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Mid-day meals should taste better: Activists

New Delhi:Dec 15, 2012 DH News Service

 On the second day of protest on Right to Food at Jantar Mantar agitators demanded a universal quality for mid-day meals.

Anita, mother of a differently abled child from Govindpuri shared her experience of struggle to survival.  Even after ten years in Delhi, she has not been able to get neither a ration card nor an identity card.  Without any child care facility, she cannot go out to work.

“How am I supposed to buy milk for my child? I have not been able to earn any money for her medical treatment. Doesn’t my child have any rights?” she asked.

Smita Gupta from CPI (M) demanded for a comprehensive National Food Security Act.
“This should include a universal Public Distribution System (PDS) and cash transfer plan is an attempt to phase out the PDS. There are no school, medical aid and basic facilities for children from poor families in Delhi which is a shame,” she said.

Dr Vandana Prasad, a child specialist, stressed the need of healthy food for better growth of children.

“As a doctor I see several children not getting even basic proteins. We demand proper food like dal, rice, eggs, fish, roti and curd for our children to grow,” she said.

Yogendra Yadav from Aam Aadmee Party criticised the government for giving Rs 6 lakh crore tax concessions to the rich and corporates every year but refusing to spare money for the National Food Security Act.

Activists demanded that any Food Security Bill should provide total nutrition to children by mandating all services of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for all children, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls; by improving the quality of these services; universal maternity entitlements for a period of at least six months and others.   
According to official statistics, 50 per cent of children below the age of three years in India are stunted and more than 40 per cent are underweight.


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