On the 60th anniversary of India’s independence, the country’s leaders have promised to fight poverty. At the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial in Delhi, President Pratibha Patil paid tribute to soldiers who died in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. She also spoke to those gathered of the future, asking for a fair distribution of India’s growing wealth. Her comments were echoed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He pledged to invest more than four billion euros into agriculture, a sector that employs over half the population.
Speaking from behind a bullet-proof screen, Singh called the problem of malnutrition a matter of national shame. “I appeal to the nation to eradicate malnutrition within five years,” he said.
India has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies but the benefits are yet to reach hundreds of millions of Indians living below the poverty line. Only when this problem is solved, said Singh, can the country be truly independent.