Karnataka government directs Akshaya Patra Foundation to include onion and garlic in menu; stirs debate

The officials handling the mid-day meal project in the state have directed the foundation to follow the menu prescribed by the state.

Published: 05th December 2018 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2018 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

mid day meals

Representational Image. | File Photo

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Akshaya Patra Foundation, one of the largest suppliers of mid-day meals in Karnataka, is in a spot over the state government directing it to include onion and garlic in their menu — something they avoid due to their principle of providing only Satvik food which does not include these two in their recipes. The Akshaya Patra Foundation provides meals to 4.43 lakh schoolchildren in the state.

The officials handling the mid-day meal project in the state have directed the foundation to follow the menu prescribed by the state. But the foundation has not signed the annual memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 2018-19 with the state government, preferring to continue supplying Satvik food.M R Maruti, Joint Director, Mid-day meal scheme, said the Akshaya Patra Foundation had not signed the MoU file.
“Recently we issued directions to Akshaya Patra Foundation to include garlic and onion in their menu at least for one day,” he said.

In an official release, Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “We would like to clarify that our freshly cooked meals are in compliance with the nutrition norms prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and government of Karnataka.”

M R Maruti, Joint Director, Mid-day meal scheme, said, “Including garlic and onion not just adds nutrition, but also improves the taste. Considering this, we asked the foundation to follow the state menu, but they have not yet replied to our letter.”

According to officials from the state department of primary and secondary education who are working for the mid-day meal scheme, except Akshaya Patra Foundation, all other NGOs and trusts associated with the scheme are following the menu chart given by the state government.

The communication by the mid-day meal officials to the foundation was issued following directions from Food Commission of Karnataka asking the department of primary and secondary education to communicate to Akshaya Patra Foundation to follow the state menu.

In an official release, Akshaya Patra Foundation said: “We would like to clarify that our freshly cooked meals are in compliance with the nutrition norms prescribed by the ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and government of Karnataka. It is our constant endeavour to contribute to the government’s effort in promoting good health and nutrition amongst children which is essential for their holistic growth and development. Akshaya Patra is committed to serve quality, hygienic and nutritious food to schoolchildren every day and implement Akshara Dasoha, the flagship mid-day meal programme of government of Karnataka.”

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Comments(8)

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  • Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

    The government should not have given the contract to Akshaya patra in the first place. Majority of children who access government schools are poor and need all the nutrition they can get - definitely a majority eat eggs and all of them eat garlic and onion. First of all Akshay patra refuse to serve eggs which not only improve nutrition but has also shown to increase school attendance. The MoU for Mid day meals clearly states that no organisation should promote a religious agenda. The government
    1 year ago reply
    • jill

      Let the missionaries spend good amount of money on food for poor children rather than paying folks for conversion. 2- the nutrition value of the food they provide is measured and tested..... so chilll you can get same amounf of nutrition from vegetarian food as well...
      1 year ago reply
  • Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

    The government should not have given the contract to Akshaya patra in the first place. Majority of children who access government schools are poor and need all the nutrition they can get - definitely a majority eat eggs and all of them eat garlic and onion. First of all Akshay patra refuse to serve eggs which not only improve nutrition but has also shown to increase school attendance. The MoU for Mid day meals clearly states that no organisation should promote a religious agenda. The government
    1 year ago reply
  • VinodDesai

    Government should not impose any thing
    1 year ago reply
  • S. Ganu

    Definitely corrupt Congress is looking for opportunity to play stinking politics and who knows big contract for mid-day meals at Exchequers loss and making big money without having responsibility being a coalition. They need to find excuse rather saying Thank you to Akshay Patra for great work they are doing.
    1 year ago reply
  • SS Kumar

    Totally unnecessary controversy. Let the Govt decide on whichever scheme they run. what right do they have to instruct a great Service organsiation
    1 year ago reply
  • Kanagaraj Easwaran

    This move by the JDS and Congress rule in Karnataka is an arrogant move. It is an attempt to impose abrahamic and eurocentric norms on the Vedic Vaishnava tradition. It is impinging on the acharchara of the Vaishnava tradition of ISKCON. The Hindus irrespective of their sampradayas and linguistic background will oppose this anachara and adharma. Kumarasamy Gowda has to pay for his akarma.
    1 year ago reply
  • N Vittal

    This needless controversy appears purely political. Akshaya Patra foundation is being targeted again. This foundation is providing meals voluntarily and from their resources and not as a contractor providing meals. If the govt does not wish to engage this foundation
    1 year ago reply
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