The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) has won the Nikkei Asia Prizes, in recognition of its achievements in the Economic and Business Innovation category. It is the most prestigious award in Asia.
The award ceremony was held in Tokyo on Sunday, the 29th of May, 2016. Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, the Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, received the award.
Nikkei is a media organization with newspaper publishing at its core. Its flagship daily newspaper, The Nikkei is the world’s largest financial newspaper with a circulation of more than three million and publishes online news in Japanese, English and Chinese.
In 1996, to commemorate the 120th anniversary, Nikkei Inc. instituted these awards. This award is given to individuals and organizations who contribute to sustainable development and to create a better future for Asia. The prizes are awarded in three categories: (1) Regional Growth (2) Technological Innovation (3) Culture. In 2014, however, the titles were changed.
- Economic and Business Innovation
- Science, Technology and Environment
- Culture and Community
Akshaya Patra was selected under the category of Economic and Business Innovation.
On receiving the award Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa said:
“I am truly humbled by this honor. I take this recognition as an insignia of hope and encouragement to our mission of providing unlimited food for education to school children every day. It is a matter of exceptional pride and honor to be bestowed with the Nikkei Asia Prize. I sincerely thank Nikkei Inc. for recognizing Akshaya Patra as an organization that has undertaken initiatives to respond effectively to social needs for Asia’s better future.”
The Akshaya Patra Foundation received a certificate from Naotoshi Okada, President, CEO of Nikkei Inc. and three million yen from Nikkei Asia Prizes.
Some of the most influential people in India who won this award in the past are:
- Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (in 1997 for contribution towards Regional Growth),
- N. R. Narayana Murthy (in 2001 for his contribution towards Regional Growth),
- Urvashi Butalia (in 2003 for her contribution towards Culture),
- C.N.R. Rao (in 2008 for his contribution towards Science, Technology and Innovation),
- Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (in 2009 for her contribution towards Regional Growth),
- Devi Prasad Shetty (in 2014 for his contribution towards Economic and Business Innovation).
Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme, is an initiative of ISKCON Bangalore. In partnership with the Government of India and the state Governments, the Foundation is supplying meals in 10,872 schools across the country, feeding 1.5 million children every day.
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa designed the first centralized kitchen of Akshaya Patra to provide mid-day meals to underserved children in the government schools of Bengaluru in July 2000. Under his inspiring leadership and impeccable commitment, the organization is growing unceasingly towards its mission of feeding five million children by 2020. The Foundation recently served its two billionth meal.
Madhu Pandit Dasa set up a robust governance model that has made Akshaya Patra a hallmark of transparency and accountability. It is highlighted by the fact that Akshaya Patra is the only NGO in the country to win the Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) five times in a row and is placed in its prestigious Hall of Fame.
Madhu Pandit Dasa completed his B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT-Bombay in the year 1980. While he was doing his M.Tech course in IIT-Bombay in 1981, he dedicated himself to the service of humanity by becoming a full-time member of ISKCON. Apart from being the Chairman of Akshaya Patra, he also serves as the President of ISKCON Bangalore and Chairman of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir.