NEW DELHI: Majority of the states have refused the Centre’s proposal to include milk in the Mid Day Meal scheme aimed at improving the nutritional status of primary and upper primary schoolchildren.
Officials in the Union Human Resources Development Ministry told Express that most states, in response to a letter sent last month, had expressed inability to expand the scheme citing fund crunch.
“The states are not against the idea in principal but are saying that they do not have the resources to provide milk in Mid Day Meal and we, too, are not in a position to help them financially for this,” a senior official in the school education and literacy department said.
Last December, aiming to double farmers’ income by 2022, the Union Agriculture Ministry had asked the states to boost consumption by distributing milk under various schemes like Mid Day Meal.By official estimates, the country has a surplus of 3,00,000 tonnes of milk powder. This has led dairies and other bulk buyers to cut liquid milk purchase, a reason why its price in several parts of Maharashtra fell by `10-15 per litre less than last year, sparking farmers’ protests in many parts.
Government figures show that around 70 per cent of the 165 million tonnes of milk produced in India in a year is consumed in liquid form, while the rest is processed into products such as cheese, butter and skimmed milk powder.
Rajasthan, Haryana children get milk
At present only a few states like Rajasthan and Haryana provide milk to children in select districts. The Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan had launched Annapurna Doodh Yojana in July this year under which 200 ml milk is provided to every primary and upper primary school student twice a week.