Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in his advocacy for vegetarianism, has taken a stance against a proposal that calls for serving eggs to children as a part of the anganwadi meals.
Anganwadi was started by the central government in 1975 to counter Child hunger and malnutrition. An anganwadi centre also provides basic healthcare in the village.
The vegetarian Chief Minister has now shot down a proposal for kids from tribal areas of Alirajpur, Mandla and Hoshangabad districts to get egg curry or boiled eggs as a part of their anganwadi meals, according to a report by The Indian Express.
The report, citing health experts and activists said that malnutrition is a major concern in tribal areas and having eggs at least two to three times a week, would be a solution to the problem but Chouhan is adamant and has said that eggs will never be served in the State as long he was Chief Minister.
“It has been a sentimental issue with the CM from Day One. Moreover, there are better, more nutritious options available,” the report quoted S K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, as saying.
The Jain community in the State has also been lobbying for eggs to be taken off the menu and have reached out to the CM for the same.
“Do eggs grow on trees? No. Its consumption has several side-effects. When children eat non-vegetarian food, their sensitivity dies,’’ Anil Badkul, spokesperson for the Digambar Jain Mahasamiti , was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
Vegetarian meals have also in the past been imposed in mid-day meals at schools. In fact a Frontline feature earlier this year also reported that Madhya Pradesh excludes eggs from mid-day meal schemes too due to pressure from upeer caste lobbies.
Only vegetarian meals are also not uncommon in Chattisgarh and Rajasthan. Frontline cited the example of a government primary school in Bhawargarh village in Rajasthan’s Baran district which had strictly enforced vegetarian meals as part of the mid-day meal scheme as "Rajasthan is of the new states to have resisted the introduction of eggs in the midday meal scheme bowing to pressure from upper-caste lobbies as well as private contractors who supply the midday meals." Even Karnataka in 2007 under the leadership of BJP had put on hold the proposal to give eggs once a week under the State government’s midday meal scheme due to pressure from Hindu and Jain religious leaders.
Updated Date: Jun 01, 2015 13:16 PM