Monday, September 24, 2012

not poor?

Kalibai, pregnant for the third time, weighs 35 kg at term. A resident of Manpur village of Udaipur district in Rajasthan, she is among the many women in this region whose husbands migrate to Gujarat to work. These women headed households survive on remittances sent back by the men. Living on a diet mainly of cereal (rotis of wheat or maize), with little pulses and oil, and almost no vegetables, it is no wonder that Kalibai is severely malnourished. A lone buffalo provides a liter of milk daily, which suffices for tea and for the children to drink in her joint family of five (eight when the men are back home). She gets to drink one small cup of milk daily as she is pregnant. Yet with her husband sending back nearly Rs. 3000 per month, the Planning Commission would probably consider her family one of the privileged rich of our country, as they get to survive on more than Rs. 26 per capita per day.