Who’s feeding India’s children? Companies, people give 30 times more money to Akshaya Patra than govt

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Updated: December 24, 2019 5:51:19 PM

With India’s performance on Global Hunger Index 2019 being dismal, it becomes even more pertinent that corporations and government release more funds to fuel India’s nutrition program for children.

School childrenTalking about India’s performance in Global Hunger Index, Chanchalapathi Dasa said that they urge the government to infuse more money in child nutrition. (Representative Image)

With India’s performance on Global Hunger Index 2019 being dismal, it becomes even more pertinent that corporations and government release more funds to fuel India’s nutrition program for children, Akshaya Patra, a non-profit organisation that runs school lunch program, told Financial Express Online. However, companies and philanthropic individuals have made tremendous donations to the organisations; in fact, 30 times more than what state and central government combined provided to Akshay Patra, according to the financial statements released by the organisation. For the year ending March 2019, Akshaya Patra received Rs 10 crore from the capex grant by the government. On the other hand, donations from corporates and individuals amounted to about Rs 310 crore which is more than 30 times of what the government spent.

“We have been requesting the government to invest more… We must all continue to put pressure on the leaders of our country,” Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice-chairman, Akshaya Patra, told Financial Express Online in an interview. However, the onus should not solely be on the government but the civic society must also contribute to the betterment of the society, he added. 

Talking about India’s performance in Global Hunger Index, Chanchalapathi Dasa said that they urge the government to infuse more money in child nutrition. “Currently, the government spends about Rs 7-8 per meal, while the actual amount needed is double of it at Rs 14,” he said, adding that it is upto the organisation to secure money for the additional costs. “All of us know the vegetable cost, the dal cost, cooking oil cost etc. Rs 8 per meal is just not enough,” Chanchalapathi Dasa said. 

Akshaya Patra has opened its first kitchen in Delhi on Tuesday, taking its total kitchen tally to 51 pan-India. The organization is currently working with 12 state governments and is in talks with Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to start their kitchens in these states as well. About 30 more kitchens in India are also on the pipeline for Akshaya Patra. Lauding efforts of certain states in the social development program, Chanchalapathi Dasa said that Haryana, Punjab and Kerala and some others are already doing very well to improve the lives of children.

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