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Millions of people have been denied access to food in India because they do not own a ration card, a food security document that Prime Minister Narendra Modi came up with.

A ration card is given to households that qualify for subsidized food grains from the public distribution system. Without a ration card, people do not have access to this food source.

Many Indian households were already struggling way before the Covid-19 lockdowns took place in 2020. They were out of work and barely managed to scrape by, waiting for the country to open back up. Now facing their third lockdown, many Indian families are on the brink of starvation

Many people qualify for the ration card but are either overlooked, or their state has maxed out their quota for people with ration cards. This has left a staggering amount of people on their own during a time of extreme food scarcity.

Dipa Sinha, assistant professor of economics at New Delhi’s Ambedkar University, said, “The government is aware of this huge gap on paper and on the ground. They don’t want to increase the subsidy on food grains because increasing the subsidy would directly increase India’s fiscal deficit. This despite surplus grains available in India.”

This is not the first time that the Indian government has come into question about how they manage their food system. They have often turned a blind eye to the most in need people living under them.

With the third wave of lockdowns coming to India, millions of low-income families are afraid of starvation with little hope of getting help from the government.

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