India School Meal

July 17, 2013 by  

India School Meal, The programme is the world’s largest school feeding programme
India’s Mid-Day Meal programme is the world’s most ambitious free school feeding programme, providing cooked meals to more than 120 million children in over a million schools across the country.

In a country where nearly half of the children are undernourished and struggle to go to school, the programme is a weapon to tackle hunger and illiteracy.

Economists believe the programme bolsters primary school enrolment and attendance, eliminates hunger, enables children from diverse class and caste backgrounds to share a meal together and bury social prejudices, and provides children with hygiene and nutritional education. There is enough evidence to prove that the programme has, by and large, been a success, they say.

That’s precisely why the deaths of more than 20 school children after consuming contaminated free meals in Bihar state is shocking.

As with most of India’s large state-run social schemes, the performance of the free meals programme varies from state to state.

States like Tamil Nadu – where the mid-day meal began in the city of Chennai (Madras) as early as 1925 – and Kerala and Orissa have reported good results. Results in laggard states like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have been less than impressive.

The source of the food contamination in the Bihar school is not entirely clear yet – doctors say that they have found evidence of insecticide in the food; other reports talk about contaminated vegetable oil used in cooking. Tainted food supplies or awful kitchen hygiene could have led to the tragedy.

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