The major drought-prone regions of India are Southern and Eastern Maharashtra, Northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Gujarat, and Western Rajasthan.
Impact Drought affects all communities but in different ways. Among landless, marginal and small families, male members start to migrate early.
Females and the aged are often left behind to take care of themselves. In Jharkhand in 2004, some of the starvation deaths reported have been of women and the aged.
Landless, marginal and small farmers reduce their consumption of cereals, pulses and other items. The consumption of irregular foods like khuddi (broken rice), wild roots, gethi, chakora sag, and other forest produce increases (in some areas people eat these even in normal times). People add more water to dilute foodgrains.
Case Study (highlighted in a newspaper in October 2004)
Hunger Returns to Haunt Nawada
The three starvation deaths in this north Bihar district indicate what is in store for the region, which received just 10 per cent of the normal annual rainfall. Though floods damaged the districts north of the Ganga, I 15 districts in the South have already been drought-hit. Thirty kilometers from the town, an elderly Couple, Dasu Bhuiya and Pachiya Devi of Chapel village in Rajauli block died within a month of failing to find work.
Ramavatar Bhuiya (26) also died of starvation, villagers said. "Here we '" begin to starve the day we stop working due to lack of work, old age or ill health," said one. Jaiva Devi, the deceased couple's daughter-in-law, said they did not come under any social security scheme. "They did not have the red card (meant for people living below the poverty line) and they were I unable to earn," she says. The ` 30 that her husband Vijay earns daily is hardly sufficient for her four children. "We don't have enough to eat, and supporting the elderly becomes difficult.”
The youth chop wood in the surrounding forests and earn ` 30-40. The elderly, who can only, do farm work, find jobs difficult to come by as the saplings have wilted in most parts. Nawada District Magistrate Wasimudd in Ahmad Anjum admitted that the couple should have been covered under the red card.
"Whether they starved to death or not is only a suspicion, but they should have been issued a BPL card. The local bodies are responsible for this but often they are not fair," the DM said. "The number of BPL cards is limited for each district and panchayat. There could be a gap between allotment and requirements," he said.
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