India's contribution to food security marks a milestone

New York/New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Akshaya Patra Foundation for its consistent initiatives in the direction of the global aspiration of Zero Hunger (Sustainable Development Goal-2).

In the event titled 'Achievements in Food Security: India's Strides Towards Sustainable Development Goals' at the United Nations Headquarters, the Foundation's landmark achievement of serving four billion meals under the auspices of PM POSHAN Abhiyaan was acknowledged and celebrated.

The Prime Minister extended a facilitatory message on the occasion which was read by India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj.

Lauding the institution's efforts, PM Modi expressed: "As we celebrate this milestone, we must reflect on the intrinsic value that food holds in our vibrant culture. From the sacred Annaprashan ceremony marking a child’s first ‘rice meal’ to the concept of a ‘Thali’ emphasising the importance of a balanced diet, our societal ethos creates an interplay among nutrition, diet and diversity. The significance of this milestone is further highlighted by serving the meal at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, showcasing a passion for global well-being."

This ceremonial recognition of the Akshaya Patra Foundation attests India's commitment to food security.

In attendance at the event were Noble Laureate and UN SDG advocate Kailash Satyarthi, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus of Infosys and Madhu Pandit Dasa, Founder-Chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Together, they stressed on the power of collaborative efforts to eradicate hunger and enhance education through nutritional support.

Satyarthi stated: "Akshaya Patra has been successfully able to keep millions of children from dropping out of schools who would otherwise be pushed into labour due to their socio-economic status."

Narayana Murthy appreciated their efforts and said: "Akshaya Patra’s grand and noble battle to ensure that no child is denied education because of hunger is a crucial piece in this complex jigsaw puzzle.”

Madhu Pandit Dasa explained that in the past 24 years, Akshaya Patra has demonstrated a model for large-scale feeding in partnership with the government to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

Reiterating the commitment to serve "hot, nutritious, safe and tasty meals" to children every school day, he thanked the stakeholders including the Government of India, the Ministry of Education, state governments, corporate partners, individual donors and the community at large for their support.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation was established in 2000. Going a step ahead with the ISKCON temple’s tradition of feeding the hungry (whosoever comes to the temple), it all began with feeding 1,500 children of five schools in Bengaluru.

This initiative grew to become the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme, serving wholesome food to over two million children from 24,082 schools in 72 locations across 16 states and 2 Union Territories in India.

--IANS

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