A meal ticket for the needy

Harsh Mander in  a recent magazine  piece in The Hindu  refers to sale of food token by wayside eateries at  Jama Masjid  and Nizamuddin areas  in Delhi. Idea  is customers can buy these plastic tokens  for hand-outs among the needy in the  neighbourhood. Recipients can exchange the plastic token for a take-away  parcel anytime over a period of one month. The food token system  adopted by eating houses is relevant in the context of ,  what Mr Mander terms,  erosion of  religious charity  traditions .

Poor-feeding m-jan-14-10-019A scene outside Raghavendra temple at Narayana Sastri Road, Mysore.

A survey of places of worship in Delhi  found little evidence of  Christian food charities  in the city ;  mosques no longer opened  their doors to the homeless and hungry; and Hindu temples,  mostly served sweet and oily food sporadically, on fixed sacred days, and rarely with dignity.   Eating houses selling  plastic tokens  in Delhi are located in the vicinity of  places of worship that attract alms seekers.  It is a business model adopted by  eating houses ,  for the benefit  charity-minded pilgrims.

The food token system can be adopted for a drive against hunger,  elsewhere in the country.   Traders and restaurant owners associations in various localities should take a lead.  An operating system for the issue of tokens  can be  evolved by management experts.  MBA students can take it up as class project.  OMR Greens  would welcome an initiative  in this regard by management students at   Hindustan University.  We can approach traders association and eating houses at  Padur-Kelambakkam area  with a project proposal.

The  ‘luncheon voucher’  and  ‘food coupons’  issued by IT companies to employees can be a working model for restaurant and  traders associations to adopt.   Food token can be  priced on cost-sharing basis, and  all three stake holders –  traders body, eating houses in a locality, and their customers who buy the food tokens –   would be  partners  in a  CSR project (community social responsibility) to work for freedom from hunger..


One Response

  1. Have you seen the movie “beTTada hoovu”? All beggars may not want food. They may prefer cash to buy a shawl, kambaLi, bus ticket to go to somewhere, etc.

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