Pro­cessed food for Mid Day Meal?

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

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.

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