Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Padma Shri to Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation on Tuesday at the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Madhu Pandit Dasa was honoured with the recognition for the distinguished service rendered by Akshaya Patra for the children of India. On the occasion, he thanked the Government of India for the recognition. Dasa said, "I dedicate this award to Srila Prabhupada, a true visionary who wanted to see a hunger free world. This recognition shall give immense encouragement to the Akshaya Patra team to reach greater heights. It is our humble service of providing nutrition to the government school children through the Akshaya Patra programme. It is an inspiration for me and the entire team at Akshaya Patra to reach out to many more hungry children of this country. Quality food for these children is essential for quality education that will in turn create citizens who can think for themselves and help develop good character."
Dasa designed the first centralised kitchen of Akshaya Patra, to provide mid-day meals to underserved children in the Government schools of Bengaluru rural district during July 2000. Under his leadership the organisation has grown from providing 1500 children with mid-day meals to 1.5 million children in 15 years, becoming the world's largest NGO-run school lunch programme.