New Delhi: MK Faziy, national president of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) urged the government to abandon the move to produce hand-sanitisers using rice, while the people in various parts of the country are struggling for food due to the lockdown.

Permission to use the rice in stock with the Food Corporation of India to produce Ethanol, the major component of hand-sanitiser was given in a meeting of the National Bio Fuel Coordination Committee presided over by its Chairman, the Central Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister.

News of people waiting in kilometres-long queues for a single-time food, and their protests are coming out on daily basis. Still the government’s priority is to ensure handwashing of the affluent than to provide food for the starving poor. India is ranked 102 in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) out of the 117 countries. According to a United Nation’s report, India is the worst malnutrition affected country in the world. 20.8% children under the age of 5 are underweight, 37.9% are stunted, and 51.4% Women in the age group of 15 – 49 are anaemic, says the report.

As per the World Bank statistics, one third of the children suffering from hardships in the world is in India. 18 crore people are below poverty line (BPL). WHO directs that an adult should consume at least 125 gram of grains daily. However, the studies of Lancet show that the inadequacy of food in India is so severe that even this requirement cannot be met.

It has been just a few weeks ago that a report of International Labour Organization (ILO) was released, which predicts that 40 crore labourers will be poverty-ridden in India. Even when the country is facing such severe crises, such steps of abusing food grains show that the government is not giving any importance to find solutions to it or to alleviate the hunger of the citizens. Strong popular protest ought to rise against such moves, said Faizy.