Lucknow: About two crore government school children are still waiting for millet-based food in their midday meals (MDM) because of delay in procurement process.
A proposal had been sent to the Centre, but a response is still awaited. The plan is to serve millets-based dishes once a week to enhance nutrition among children.
At present, students are served either a rice-based or wheat-based menu six days a week.
The promise that students will get an opportunity to taste millets-based dish in the form of either “Bajre ki Roti” or “Bajre ki Khichdi” once a week has not materialized so far.
“We have sent a proposal to the government of India in this regard. We are awaiting the response of the Food Corporation of India and the Union government,” said an official at MDM Authority, Uttar Pradesh.
“The MDM Authority, Uttar Pradesh, proposed to the Centre that students of classes 1 to 8 enrolled in 1.42 lakh government and government-aided schools across the state be served a millets-based meal once a week. But procurement remained an issue. Hence, we allowed districts that can procure millets to introduce it. Unless the food grain is readily available, we cannot implement it on a regular basis,” said Vijay Kiran Anand, the director general of school education in the state.
In February 2022, to enhance nutrition among children, the Centre requested the state governments and union territories administrations to explore the possibility of introducing millets under PM Poshan Scheme preferably in the districts where eating millets is a culturally accepted food habit.
It was suggested to introduce millets (coarse grains) based menu once a week and also conduct cooking competitions among cook-cum-helpers to popularize millets-based recipes.
It was suggested to prepare small videos for creating awareness about the goodness of millets and showcase them in schools and consumption of millets.