The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) has again requested states to include Millet in Mid-day meal served for children at schools.
Considering that many states not responded positively to its earlier request made in September 2019, the ministry has issued a circular again reminding and requesting states to include the same. This time ministry even released details of nutrient values in millet compared to whole wheat and rice, and also explained about the importance of consuming millet.
As it is mentioned in the circular, MHRD said, "Inclusion of millet in Mid-Day meals was discussed again during the recent meeting chaired by Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of Niti Aayog."
Niti Aayog and MHRD are recommending for inclusion of millets in Mid-day meal scheme because of calcium, Iron, protein, Fiber and other factors present in them. It can be recalled that earlier the ministry had issued an official communication to all state governments asking them to take measures to include Millet in their Mid-Day meal programme based on the food habits of the people of that particular region.
MHRD has even asked state governments to send their current food menu for mid-Day meals and also the action taken report on instructions to introduce millet.
It can be recalled that Karnataka took a lead in this and introduced millets in mid-day meals on pilot basis in select 1,000 government schools in Bengaluru Urban district. Akshaya Patra Foundation had took the initiative and served millet meals for 100 days.
Akshaya Patra Foundation had even submitted report to state education department saying 70 to 80% progress in children health after started consuming millet meals. But department has not yet acted on it. However, the officials from the department says that it is difficult to get the millet in such a large quantity to include it in mid day meals.
It can be recalled that even Niti Aayog had suggested to include millets in Public Distribution System (PDS) and mid-day meal scheme. However, the idea is to promote millet as nutri-cereals and Indian Council for Agricultural Research is working on storage issues as storage of millet for long time is an issue, an official said.