: Ahead of Lok Sabha election 2019 PM Modi in a function in Varanasi did not miss enumerating the acheivements of his government. Invoking the cow as 'our mother', he said 'Gau mata gives us milk. No one can repay the debt of gau mata' and that 'Cow is the centre of our tradition and culture'. Also mentioning the success of Kumbh he said 'Kumbh gave out a social message. This time it gave a message in cleanliness'. He spoke about 6 crore LPG conenctions, farmers being provided Rs 6,000 directly in their bank accounts, Mission Indradhanush and Swacch Bharat Mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday served meal to a group of underprivileged schoolchildren in Vrindavan and praised the efforts of Akshay Patra, an NGO towards eradicating hunger from the country.
He unveiled a ceremonial plaque to mark the serving of the "3rd billionth meal" by Akshaya Patra Foundation at Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. PM Modi, along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor RamNaik, also served food to about 20 schoolchildren from underprivileged background in the campus as part of the programme. BJP's Mathura MP Hema Malini also joined the prime minister at the event.
PM Modi arrived at the venue in a special chopper. A massive stage was erected at the venue.
"Donation given to deserving people without thinking is 'satvik daan' (pure charity), Akshaya Patra is doing 'satvik daan'," he said.
"First thali through this NGO was served by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I feel fortunate to serve the third billionth thali today," Modi said.
From serving just 1,500 children in the beginning to over 17 lakh now, the NGO is helping in the growth of the country.
He said, “It is a pleasure to get the opportunity to serve food to children. Akshay Patra has been working for 18 years to provide food to children. The movement was begun by 1,500 students and the first thali was served during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime.”
Stating that if every mother and child are able to gain access to nutritious food, it could save numerous lives. "With that in mind, our government launched the Rashtriya Poshan Mission from Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu last year.
He also said, “Gau mata gives us milk. No one can repay the debt of gau mata. Cow is the centre of our tradition and culture.”
Emphasising on the Centre's mission to provide nutritious meals to children, Modi said, "I am serving the 300th crore thali. The midday meal scheme was operational before independence. But now we aim to give quality food to children. For a strong nation, we need well-nourished children." He stated that the Centre had stressed on health of mother and child in the last 55 months. PM Modi said that one of BJP government's top priority is ensuring good quality nutritious food is given to children.
After his nearly 30-minute address, he served food to the schoolchildren from Vrindavan in a special pavilion made for the purpose, behind the main pavilion.
Modi also tweeted a video clip of it and said, "Had the honour of serving food to children in Vrindavan today".
The menu was roti, paneer vegetable, choley, pulao, pakoda, sprouts salad and gajar ka halwa, a spokespeson of the NGO said. He even spoon-fed a few children and blessed them. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also joined him in serving food.
Earlier, a few selected school students were given a box of Akshaya Patra-shaped dry fruits items on the stage by Modi.
Rupesh, a Class 6 student, was thrilled to meet him. "Modiji asked me, if I was eating well and
playing regularly or not? Also, if teachers were feeding us properly in schools or not."
Ahead of arriving in Vrindavan to serve meal to underprivileged schoolchildren, Modi Monday had praised the efforts of Akshaya Patra foundation towards eradicating hunger from the country. "Congratulations to all those associated with this mission. Their efforts towards eradicating hunger are exemplary," he tweeted.
Funded by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Akshsya Patra is a not-for-profit organisation that works with the government on mid-day meal schemes. The Bengaluru-based NGO has a state-of-the-art kitchen in Vrindavan.
Modi said the work done by the foundation is one of the best examples of "the journey showing the 'me-to-we' transition".
The centralised kitchen located in the Mandir's campus caters to government schools in Mathura-Vrindavan as part of the mid-day meal scheme.
A silver 'patra' (container), as symbolised in our logo, was gifted to the prime minister, the spokesperson said.
Akshaya Patra is currently serving 14,702 schools across 12 states. The Foundation works closely with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and state governments to serve quality, hygienic, and nutritious food to millions of children in the country.
The Mid-Day Meal Programme is considered to be the largest of its kind food-for-children programme in the world. The scheme aims to encourage and increase enrolment, attendance, and retention of children in schools. It also intends to improve the health profile of children in the age group of 6-14 years. It strives to eliminate classroom hunger in government-run and aided schools by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme.