India should reap demographic dividend by educating and skilling the youth, especially children, said President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday.
Our children should be educated and healthy. India can reap the demographic dividend only if we succeed in educating and skilling our youth, especially our children," Mukherjee said at a commemoration function here.
Lauding Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) for serving two billion meals to school children, the President said if the country had to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, it must free itself from hunger, illiteracy, disease and destitution.
Complimenting the non-profit organisation (APF) for playing an exemplary role through its through its nutritious meals for drawing millions of children to their class rooms every day, Mukherjee urged the people to contribute to the noble project of ending hunger amongst school children.
"Even the biggest of challenges can be addressed through collective efforts of the community, NGOs and the government," the President added.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the Foundation had been running the largest school meal programme across the country to enable a new era in the cause of nation-building.
"The milestone of attaining two-billion meals reflects the willingness and the effort of the Foundation to meet the needs of the children and exhibit dynamic social innovation in the need to safeguard our children and address their immediate needs of food and education," said Siddaramaiah on the occasion.
Besides BJP senior leader Manhohar Joshi, Union Minster for Statistics and Programme D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Union Human Resource Department Minister Prakash Javadkar were present on the occasion.
The 16-year-old organisation, which has 25 locations in 10 states across the country, started feeding 1,500 meals in five schools in Bengaluru in 2000 and expanded the capacity to 1.5 million children daily.