A cry that went largely unregistered by headlines caught up with recording the communal frenzy gripping the country. Yet, not so long ago, public disgust at India's crisis of hunger amidst plenty was at its peak. And thousands of children who symbolically clutched empty plates in their hands in rallies across nine states in the country past week reminded us that hunger still stalks them.
"The case for mid-day meals in schools is particularly strong at this time, when 60 million tonnes of wheat and rice are lying idle in public warehouses across India," says renowned development economist, Jean Dreze. "These food mountains have become a resilient national embarrassment. Grain could be withdrawn from these warehouses; it would be effectively costless, since the production and procurement expenses have already been incurred. In fact, using idle food stocks for mid-day meals would save money, by reducing storage costs," he adds.