Processed food for Mid Day Meal?
MEDIA REPORTS show that the government is in talks with PepsiCo to supply processed food for the Mid Day Meal scheme. The reports followed a meeting between Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister for food and processing industries, and PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi. It has been a contentious issue since 2008 when such ideas were floated for the first time. Siraj Hussain, secretary in the ministry of food and processing industries, however, stated that no government official attended this meeting. Though the minister denied having such a meeting, officers close to her admitted it off the record. They say a meeting was held to discuss plans to provide processed food under the Mid Day Meal scheme. Under the scheme, the government of India has allocated ` 13,200 crore budget this year to provide lunch to 110 million schoolchildren. The schools cook food according to local taste and it includes rice, chapati, pulses, eggs and vegetables.