The International Year of Millets has made its presence felt in government offices, food festivals, restaurants and even schools.
A Press Trust of India (PTI) story published today reports, the Mid Day Meal Authority of Uttar Pradesh will have a meeting with the Union government to propose serving millets across 1.42 lakh schools in the state as part of their mid-day meals menu. There are no fixed dates for the meeting as yet. The story quotes Vijay Kiran Anand, Director General School Education of Uttar Pradesh as saying, “We will soon have a meeting with Union government officials regarding the introduction of millets in mid-day meals.” The state’s agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi has also announced similar plans. To ensure the success of this plan, the state government has urged teachers to spread awareness about the benefits of consuming millets among students.
These meals are provided to students from classes 1 to 8. As per the proposal, they will served chapatis and khichdi made of bajra grains and flour. After Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh is one of the largest producers of bajra in the country. PTI reports that the Mid Day Meal Authority has to source about 62,000 metric tonnes of bajra to implement this plan, and adds, “Currently, wheat or rice-based dishes are served with vegetables or proteins to children six days a week.”
The UP government shared a proposal to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to provide millets for mid-day meals. The PTI story notes, “If the proposal is cleared by the Union government and the required quantity is procured, the plan will be put into effect soon after the summer vacations, education department officials said. As of now, the total budget for mid-day meals in Uttar Pradesh is around ₹3,000 crore. The Union government bears 60 per cent of the cost and the rest is borne by the state.”