India: Hungry for global power, or just plain hungry?

Since 2001, Goldman Sachs (GS) has been touting the wonders of the rapidly advancing BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- as the global economic powerhouses of the coming decades. Citigroup (C) recently jumped on the bandwagon with a report that noted the growing economic influence of China and India and highlighted stocks poised to take advantage of their newfound prosperity.

The growing excitement over BRIC obscures a key problem in India. Although the country is enjoying more prosperity than ever, it continues to have severe problems with feeding its population. In India, 46 percent of children up to age three are malnourished, according to a report from the Institute of Development Studies, and an average of 2,000 to 3,000 children die of starvation every day. Overall, 25 percent of India's citizens don't get enough to eat on a daily basis; this is a higher percentage than sub-Saharan Africa.