Bengaluru: The state government plans to introduce nutrition-rich millets for government school students across the state as part of its mid-day meal programme from the next academic year.
Department of Public Instruction (DPI) sources said that the government is studying various options and working out the cost modalities. The pilot project received a good response from students, parents and teachers after ragi balls were introduced for students at a few taluks of Kolar district and jowar roti in some taluks of North Karnataka once a week.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar has held several rounds of talks with officials of Food Corporation of India, Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation, Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and other nodal agencies of the government to procure millets like ragi, jowar, foxtail, maize, bajra and wheat from farmers.
Also, the Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) has issued a directive to all the state governments to include millets in their mid-day meal programmes, considering that these grains are rich in nutritional content such as calcium, iron, protein and fibre.
NITI Aayog and various government nutrition agencies too have made a similar recommendation as 8 per cent of children are obese, while over 40 per cent are malnourished, underweight and have stunted growth, as per studies.
The state government has decided to cut the quota of rice in the mid-day meal programme. Now, over 55 lakh students in government and aided schools in the state are served rice, sambar, khichdi, vegetables, sweet dishes, puliyogare, kesari bath, pongal, bisibele bath among others along with milk and biscuits....