The Karnataka department of school education Wednesday announced that eggs, bananas or chikkis (supplementary nutrition) would be included in the midday meals as a part of the Flexibility for Innovative Intervention activity under the PM Poshan Shakti Nirman (midday meals) scheme for students of Classes I-VIII.
The order stated that supplementary nutrition will be provided for 46 days a year in all districts for the current academic year 2022-23. The secretary of the department of school education and literacy said that the supplementary nutrition will be provided at a unit at a cost of Rs 6 per student. The order also stated that the funds released under the PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme last year will be used to extend the supplementary nutrition initiative across all districts. Under the scheme, a total of Rs 34,711 crore was approved, out of which Rs 4,494 crore was granted for the supplementary nutrition programme, which will be used for this academic year.
Earlier, the Karnataka government had conducted a pilot project between December 2021 and March 2022 by introducing eggs in midday meals in Kalyan Karnataka region, including Bidar, Kalaburagi, Ballari, Vijayanagara, Koppala, Raichur and Yadgiri after identifying growing malnourishment among school children. The funds for the same were shared between the Centre and the state on a 60:40 ratio, respectively.
Education minister B C Nagesh said, “The response from the Kalyan Karnataka region on the inclusion of eggs has been very good and it was seen that the outcome has been very positive. Hence, we have decided to extend eggs or bananas or chikkis in midday meals across all districts to ensure that malnutrition doesn’t impede education.”
The order also said that the purchase of eggs should happen at school level and the school authorities must ensure that quality eggs are purchased and distributed. The government has also ordered the school authorities to update the information on distribution of eggs on the SATS (Student Achievement Track System) and MDM (Midday Meal) websites.