Maharashtra’s Midday Meal Serves Dal Khichdi Everyday; Lacks Nutrition & Variety Compared To Other States

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Maharashtra’s Midday Meal Serves Dal Khichdi Everyday; Lacks Nutrition & Variety Compared To Other States

₹5.45 or ₹8.17 is how much Maharashtra spends on midday meals for students who are less fortunate. The children in Maharashtra only get dal khichdi every day as their midday meal. The noon meal system (MDM) in the state does the bare minimum and makes no real attempt to improve the nutrition program. This is in contrast to states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which provide a variety of options, according to a report by The Times of India. 

Maharashtra’s Midday Meal Serves Dal Khichdi Everyday 

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Last week, The Times of India spent three days visiting schools in Mumbai and a rural neighborhood to see what the kids were getting as a midday meal. They were disappointed to find a mediocre dal-khichdi with nothing extra on the side. Not even a fruit; no vegetables; no eggs; no supplements. The emphasis on variety and nutrition, according to school administrators, was neglected in addition to the monotony of dal-rice and khichdi.

When they visited the school on Tuesday, moong dal khichdi with soybeans and chana was on the menu. There was no flavor other than a spicy kick. No vegetables, curry, or fries were present. A fourth-grade student stated that she preferred to bring roti and sabzi in a tiffin box.

Dal-rice was being served when the Times of India team visited two schools in Thane Rural on Wednesday. In a watery dal with no sign of any vegetables, stray tomato pieces floated; teachers said that spinach was occasionally included.

A cook at a remote Thane school claimed that she ultimately had to use her own funds to purchase veggies. Many students were seen bringing tiffin from their homes.

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Menu Update Expected Soon

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Although districts can alter the cuisine as long as it adheres to nutritional standards, the state has a set menu. The PDS grain given and the self-help group (SHG) available to cook determine the quality.

There are central kitchen agencies in Mumbai. There are differences in the supplies, though. For instance, a BMC school in Govandi claimed to have only once received bananas since the start of the academic year, while another claimed to have never received any. In addition to ladoos made of puffed rice or rajgira, Ajay Wani, the BMC’s deputy education officer, noted that bananas were a choice among seasonal fruits as a supplement. But he claimed that disposing of banana peels was problematic. Schools therefore favored the ladoos.

The Center has set the price of a lunch per child per day for classes 1 through 5 at ₹5.45; for classes 6 through 8, it is ₹8.17. To maintain the scheme, Maharashtra only needs to pay the remaining 40% because the Center provides 60% of the funding.

According to officials, Maharashtra will soon update its midday meal menu. Primary education superintendent Sambhaji Pawar stated that a committee is debating whether to include more things in the meal. Multigrain paratha, two varieties of idlis, and fortified khichdi are being thought about, but a final decision is still pending. (as per The Times of India)

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