Veggie treat:?Midday meal menu gets makeover

The scheme has been revamped to increase nutritional intake among children.

Bangalore: Mid-day meals will now cater to a more diverse, well-rounded palette, with health, nutrition and variety becoming the new focal points of the programme. Children in 55113 schools across Karnataka stand to benefit from this change.

Students in Primary and Upper Primary Classes in Government, Government Aided, Local Body, Madarsa and National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Schools will witness a welcome revision in Karnataka’s midday meal work plan for 2014-15.

The Government of Karnataka is all set to provide these children with a new and improved menu, so that the primary objectives - improving nutritional status among children, improving school enrollment among from disadvantaged sections and increasing attendance rates in schools – will be met.

Unlike the old menu, which included only sambhar-rice on weekdays, bisibelebath on Fridays and Upma and Pongal on weekends, the new menu includes a different mix of vegetables every day. The list has already been sent to the Department of Public Instruction. The department of Public Instruction, in its bid to include more green vegetables, will use locally grown produce.

According to Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction, "With more varieties of vegetables being used in the menu, the issue of low consumption can be addressed."

Citing Bihar schools' meal poisoning incident of July 2013, where 23 students died and a total of 150 students fell ill after eating midday meals at two schools in two districts of Bihar, Mohammad Mohsin said, "All these days, food was checked and tested as and when required, in laboratories. Earlier, laboratory testing of food was very rare. We do not want incidents like the one in Bihar to happen here, too."

The annual plan also includes revised wages for cook-cum-helpers, which has been increased from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000, although cabinet approval on this is still pending. In Karnataka, however, the State government is adding an additional Rs 600 to their salaries.

( Source : dc )
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