The Tamil Nadu government has introduced eggs as part of the midday meal scheme to reduce iron deficiency.
The 2008 India State Hunger Index calculated the hunger levels of 17 major states in India, comprising of 95% of the population. India has the largest food insecure population in the world, with more than 200 million people who are hungry. There isn’t a single state which doesn’t have at least a ‘serious’ level of hunger, while some states like Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have ‘alarming’ levels. The reasons behind these unforgiving statistics are primarily child malnutrition and undernourishment.
In the context of these dark findings, Mani, our Community Correspondent from Tamil Nadu wanted to share the fact that there have been some measures taken to improve child nutrition in his state. As part of the Midday Meal Scheme, which was revised in 2004 to provide all children studying in Classes 1-5 in government schools with free food, Tamil Nadu now includes an egg with the standard rice and vegetable curry. Incredibly high levels of aneamia and iron deficiency in the state led the government to be the first in the country to introduce this addition to the midday meal.
The children in the school depicted in Mani’s film are mostly from very poor families in the slums. Mani is able to empathise with them because he shares this background, and says that when he was younger they didn’t have the midday meal scheme and a lot of children would go hungry. Now, one of the main reasons they go to school is this meal.