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Oppn walkout in RS over tribal children’s deaths

Saturday 10 July 2004

NEW DELHI: The death of thousands of tribal children due to malnutrition in Maharashtra, reported in The Times of India, found an echo in the Rajya Sabha on Friday when the opposition walked out dissatisfied with the government’s reply.

The issue was raised through a call attention. But Sanjay Nirupam of Shiv Sena took exception to HRD minister Arjun Singh’s reply during which he suggested having "a full-fledged discussion on the issue" in the House. BJP and other NDA members then walked out, accusing the government of being "insensitive" to the basic needs of tribals.

Earlier, opposition as well as CPM members raised objection to the statement by Kanti Singh, minister of state for HRD. Even Congress’ new RS member, M S Gill, found her reply "heartless" and full of "bureaucratese".

Singh had told the House that not all deaths of children was due to malnutrition. The problem of malnutrition, she said, was "multi-dimensional and inter-generational in nature". Citing figures, she lauded the Maharashtra government for having done better than other states in controlling the infant mortality rate.

Sanjay Rajaram Raut of Shiv Sena, who had moved the motion along with others, took exception to Kanti Singh taking recourse to facts and figures. "What is the Centre doing? What is this thing about percentage of death? Does the government need a high death percentage to start working?" he asked.

Sarla Maheshwari of CPM blamed globalisation for missing out on basic issues. She objected to Kanti Singh’s statement that malnutrition was "inter-generational". "How can malnutrition be genetic? Give them good food and there would be no problem," she said.

See online : The Times of India


in The Times of India, Saturday, July 10, 2004.

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