Our education should help us think. I keep wondering, does it?

Or does it get more biased? Do we get trapped into ‘socialism’ or ‘capitalism’ that we think that the other one will NOT, EVER, WORK?

Do we think that big fund managers can do no wrong, speak no wrong and are somehow free of mistake making?

Do we think that schemes like NREGA, MNREGA, etc. are political stunts and something good can never come out of it?

Why is it that once we make up our minds, we do not let new data come into our head?

What am I driving at? Well let me go back a little in History. C N Annadhurai – late CM of Tamil Nadu was going by car when he had to stop at a railway level crossing. He saw some boys grazing cattle and asked them ‘why do u not go to school?’ . One of the kids said ‘will you feed me?’. That got the CM thinking – and he did not really have an answer.

A few years later MGR started a Mid-day Meal scheme. This was criticized by all the intellectuals calling it a waste of resources. I was really too young to know how successful or otherwise the scheme was. Also MGR was not a good administrator – I have no clue whether he was.

Then the Hare Krishna Movement started a scheme called the ‘Akshayapatra’ – and I have seen it grow from feeding a few ’00 children to feeding 1.4 million children a day (REPEAT THIS A FEW TIMES, IT takes time to sink – 1.4 million children A DAY). It is a huge success. Forget Moral hazard, forget people getting lazy, forget theft in the system, ….dammit it works. Who comes? children of beggars, wastrel parents, drunk parents, parents in jail,…etc. etc.

The intellectuals be damned. Damned.

Obamacare – is not without its critics, and hey dammit, it works. More details? come on Google – the world is full of Obamacare success stories, but the critics have NOT GIVEN UP saying ‘Why Obamacare will fail’. I has not failed dammit.

Amma – in Chennai Jayalalitha has created a fantastic Direct Benefits Transfer Mechanism – you get drinking water, breakfast, lunch, salt, medicines, …at subsidized rates. Sorry, I have not seen the Math behind the scheme well enough. I should not be commenting on the economic feasibility, but in a country with so many scams this cannot be a big figure. North India could sell rotis (using all the surplus grains), sabzi, milk,….and create an awesome poor feeding scheme. Feeding children in the school is a FANTASTIC WAY to keep them engaged and making them INVOLVED.

To err is human. We all do it.

NOT TO change one’s mind even when New Data is thrown at YOU continuously is called BIAS.

We need a kick start, that is all. And an ability to scrap and re-group if necessary.

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  1. Subra
    How do Akshayapatra manage with 750 per child for one year? Do they get govt support also, for every 750 received?

  2. do not know the details Aparna, u will have to ask them. I have been stunned by the enormity of the whole operation…i think they get govt subsidy per child…

  3. Subra sir, i’m getting to be a huge fan of your thoughts.please continue to share your thoughts.

  4. Sreedhar I really do not know, but I do not trust Wiki…so I heard the story from somebody…frankly for the whole story it does not matter. If somebody else also mentions, I will have a look…

  5. Subra ji,
    Yes mid day meal scheme was kick started by Kamaraj period. But it was matured and properly panned out with Egg during MGR time.

    Also, Amma Pharmacy, salt, water is not subsidised. they are selling with profit only and Quality. But it is competitive enough to challenge private guys.

  6. Subra,

    I think your description of so many things as “success” is in a very narrow sense. What is the unseen price being paid for these projects? Who is paying for them?
    If you take overall things into consideration, someone is innocently being robbed to pay for them.

    Working? Are they?

  7. Ok, if govt gives subsidy to Akshayapatra, good. We recently visited the site to make donations, hyphen wondered how the whole thing operates with such small budget per child.

  8. Like to add: the fact that some x amount we spend on totally unnecessary stuff can feed sooo many children can make us donate more than we planned. Last yr on my daughters bday, donated money to a local orphanage, this yr felt like directing it to Akshayapatra.

  9. Aparna

    donations are so difficult to manage. I have very close friends (4 of them) and one sister who run reasonably sized NGOs. So donating outisde of these people may be unnecessary…but on my blog I insist on http://www.akshayapatra.org or Eureka Child project….

  10. I am late to the party, but I benefited from both Amma canteen and Water services. The point is it is ruthlessly efficient so that the opposition can not make fun of it after a while. It is going to spread throughout the state in coming years. North Indian states should think about it.

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