eel.
Now the point I am talking about is, all these gentlemen are happily sitting in Delhi where they can get meals at highly subsidized rates from the Parliament Canteen and blabbering and blabbering AND blabbering about these meals for less. They get high quality food at low rates, from a canteen reserved specially for them but the common poverty stricken people have to try hard to get their daily wages and then plan it all out to spread out that money and get food for all of their family members. They don’t have subsidized costs for money, they don’t have AC canteens and they don’t have media waiting for their take on this absurdly low cost meals which are non existent. The leaders don’t realize that there is nothing more worse than giving a promise and going back on it. There is nothing more sad than knowing that your trusted representative just cheated you with a false promise.
All the poor people have are dingy homes, the make shift food-on-wheels on the roads, the barely manageable budgets and an even bleaker future of poverty. So, the next time the leaders are thinking of talking about meals for even less than a rupee, they better conduct a press conference, giving out the details of the restaurant where they discovered this ‘Wonder Meal’ and thus try and lighten the burden on the majority of our country’s population. And also, if they can, they better create canteens giving out food at subsidized rates for the poor people too, not for votes, but in the name of humanity. If they have any humanity left after this, that is.