ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mid-day Meals in Karnataka

Scientific Evidence in the Face of Social Conservatism

In the context of opposition to the introduction of eggs in the mid-day meals scheme in Karnataka, the article delves into how the nutritional policy in the state has been held hostage by dubious unscientifi c beliefs ascribed to by small but infl uential religious and caste-based groups.

In November 2021, the Karnataka gov­ernment announced the provision of eggs to children in Classes 1–8 in government-run and aided schools, as part of the Aks­hara Dasoha or the mid-day meal (MDM) programme (GoK 2021), in seven malnutrition affected districts of north-east Karnataka, also referred to as the Kalyan Karnataka region.1 Almost immediately, there was strong opposition to this move from religious leaders with threats of a statewide agitation if the move was not rolled back. Observers of Karnataka’s policymaking in nutrition have been unsurprised by this reaction since this was not the first occasion when religious figures weighed in on such policy decisions. This article attempts to examine how caste- and religion-based ideologies influence nutritional policy, specifically the MDM programme, as opposed to ­robust nutritional science and cultural choices of the primary beneficiaries of these programmes. It is important to look at what goes into the plates of children as part of the MDM programme and more importantly, what is kept out and why, especially if denial of these foods is contributing to the nutritional crisis in the state.

Onion and Garlic

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Updated On : 4th Jun, 2022
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