Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Minister Jitu Patwari serves food to children. The minister fed poor children at a five-star hotel on the occasion of Diwali, the Hindu festival of colors, on Oct. 28. (Photo: IANS)
At the age of 12, Ranjoaba Lal studies in second grade. He is stunted, weak and struggles to carry his school bag.His mother, Rampyari Devi, did not send him to school for a long time because of his poor health, but last year she put him in a government school where he can eat its midday meal.She and her husband, landless laborers from Haryana state, migrated to New Delhi in search of work, but they ended up in a slum with four children to feed. Most often, she said, their children eat whatever they can get. Their three-year-old daughter died of diarrhea three months ago.Sukhna Khanjam, a tribal woman from the eastern state of Jharkhand, also lives on the streets of Delhi and finds it hard to feed her children. "I feed my two children just dry bread. Lentils are very expensive, while milk and fruits are just out of the question."