Wait for U.P. govt schools’ students to get millets in MDM gets longer
The introduction of millets-based food in mid-day meals for 20 million children in Uttar Pradesh has been delayed due to procurement issues. A proposal has been sent to the government of India, but a response is still awaited. The plan is to serve millets-based dishes once a week to enhance nutrition among children.
The wait for nearly two crore (20 million) children enrolled in government schools across Uttar Pradesh to get millets-based food in mid-day meal (MDM) once a week as a part of the International Year of Millets is getting longer.
The promise that students will get an opportunity to taste millets-based dish in the form of either “Bajre ki Roti” or “Bajre ki Khichdi” once a week has not materialised so far.
“We have sent a proposal to the government of India in this regard. We are awaiting the response of the Food Corporation of India and the Union government,” said an official at MDM Authority, Uttar Pradesh. At present, students are served either a rice-based or wheat-based menu six days a week as part of the mid-day meal in the state.
“The MDM Authority, UP, proposed to the Centre that students of classes 1 to 8 enrolled in 1.42 lakh government and government-aided schools across the state be served a millets-based meal once a week. But procurement remained an issue. Hence, we allowed districts that are able to procure millets to introduce it. Unless the food grain is readily available, we cannot implement it on a regular basis,” said director general, school education, U.P., Vijay Kiran Anand.
In February 2022, to enhance nutrition among children, the Centre requested the state governments/Union Territories administrations to explore the possibility of introducing millets under PM Poshan Scheme preferably in the districts where eating millets is a culturally accepted food habit.
It was suggested to introduce millets (coarse grains) based menu once a week and also conduct cooking competitions among cook-cum-helpers to popularise millets-based recipes. It was suggested to prepare small videos for creating awareness about the goodness of millets and showcase them in schools and consumption of millets.