A social audit and evaluation by a third party were also recommended for the meal scheme that should be conducted annually for each district and the reports be published on state portals.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended to state governments and the Ministry of Women and Child Development to introduce eggs and milk as part of the meal for the children enrolled in mid-day meal scheme and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in all states, reported the Indian Express. This came during a conference organised by the NHRC on the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 on Friday. The NHRC has stressed on the fact that food being served under the mid-day meal scheme and ICDS, do not guarantee the protein intake as envisaged, as reported by the Indian Express. Therefore, the Commission, among others recommendation, also suggested to introduce eggs and milk as part of the meal.
Besides pregnant and lactating women, ICDS aims at providing supplementary nutrition through anganwadi centres to children aged below 6 years. The Commission also said that no child should be deprived of the meal because of non-linking of Aadhaar. As far as ICDS scheme is concerned, it has been recommended that adequate food testing facilities be created preferably at the district level by all states through the public health department, universities and colleges, reported the Indian Express.
A social audit and evaluation by a third party were also recommended for the meal scheme that should be conducted annually for each district and the reports be published on state portals. Moreover, experts said cash transfers instead of hot cooked meals may be counterproductive and must not be encouraged as cash can be used for other expenditure.
NHRC chairperson Justice H L Dattu was quoted as saying, “Malnutrition continues to haunt India despite economic growth and these are the two biggest nutrition programmes. We would like to know from the state governments whether they have strictly followed Supreme Court orders banning contractors in supplying nutrition under ICDS? Have they made adequate funds available for full implementation of the Maternity Benefit Scheme?”