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

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘St. Vincent’ shouldn’t work, but it does

This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Bill Murray, left, and Jaeden Lieberher in a scene from the film, "St. Vincent."

St. Vincent should be forgettable, yet it’s one of the more memorable and moving dramedies you’ll see this year.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 23

strait

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Local Sports

Rookie Randle leads Lakers past Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts calls in a play against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half of their NBA basketball game Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Atlanta. Portland won 100-85.

Rookie Julius Randle scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter in the Los Angeles Lakers' 94-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

in Sports

AP source: Goodell told to testify in Rice appeal

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pauses as he speaks during a news conference Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in New York. Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl. The league has faced increasing criticism that it has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning the domestic abuse cases. The commissioner reiterated that he botched the handling of the Ray Rice case.

A person familiar with the case has told The Associated Press that an arbiter has ruled that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should testify in Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension.

in Sports

Royals beats Giants 7-2, even World Series 1-all

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.

The Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night to even the World Series at one game apiece.