It’s official: egg, banana, chikki in midday meals for students of Classes 1 to 8 for 46 days

Nutritionists say the frequency of distribution of these items needs to be increased

Updated - July 21, 2022 07:08 pm IST

Published - July 20, 2022 09:53 pm IST - Bengaluru

Eggs and bananas being served in the midday meal at a school in Kalaburagi city in Karnataka in December 2021.

Eggs and bananas being served in the midday meal at a school in Kalaburagi city in Karnataka in December 2021. | Photo Credit: Arun Kulkarni

Children from Classes 1 to 8 in the State will get boiled eggs, bananas or groundnut chikki for 46 days of the ongoing academic year.

The State government, on Tuesday, issued a formal order stating that eggs, bananas or groundnut chikki would be provided as supplementary nutrition for the children under the Pradhan Manthri Shakthi Nirman programme.

The government is already providing these items to students of Kalyana Karnataka districts like Bidar, Ballari, Yadgir, Koppal, Kalaburagi, Raichur and Vijayapura along with the midday meals for students in Classes 1 to 8, and plans to extend the programme to all government and aided schools across the State.

The Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction, submitted the proposal to the government to provide egg, banana and chikki to students from Classes 1 to 10 across the State for 100 days in the academic year of 2022-23 at a cost of ₹347.11 crore. The government finally gave approval to provide these items to students from Classes 1 to 8 for 46 days this academic year. This means students will get egg, banana or chikki with midday meals weekly twice.

However, nutritionists have stated the need for increasing the frequency at which supplementary nutrition is provided. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, public health doctor and researcher, told The Hindu, “We have already submitted a memorandum to the government that eggs should be provided for five to six times a week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, malnutrition has become common as nutritious food was scarce. To avoid malnutrition, eggs can be provided to students up to Class 10,” she suggested.

“Eggs are superior foods in terms of protein quality and vitamin and mineral content. In fact, eggs are considered as a reference protein against which all other foods are measured. Other animal source foods (ASF) such as chicken, fish, red meats come close in terms of quality. For vegetarian children, since the only ASF they can consume is dairy and milk, these children could be given an additional glass of whole milk (not skimmed), equivalent amount of full fat yoghurt, paneer, cheese etc., that will definitely help the children to have a catch up growth,” she added.

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