Move to solve malnutrition and to use excess milk produced
The State government is mulling over providing free milk to schoolchildren once a week through the Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation (KMF) after organising the requisite financial resources for it.
Making an announcement during the celebration of World Milk Day organised by the KMF in Bangalore on Saturday, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra said that providing milk to students in school would serve two purposes — tackling the burning social problem of malnutrition and ensuring that extra milk available with the KMF is consumed by those in need rather than converting it into milk powder.
Though he did not specify the quantum of milk to be provided, he said the government may need about Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 crore for the scheme. He said he had already discussed the matter with the Chief Minister.
Pointing out that the country needs to nurture its young population, Mr. Jayachandra said the government has a greater responsibility in addressing the issue of malnutrition as a recent report of the UNICEF said that “malnutrition is more common in India than in sub-Saharan Africa”.
At present, 50 lakh litres of milk is produced daily in the State, and this may go up to 60 lakh litres soon.
Of this, hardly 30 lakh litres are consumed every day; the rest is converted into milk powder.
Aravind Jannu, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, explained that though there was excess production in the State, the consumption of milk here is very low when compared to the national average.
“In European countries, average consumption of milk by an individual is one kg a day. In India it is 280 gm per person, and in Karnataka it is just about 190 gm,” Mr. Jannu said. He pointed out that economically weaker sections such as the labour class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the consumption was as low as 190 gm a day.