Seminar on Hunger in India a Silent Emergency
The Akshaya Patra Foundation in association with Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA), India, organized a seminar and panel discussion on “Hunger in India, a Silent Emergency”. Many eminent personalities were part of the discussion. Dr. M.S Swaminathan, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) delivered the keynote address of the event. He was joined by a panel of experts- Devinder Sharma, Journalist and expert on food security; Abhijit Mukherjee, MP; Mahendra Ved, Chair, CJA, India; Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice President, The Akshaya Patra Foundation; and Dr Biraj Patnaik, Advisor to the Supreme Court of India on monitoring food security.
Dr. Swaminathan started the seminar by quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a “hunger-free India”. He was of the view that this dream can be achieved by developing an effective National Food Security Bill, 2011 that will make food accessibility a legal right. He also added that if honesty is the foundation of food security, it has the potential to reach out to the actual beneficiaries.
Speaking at the discussion, Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice President, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, stated the vision of the Foundation- “no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”. He illustrated how as individuals and communities we can together tackle the critical issue of hunger. Dasa also stated, “Our belief is that if people are educated and they can find sustainable livelihoods they can come out of the cycle of poverty and be freed from malnutrition and hunger.”
Akshaya Patra is currently feeding 1,368,283 Government school children in 19 locations across 9 states. The Foundation is of the opinion that the criticality of hunger cannot be dealt only by providing food to the needy. Rather, it can be dealt by encouraging interventions at school level, so that these children with the help of education can come out of this vicious cycle in a more respectful and sustainable manner.