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Food Insecurity: No Prayer For The Malnourished

Behind the record sales of Parle-G during the pandemic is India’s murky reality—lack of safety net and food security

Picture of despair A poor child consuming Parle-G and milk during the 2020 lockdown Photograph: Getty Images

It was the summer of 2020. With the pan­demic raging across an India under a hard lockdown, journalist Daya Sagar was rep­or­ting from Uttar Pradesh, when he dis­cove­red the “Parle-G girl”. Not the cherub on the pac­kaging of the biscuit brand—which had itself generated a fair bit of controversy and fake news a few years ago—but the year-and-a-half-old Preeti—who hit the headlines for having survived only on Parle-G dipped in water for five days.

Preeti was not alone. Sagar recalls that in those days, it was quite common to find migrant famil­ies feeding their children Parle-G to keep them alive. “It was not their first choice. But there simply was nothing else to eat,” he says.

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