State govt's decision to provide eggs to school children sparks debate


Bengaluru, Dec 5 (IANS): The Karnataka government has begun distribution of eggs to school children in seven districts of the state where the malnourishment indicator is alarming from December 1. The decision has angered a section of society who are demanding that eggs shouldnt be distributed inside schools as it encourages discrimination among school going children.

Another section supporting egg supplements to school children claims that this project should not stop as protein supplement is badly needed by the students. They say children who have easier access to better nutrition have better education outcomes.

The BJP-JD (S) coalition government in 2007, then headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy, had rolled back its project of distributing eggs to school children, succumbing to pressure from religious groups. However, it is to be seen how the BJP government responds to the issue now.

Education Minister B. C. Nagesh told IANS that the scheme has been implemented with people opposing and favouring it. "There is no substitution for egg as such. There is soyabean, but children won't eat it. The project has been implemented with an intention to address malnutrition among children," he stated.

From December 1, the Karnataka government has started providing boiled eggs and bananas to children studying in government aided schools, aged between six and 15 years and suffering from malnutrition, anaemia and deficiency of proteins.

As many as 14,44,322 students studying in the first standard to the eighth standard in Bidar, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Koppal, Ballary and Vijayapura districts would be the beneficiaries. The programme will end in March 2022.

Yadgir district has 74 per cent of students suffering from malnutrition and anaemia. Kalaburagi (72.4 per cent), Ballary (72.3 per cent), Koppal (70.7 per cent), Raichur (70.6 per cent), Bidar (69.1 per cent) and 68 per cent of students in Vijayapura were found to be malnourished.

However, the move by the government is facing stiff opposition. Channa Basavananda Swamiji, National President of Lingayat Dharma Mahasabha, has demanded a rollback of the decision. "There is uniformity among school-going children in terms of dress code, syllabus. There shouldn't be discrimination in terms of food. The government should provide food which is acceptable to all," he said.

"We are discussing a future course of action considering the prevailing Covid situation in the state, and a decision will be taken. Fifteen seers are gathered to discuss the issue," he stated.

Niranjan Aradhya, a development educationist and a former faculty of National Law School of India University, described the opposition to providing eggs to students as a ploy to divide the country based on food. "The government shouldn't succumb to religious threats. The scheme has to be extended to the whole of Karnataka. Eggs have to be given to small children going to anganwadis and students from class one to 10 have to get eggs," he said.

"I don't know why religious seers are getting into it. According to the National Family Health Survey 5th round (2019), in Karnataka, most children are not reaching their ideal height and weight, with stunting (less height for age) of 35.4 per cent, underweight (less weight for age) of 32.9 per cent even before starting their school life at 6 years, and this is more so in children from vulnerable communities," he explained.

When asked how important it is to provide eggs to students in the region, Yadgir District Commissioner Dr Ragapriya R said, "We have seen over the course of three to four months of continuous monitoring, that the children who are being given the nutritional supplement and eggs tend to improve their height, weight and circumference of upper hand, all these parameters do improve."

"In my district (Yadgir) I have not received a single objection so far. No one has come to our office with such a demand."

Providing eggs to students will help. Indian children have the least height in the whole world. One of the biggest reasons is high malnourishment rates. If you give protein automatically the height and weight of the children is going to increase. Even if the children who are getting good nutrition at home are given a supplement of one egg per day definitely their nutritional status improves. Usually better nutritional levels are associated with better learning outcomes, she said.

Basavaraj Dhanur, National President of Basava Dal, stated that they are not opposing eggs for students. "We are only requesting not to distribute them in schools. Let them deliver it to the homes of students or make other arrangements," he said.

Mahaling Swamy Chatnalli of Rastreeya Basava Dal said that Jain, Brahmin and Lingayat community leaders had staged a protest before then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's residence opposing distribution of eggs at school in 2007. The decision was reversed. "It hurts religious sentiments. It has to be revoked," he added."

