Hailing from a quaint village of Odisha, here’s how Basanta Kumar Kar is now touching lives globally
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Hailing from a quaint village of Odisha, here’s how Basanta Kumar Kar is now touching lives globally

Basanta Kumar Kar

The condition of malnutrition has haunted the lives of many young children in India leading to millions of deaths every year. Even though government has come up with programmes and schemes to benefit the underprivileged societies, they have had limited success.

Born in Chatara Sasan, a remote village in Kendrapada, Orissa, Basanta Kumar Kar had witnessed extreme poverty and malnutrition at close quarters growing up. That is how he discovered his life’s calling – to put an end to malnutrition. His experiences have moulded his thinking with an optimism and a hope that community as a whole has the power to do great things and bring change.

A man of vision and utter dedication, Basanta had taken the onus of tackling malnutrition challenges in the community domain by adopting a holistic approach. Under Basanta’s leadership, many successful nutrition initiatives have been held in South Asia, especially in India and Bangladesh.

One such initiatives is the launch of a pioneering pilot programme on getting Vitamin A addition to refined vegetable oil. The programme has had impact on millions of lives in Bangladesh and also benefitted over 85 percent of population of his own state, Odisha. As the leader of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Basanta thereafter started working with various stakeholders to support the “Fortification in Edible Oil with Vitamin A Bill, 2013” which was passed by the Bangladesh Parliament.

Recognised as the “nutrition man” of India, Basanta Kumar Kar was recently honoured with one of the world’s most prestigious award, the Global Nutrition Leadership Award 2019 at the UN-led Scaling up Nutrition Global Gathering (SUN GG) held in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is the second Indian person and the seventh in the world to be presented with the most the most coveted award in Nutrition sphere.

“A good life can be realised only with the right to live a life with dignity with access to safe and nutritious food. To do away with malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency is as urgent and important, as it was to banish evils like slavery” said Basanta during his acceptance speech.

A visionary leader and a change maker, Basanta has trod the path of action to eliminate the root causes of malnutrition.

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