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

6 mins ago in Sports

Reigning NL batting champ banned 80 games for doping

Fresh
marlinsdeeREUTERS

Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins was suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said.

4 hours ago in National

Teen pregnancies hit historic low

Updated
sexed296416402183

The annual survey shows the continuation of a downward trend that began in 2006 and continued through 2014, the latest year of complete data, when nearly 250,000 babies were born to girls and women aged 15 to 19.

4 hours ago in Sports

Watch Richard Sherman pick up unsuspecting passengers

20-overlay-14

The Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl winner takes a side gig as a driver for Lyft.

4 hours ago in Sports

NFL: Raiders hope to move to Vegas

markdavisraiders16119669574354

Raiders owner Mark Davis says he wants to move the team to Las Vegas and is willing to spend a half billion dollars as part of a deal for a new stadium in the city.

5 hours ago in National

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris in this April 15, 2014 file photo.

The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule change that would let U.S. judges issue search warrants for access to computers located in any jurisdiction despite opposition from civil liberties groups who say it will greatly expand the FBI's hacking authority.