Ramnagar, Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Sunday said poor families struggling to feed themselves amid the Covid pandemic should have had 20 children if they wanted more rations from a central government scheme that distributes food grains and pulses.
“Every household was given five kg rations. If 10 (people in a home) got 50 kg, then 20 got a quintal (100 kg). But some were jealous that two people got 10 kg and 20 got a quintal. Why? When there was time you only gave birth to two… why not 20?” Rawat was quoted by news agency ANI.
Since the pandemic struck India – leading to a strict lockdown last year that brought the economy to a halt and left crores without jobs or food – the centre has been distributing rations under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, which offers five kg of food grains and one kg of pulses per person per household.
Rawat, who was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 10, dismissed talk that families with fewer children were getting less (in terms of food rations) and seemed to suggest that poor people – for whom providing food for their children was a heartbreakingly difficult job even pre-Covid – should have had more kids so they could get more rations today.
#WATCH हर घर में पर यूनिट 5 किलो राशन दिया गया।10 थे तो 50 किलो, 20 थे तो क्विंटल राशन दिया। फिर भी जलन होने लगी कि 2 वालों को 10 किलो और 20 वालों को क्विंटल मिला। इसमें जलन कैसी? जब समय था तो आपने 2 ही पैदा किए 20 क्यों नहीं पैदा किए: उत्तराखंड CM मुख्यमंत्री तीरथ सिंह रावत pic.twitter.com/cjh2hH5VKh
— ANI_HindiNews (@AHindinews) March 21, 2021
The Chief Minister made no mention of the increase in population such a course of action would have, or the impact on the environment and stress on infrastructure.
The Chief Minister’s insensitive comment – at a public event in Ramnagar during which he also blamed the United States for “200 years of rule in India” – comes after a misogynistic remark in Dehradun, in which he said women should not be allowed to wear ‘ripped’ jeans.
In a video of Sunday’s speech, he can be heard saying: “America, which enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the whole world, is struggling” to control the coronavirus pandemic.
#WATCH “…As opposed to other countries, India is doing better in terms of handling #COVID19 crisis. America, who enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the world, is struggling in current times,” says Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat pic.twitter.com/gHa9n33W2O
— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2021
Earlier this week Rawat faced flak for controversial comments on women wearing ‘ripped’ jeans; he declared that they could not provide the “right environment” at home for their children.
He said he had been shocked to see a woman running an NGO in ‘ripped jeans’.
“If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow. A child who is taught the right culture at home…” he said.
The Chief Minister later issued an apology, but followed that up by repeating his statement. He had only talked about the environment at his home, Rawat said.
With input from ANI