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Aiming at one meal a day for every Indian

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, FEB. 12. With the objective to fight the two "most serious challenges" facing our country today -- poverty and hunger -- the Centre for Environment and Food Security recently launched a freedom from hunger campaign here in the Capital.

As part of the campaign, the Centre will hold lectures, workshops, seminars, conferences and public hearings all over India. Apart from research and advocacy for a hunger-free India, the Centre will also bring out a series of "Citizens' Reports", especially from "hunger hot-spots" of the country. This campaign will conclude on 15th August 2007 to coincide with the platinum jubilee celebrations of our Independence.

To mark the launch of this campaign, Magsaysay awardee and social activist, Aruna Roy delivered the first "Freedom from Hunger" lecture in the Capital this past Thursday. Organised in collaboration with India International Centre, the lecture was the first in a series of bi-monthly lectures that have been planned.

According to director of the Centre, Parshuram Ray, all over the world, more than 24,000 people die of hunger everyday, nearly 78 per cent of them are women and children. He also added that more than 1.4 billion people in the world face chronic hunger and over 13 million die of hunger every year.

Explaining the main aims and objectives of Freedom from Hunger Campaign, Mr. Ray said, "The Freedom from Hunger Campaign is a humble initiative to create awareness and understanding and to kick off a national debate on the political economy of hunger. Debate not for the sake of debate but to facilitate enabling legislation and public action to banish the scourge of hunger from our motherland. This campaign is a tiny effort to bring back the issue of hunger and poverty in mainstream intellectual discourse, at the centre of public policy and on the conscience radar of the nation. Such hunger is essentially a political condition, the key to banish hunger is to change the politics of hunger. And to change the politics of hunger, we need to bring the issue of hunger in mainstream electoral politics. Freedom from Hunger Campaign is a very modest attempt to politicise hunger in India."

He added that the aim of the campaign was to ensure that every Indian should get at least one meal in a day.

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