To mitigate malnourishment, the Karnataka government has decided to include eggs in mid-day meals for seven districts in the state. The Department of Public Instruction said that the move is likely to benefit 14.4 lakh children in the state.
The Commissioner of Public Instruction V Anbukumar said that the scheme would be implemented in Ballari, Bidar, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Raichur, Vijayapura and Yadgir districts, where malnutrition is persistent amongst children. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) list, according to which the officials were directed to include a list of supplementary nutrition in midday meals where malnourishment was rising.
Exploring Alternatives For Healthier Meals
The Indian Express reported that a Senior Official in DPI is already discussing with the Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers to explore the feasibility of including 'pure vegetarian alternatives' in the diet. However, the senior official said that they had not gotten any official approvals yet. He also mentioned that energy balls are an alternative, but nothing has been finalised yet. The scheme is likely to come into effect soon. The DPI has also instructed its officials to visit the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu and assess how the scheme is implemented.
Tamil Nadu: First State To Include Eggs
Tamil Nadu was the first state to include eggs in the mid-day meals of students in government schools. Under former Chief Minister Karunanidhi's short-lived tenure, the state included eggs to be served every fortnight. However, in 2013, the scheme was further modified by late Chief Minister Jayalalitha by including a variety of meals, including masala eggs as per the children's choice. This proved to improve the children's health, but also attracted more children to come to schools.
Incidentally, in the previous Cabinet led by Chief Minister Yediyurappa, the minister of Women and Child Development Shashikala Jolle was accused of corruption linked to egg distribution to lactating mothers and children.