Around 11 crore children surviving on midday meals daily can expect a better diet in the coming months because the HRD ministry has revised food norms after seven years.
A committee headed by Vinod Paul, head of neo-natal department, AIIMS has recommended reduction in cereal intake – 100 grams to 90 grams for primary school children and 150 grams to 125 grams for upper primary school children but added extra wholesome food like milk, milk products, eggs and bananas to the meal.
We doubt whether the government has enough money to fund this revision. Midday meals would be saving around Rs 600 crore since cereals will now be available at a subsidised rate – rice at Rs 3/kg and wheat at Rs 2/kg under the National Food Security Act.
Cooking cost has also multiplied. It has increased to Rs 5.55 for primary school children from Rs 3.86 and to Rs 8.28 for upper primary children. The committee has said cooking cost should be revised every two years.
Vegetable and pulse intake remains unchanged. For upper primary children, vegetable intake will be 75 gram per child and for primary children 50 gram. Pulse intake will be 30 grams for upper primary and 20 grams for primary children.