News

Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

An Indian school boy eats a midday meal provided free at a government school in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. India has offered free midday school meals since the 1960s in an effort to persuade poor parents to send their children to school, a program that reaches some 120 million children. The country now plans to subsidize wheat, rice and cereals for some 800 million people under a $20 billion scheme to cut malnutrition and ease poverty. Photo: Associated Press/Mahesh Kumar A.

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The famous “ice bucket” challenge is inspiring thousands of Indians to follow suit, but with a twist – they are replacing ice with rice in a bid to help the country’s vast population of poor, hungry people.

The challenge, going viral on social media, involves donating a bucket of rice to someone in need and clicking a picture to share online, with a tag #RiceBucketChallenge, to raise awareness.

Started by 38-year-old journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi in the southern city of Hyderabad, the movement’s Facebook page defines it as a “local challenge for local needs” and has clocked more than 52,000 ‘likes’ so far.

The inspiration was drawn from the “ice bucket” challenge, in which people pour a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads to encourage donations for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease. Celebrities such as software tycoon Bill Gates and tennis great Roger Federer have participated.

“I felt (the ice bucket challenge) was a little bizarre … hunger is a disease anybody would connect with,” Kalanidhi told Reuters.

Kalanidhi’s project has started to draw mass support. Students of the Indian Institute of Management in the southern state of Kerala posted a video after donating rice, while budget airline AirAsia India said its chief executive and senior management will participate on Monday.

Mass hunger, much of it poverty-induced, continues to haunt India. The country last year ranked 63rd on a list of 78 countries tracked by the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index. China ranked sixth.

Tackling poverty is high on new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda. On Thursday, he launched a banking-for-all scheme that he said should end “financial untouchability” and help lift people out of poverty.

India is the world’s second-biggest rice consumer, with reserves of 21.2 million tonnes of the grain by July 1. It was the world’s biggest rice exporter last year.

(Editing by Douglas Busvine and Clarence Fernandez)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Local

Springfield City Council to Discuss Waste Hauling Fee Increase

Fresh
garbage

The Springfield City Council may or may not consider raising garbage fees next month.

7 hours ago in Local

Dems Slate Two Candidates for Fall Election

vote

Democrats have slated Robert Spencer of Pleasant Plains to run against Don Gray for Sangamon County Clerk, while Circuit Clerk Paul Palazzolo will face opposition from Donnie Killen of Springfield.

8 hours ago in Local

Redfield: Capitol Has Similar, But Different, Feeling

ILLINOIS POLITICS 7-24-15 Mike Lawrence and Kent Redfield

University of Illinois Springfield Political Science Kent Redfield says in some ways, it actually feels like lawmakers are getting toward the end of the legislative session.

8 hours ago in Local, Sports

Nunn Dismissed from U of I Basketball Team

university illinois

The University of Illinois has dismissed junior guard Kendrick Nunn from the basketball team following his guilty plea to misdemeanor domestic battery.

8 hours ago in Local

Informant Suggests Drew Peterson Wants to Sell Drugs

FILE - In this May 8, 2009 file photo, former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., for his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his third wife Kathleen Savio. On Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, Will County Judge Edward Burmila sentenced Peterson to 38 years in prison for Savio's murder.  (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Secret recordings between Drew Peterson and an inmate he's accused of trying to enlist to help kill a prosecutor show that the former suburban Chicago police officer discussed selling drugs in Mexico if he gets out of prison.