The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 9 , 2014
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Now, milk for kids at govt schools

- Right to food activists seek alternative for those who do not eat eggs

Ranchi, July 8: The state chapter of Right to Food Campaign, a national network of professionals working towards ensuring food security, is planning to launch a fresh drive to ensure that children of government schools get milk as a nutritional supplement under the Midday Meal (MDM) scheme.

Coming close on the heels of Anda Abhiyan launched on June 4 across the state, the proposed Milk Abhiyan will mainly cover students who do not eat eggs.

A rough estimate suggests that around 15 per cent students between Class I and Class VIII at 40,000 state-run primary and upper primary schools do not eat eggs.

Balram, Jharkhand’s advisor to the Supreme Court-appointed commissioners for right to food, said this new initiative would ensure that each of those 15 per cent students get 200ml of milk as substitute of eggs on a regular basis.

“During the ongoing Anda Abhiyan, we found that many students do not prefer eggs. So we are going to pressurise the state government for making provisions for providing milk,” Balram said.

The right to food activists have already raised the issue with principal secretary, HRD department, K. Vidyasagar, who has promised to look into the matter.

Sources said the idea to provide milk to schoolchildren was mooted by then chief minister Arjun Munda, who had made an additional allocation of Rs 161 crore under the midday meal scheme. But the project did not take off due to lack of milk supply. Balram said we wanted to start the Milk Abhiyan first.

“But we were told that the milk production in Jharkhand was very low and the state government was already facing difficulty in meeting normal demand of milk on a daily basis. The state sources a large amount of milk from outside. Providing milk under the midday meal scheme would be difficult for the government,” he said.

However, considering so many children do not eat eggs, the activists are now mounting pressure on the government to make provision for milk at least for the 15 per cent.

According to Balram, they are preparing a list of students from all state-run primary and upper primary schools who do not eat eggs.

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