Centre plans to provide fortified wheat flour for mid day meals in Rajasthan

JAIPUR:
The central government is planning to introduce fortified wheat flour in the mid-day meal (MDM) programme to enhance its nutritional value. The mid-day meal is served to 63.5 lakh school children in the state.

According to officials, a meeting to this effect was recently held in Delhi and modalities of introducing this are being worked out. In Rajasthan double fortified salt and fortified oil have already been introduced in the mid-day meal programme. The school authorities have been directed to procure fortified salt and oil from the nearest Annapurna Bhandar.

Fortification, especially of food items like wheat flour, oil and milk are considered to be a good strategy to reduce dietary deficiencies as per capita consumption of wheat, milk and oil is higher than the average consumption in India. Hence, these are good vehicles for fortification.

 

Following the Copenhagen Consensus in 2008, fortification of food was given top priority in fight against malnutrition compared to other alternatives like nutritional supplements and dietary diversification.

 

However, there is some procedural problem in introducing fortified wheat flour in the mid- day meal programme. The wheat and rice supplied for mid-day meal is done under the National Food Safety Scheme. The Food Corporation of India(FDI) supplies wheat and rice to schools directly and they locally process the wheat. Since local fortification of wheat is not a viable option, the government has to find a way to supply fortified wheat flour to the schools instead of wheat.

 

National programme of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (MDMS) is a flagship programme of the Government of India aiming at enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children studying in government, local body and government-aided primary and upper primary schools across the country.

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