In the midst of all the heated give-and-take on the relevance of the proposed National Food Security bill, the tidings of ‘Amma Unavagams’ (or Amma’s Canteen) has failed to pick out handle of the nation’s attention. The canteen was inaugurated yesteryear Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on February nineteen every bit business office of a airplane pilot system to come across the needs of the lower strata of guild too migrant workers. Operated yesteryear women self-help groups, inwards slap-up too hygienic conditions, these canteens became an minute hit.
Charging Rs 1 for a slice of idli, Rs iii for curd rice, too Rs five for sambar rice, these canteen volition immediately serve dinner too. Says a written report inwards The Times of India (May 22, 2013): “Jayalalithaa’s promised level fare of chapathis too dal volition hold out available from 6pm to 9pm. Welcoming this, councilors on Midweek also demanded additions similar beverages too side dishes. The Chennai Corporation will purchase modern cooking equipment that tin create 3,000 chapathis inwards an hour. “A grouping of 6 women can brand solely 50 chapathis an hour. So, nosotros decided to opt for this machine,” said mayor Saidai S Duraisamy, during the council meeting. The firm estimates the demand to hold out around 2,000 chapathis per canteen, or 4 lakh chapathis a twenty-four hours at all the 200 canteens. Chapathis are to terms Rs iii each too volition hold out served amongst dal too korma on alternate days.”
Seeing the popularity of these eateries, the Tamil Nadu authorities is immediately extending the network of Amma’s Canteen to ix corporations across the province — Madurai, Tiruchrapalli, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruppur, Tuticorin, Vellore too Erode.
Despite what some economists powerfulness telephone weep upwards it every bit a wasteful expenditure looking at the amount of authorities subsidy that would hold out flowing inwards to larn out along Amma’s Canteens operational, inwards all fairness the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister deserves all praise. To my agreement this is truthful inclusiveness. Unless the benefits of the State’s economical increment accomplish the masses, it is no role to speak of inclusive growth. Tossing the gross domestic product figures, every bit the UPA-II written report carte du jour does, hides to a greater extent than than what it reveals. I would hold out to a greater extent than than happy if the gross domestic product increment slackens merely to a greater extent than importantly the publish of hungry too malnourished also come upwards downwards drastically.
A hungry population is a drag on whatever country’s economy.
A bulk of the millions who throng Amma’s Canteen are daily wage earners, migrant workers, rickshaw pullers, auto drivers, autobus too truck drivers/conductors, too includes diverse other sections of the lower economical strata of the society. Often many of them larn out hungry or rest undernourished inwards a shout for to relieve coin for the family. By providing them inexpensive too affordable food, too likewise nether safe, build clean too hygienic conditions, Ms Jayalilthaa has demonstrated that she cares. Whatever hold out the costs involved, at that spot is an urgent demand for the State to pace inwards to come across the daily nutrient requirements of the people. Often the economists neglect to travel out the economical gains accruing from a well-fed workforce.
When I get-go read about Amma’s Canteen, I was reminded of the UNI Canteen nigh the Constitution Club inwards New Delhi. This pop nutrient joint, providing tasteful S Indian nutrient merely nether completely unhygienic conditions, is thence pop that I accept seen political bigwigs too fifty-fifty some of the best known Corporate honchos walking inwards for a plate of idlis. I am sure Amma’s Canteen must hold out also attracting draw of piece of work organization executives too well-to-do people who wouldn’t heed rubbing shoulders amongst the aam aadmi.
And this also reminds me of a similar endeavor I had unsuccessfully made several years dorsum inwards New Delhi. Accompanying a senior journalist, I had met the Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit at her residence. I had explained to her quite inwards exceptional of the agency I sentiment New Delhi could pioneer inwards ensuring nutrient security. My sentiment was to describe inwards religious institutions, philanthropic organisations, social groups, SHGs, too others inwards a fashion that a daily kitchen could hold out gear upwards inwards each of the zones. She listened to me patiently, too and thence of a precipitous retorted: “Where is hunger inwards Delhi?”
I was shocked. I told her politely that in all probability she has been inwards ability for quite long to larn out thence disconnected from people that she doesn’t fifty-fifty know whether hunger prevails inwards the urban heart or not. She in all probability realised what she had said, too and thence came out the truth. “So far people migrate to Delhi inwards search of a project too livelihood. If they larn to know that Delhi also provides food, my work volition solely grow.”
The coming together abruptly ended. We walked out of her home. I don’t intend she would fifty-fifty recall this meeting. But several years afterward I was quite surprised when she inaugurated a subsidised canteen. Except for a few media reports at its launch, what is quite evident is that the Shiela Dikshit canteen has failed to describe the needy.