Scrambled up

Madhya Pradesh CM’s crusade against eggs is illogical, unscientific and dangerous.

By: Express News Service | Published: June 2, 2015 12:00 am

The Madhya Pradesh government of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is no stranger to controversial decisions that have more than a whiff of conservatism about them. In the past, this government has enthusiastically extolled the virtues of cow urine, and even claimed that liberal application of cow dung is one of the few ways to escape nuclear radiation. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that staunch vegetarian Chouhan has imposed a strict no-eggs rule in anganwadi meals for tribal children, aged between three and six, under the Integrated Child Development Services in three MP districts. This, despite the fact that eggs are an easy source of protein, vitamins and minerals — all too essential in a country that has the highest rate of malnutrition in the world, higher even than sub-Saharan Africa. Malnutrition contributes to more than a third of all child deaths, and according to the World Health Organisation, close to 1.3 million children die every year in India because they are undernourished. Roughly half the children under six in Madhya Pradesh are underweight. These shameful data cast an even more unflattering light on Chouhan’s unscientific crusade against serving eggs.

Yet, Chouhan is by no means the only chief minister to deny children the vast nutritional benefits of eggs. In much of the so-called Hindi heartland, including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, eggs are a no-no. The dietary habits of children in these states are strictly policed. But in much of the south, and especially in more vulnerable districts, eggs are included in midday meal programmes or anganwadi meals. Objections to serving eggs are usually justified under the guise of not offending people’s sentiments. But this explanation fails to account for how many might be offended by the imposition of a minority’s (vegetarians) dietary preferences upon a majority, particularly given that the targeted population, such as tribals and Dalits, do not share this aversion. And it also runs up against Mahatma Gandhi’s contention that eggs are no more or less vegetarian than milk.

Chouhan, serving his third successive term as chief minister, has long been projected as one of the BJP’s more moderate, growth-friendly faces. But this current pursuit undermines that carefully cultivated image, so essential for running a government that finds acceptance among a diverse cross-section of citizens.

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    Anand
    Jun 2, 2015 at 11:03 pm
    Misconceptions among people that being non-veg is the only way. Do these people/leaders know how much protein, vitamins, fiber, carbs, etc. should be consumed by a person specific to his/her lifestyle? Based on that, how much do these folks think an Olympic wrestler should have daily consumption of these ingredients? What if that Olympian happens to be Sushil Kumar, who is a vegetarian and has won medals in two consecutive appearances in Olympic games? He is going strong for upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic games! The need of the hour is to understand the ingredients our body is getting from the things we eat and vegetarian diets provide everything. We have to be actively monitoring what we eat daily. Folks need to understand there is a huge cost paid for raising animals for human consumption and we can't keep taking from mother earth. It's a basic arithmetic where animals are feed vegetable diet which is multiple times more compared to what a human would consume on a daily basis. Apart from this, water and other resources are required to raise the animals. And the topper it, highly unregulated antibiotics are given to these animals to keep them healthy for . I agree that Govt. meals programs should make every effort to provide a balanced vegetarian diet.
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