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Government makes strong pitch for packaged food in schools

12,October, 2016

State govt’s move on mid-day meal likely to save time and will provide relief to teachers.

JAIPUR: State education department is making a strong pitch for introduction of pre-packaged meals as part of the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme in government schools in the desert state to address the issue of nutritional balance in the diet for children. The idea was mentioned in the last budget speech of CM Vasundhara Raje as well.

Rajasthan government’s move derived from the plan to serve hygienic, pre-packaged food, hot and fresh. According to sources such a move would save the preparation time and thereby providing much relief to the teachers. Besides, it would eliminate complaints regarding the quality of the food supplied to the children. Education department has written to the Union Human Resources Development ministry in this regard. According to sources the proposal of the Rajasthan government is under examination of the Union HRD ministry which requires an amendment to the MDM rules 2015.

The mid-day meal which is served in primary and upper primary schools across the government schools in the nation has to be "hot-cooked meal" as per the MDM rules.

The Rajasthan government pointed out that the pre-cooked meal will be more hygienic, easy to store and cook, and still can be served hot. It was also argued that it will give students opportunities to eat different meals on everyday which will increase the popularity of the scheme.

Besides it was also argued that the pre-cooked meals can keep a balance on nutritional standards which will help students to stay healthy.

However, some state chief ministers and other union ministers are said to be not in favour of allowing pre-cooked meals.

According to a research study published in MDM Scheme official website, the programme has helped improve attendance and enrolment of children, particularly girls apart from addressing the issue of malnutrition among children.

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