One Egg per Student Proves 'Too Expensive' for Jharkhand Government -Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

-TheWire.in

Citing rising prices, the BJP government has reduced the number of eggs supplied in the mid-day meal from three to two in Jharkhand. Eleven states ruled by party do not supply any.

New Delhi: In keeping with its party’s overall aversion to eggs, the BJP government in Jharkhand has decided to reduce the number of eggs supplied per week to children under the mid-day meal scheme from three to two. This step has apparently been taken in view of the rising price of eggs.

Instead of increasing allocation, Jharkhand cut egg supply

According to Right to Food campaigners in the state, the Jharkhand government earlier allotted Rs 4 per egg. With the increase in the price of eggs, it has revised its allotment to Rs 6 per egg. But instead of increasing the total budget to include with the inflation in the cost of eggs, the government has decided to serve one less egg per child per week.

The introduction of eggs in schools, and later in anganwadis, was considered one of the few noteworthy steps taken by Jharkhand government to improve child nutrition in the state.

Jharkhand among few BJP states on India’s ‘egg-map’

The Wire earlier reported how Jharkhand and Tripura were among the few BJP-ruled states that distributed eggs in MDM scheme. Overall, there are 11 BJP-ruled states that do not serve eggs despite the National Institute of Nutrition making it compulsory under the mid-day meal scheme. There are three other states in which BJP is a coalition partner, and three non-BJP states, which do not serve eggs under the scheme.

There are 12 states in the country which serve eggs under the MDM scheme with Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu providing as many as five per week.

The non-distribution of eggs has long been opposed by activists and nutritionists alike. Eggs have been established to be an excellent source of protein and all essential nutrients, except vitamin C, for young children.

Yet, an “egg map” – which illustrates how many eggs are distributed per week in mid-day meals served in schools and anganwadis across the country – last year established a clear absence of the commodity from the menu in most BJP-ruled states.

The National Institute of Nutrition, which works under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical Research under the Union ministry of health and family welfare, made the provision of eggs compulsory in mid-day meals, as they are considered cheaper, safer, more nutritious and easier to procure than alternatives such as milk or bananas.

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TheWire.in, 16 January, 2019, https://thewire.in/education/egg-mid-day-meal-jharkhand-government

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