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Government to Include Millets in Mid-Day Meal Scheme to Enhance Nutrition in Children

Mid-day meal will include millets (coarse grains) soon, said the Minister of State for Education, Annpurna Devi in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Read To Know More!

Ayushi Raina

Annpurna Devi, Minister of State for Education, said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the mid-day meal will soon include millets (coarse grains). The Central Government requested under PM POSHAN SchemeState Governments/Union Territory Administrations to incorporate millet in the midday meal to enhance children's nutrition. 

Flagging “critical” levels of malnutrition and anaemia among children, the Union Government has urged the states to explore the possibility of introducing millets in the mid-day meal scheme, now known as PM Poshan. 

Millets or nutri-cereals, which include Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi, are rich in minerals and B-complex vitamins, as well as proteins and antioxidants, making them an ideal choice for improving the nutritional outcome of children. 

"It is suggested that millets (coarse grains)-based menu be introduced once a week, and that cooking competitions among Cook-cum-Helpers be held to popularize millet-based recipes. It is also suggested that small videos be created and shown in schools to raise awareness about the benefits of millets, and that millet consumption be discussed at School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent Teachers Meeting (PTMs) "Annpurna Devi, the Minister of State for Education, stated this. 

“The Government of India is taking a series of initiatives to ameliorate this. As per National Family Health Survey-IV, 38 per cent of children in five years of age are stunted and 59 per cent of children are anemic, which is critical. Among one of the series of initiatives, to reduce malnutrition and anaemia, Government of India is laying emphasis on consumption of millets,” they said. 

Plan to include millets in mid-day meal 

The National Institute of Transforming India (NITI Aayog) held a national consultation with state governments and union territories to collect best practices from Odisha, Telangana, and Karnataka. 

Mid-day meal scheme in India 

The Scheme allows for 3 types of food grains: wheat, rice, and coarse grains.

 Foodgrains are allocated as suggested by state governments/union territory governments in their Annual Work Plan & Budget (AWP&B) and approved by the Program Approval Board of the scheme. The Department of School Education and Literacy distributes food grains biannually, with the approval of the Department of Food and Public Distribution. It is also asserted that the entire cost of food grains is borne by the Central Government. 

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