Neighbouring Tamil Nadu introduced eggs with midday meals 50 years ago during the tenure of then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran. The Women and Child Welfare department has been providing eggs to malnourished children for many years. The supply of protein in the form of eggs and pulses is seen as crucial during the Covid pandemic as the virus affects those with less immunity.

 

 

 

  

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Comment on this article

  • Dr Kusuma Kumari Gunji MBBS DGO DNB, Nellore Kodyadka

    Mon, Dec 06 2021

    Providing eggs is a good idea as that would increase intake of good proteins. I feel its a good move. Children are vegetarians may be given other items instead of egg I am sure everyone will accept this extremely good idea to feed children

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alphy, Mumbai

    Mon, Dec 06 2021

    Providing nutrition by supplying boiled eggs to poor student is really a good initiative. What I am worried about is, if 100 eggs are approved to supply to a class, wondering how many will really reach that class and how many goes to the ever hungry politician's corrupt ever hungry tummy? All these schemes are worthwhile if allotted money is spent 100% on that initiative rather than in the ratio of 20% to poor student and 80% to corrupt officials.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shiv k, Bangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    sunday. hoya. monday. Roz ... khao. ande The ad was a big hit of NECC .. national egg ... even vegetarian started eating especially boiled eggs .. Now all anti constitutional advisors .. They Don’t follow.. basic .. Right to life Right to eat .. Religion Etc etc Live and let live is well advised ...

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Brian, Mlore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    If you are distributing eggs please give natural eggs. Not synthetic or hormone injected ones.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bona, Mumbai

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Milk is vegetarian which is given by red meat animal, egg is non veg from white meat bird. What type of people r u, opposing egg protein for children?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Raman, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Many are vegetarian at home. But outside strict NON vegetarian...... Favourites outside are ...are Kane fry .. beef pakodas ..etc ..etc etc lighter side .... ——- In any case 70 % as per survey are Non vegetarian in India ... All India surveys done on food habits .. For many marginalised low cost protein is provided by animal meat ..beef etc ... Eggs good source of protein .... In India ..now .. Children are growing into adults .. Stunted .. malnourished.. so many deficiencies ...no balanced diet ... Which ensures no resistance /no immunity to diseases etc ..... —- A very clever societal complex is created ..that if you eat non veg you are impure .. not practising right values etc .. (May advertise for rentals .. veg only ..) But same critics of non veg ..go abroad or privately ..and make merry

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalorean, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    We Indians will never change even in the next 1000 years. We will remain primitive for ever and ever.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anil, MP

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    SOME CHADDIS BLAME AND LAUGH AT MUSLIMS CLAIMING THEIR STONE AGE CULT.... CHADDIS NOW WHAT YOU SAY ABOUT UR OWN RELIGION ??????

    DisAgree [6] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • David Pais, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    now da egg in India is vegetarian. after a decade chicken also will become vegetarian.

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ram Charan, Mangaluru

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    It is a clever ploy by those so called Group to deprive those poor students correcting the deficiency so that these children continue to remain malnourished and intellectually poor due to micronutrients deficiency, which will make this rich class to continue to dominate over the poor for yet another generation.

    DisAgree Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • k b r, Mangala Uru

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    some people have lot of jealousy and against any good things which backward/non-vegetarian sections do / eat... garlic, onion, mushroom, eggs, meat... all these medical science and age old wisdom says are good for health... but some people object to other people eating the same... is it not jealousy...

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • k b r, Mangala Uru

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    "It hurts religious sentiments. It has to be revoked," he added." -- children of poor families eating nutritious diet is hurting religious sentiments...?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Mon, Dec 06 2021

    K.b.r mangalauru,when one thinks hurts religious sentments they need not eat .But only one request ,dont give rotten eggs ,fresh ones to hotel .why dont they give Pulses to end the discussion?Every eggs also I dont support.God knows where they stored and rats ,or kept in too warm place for long period ,eggs get spoiled.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Monty Dotor, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    All religions preach love and peace.Mahatma Gandhiji,John Kellogg,President APJ Abdul Kalam , Pythagoras,Albert Einstein,Socrates ,Leo Tolstoy (brains)were vegetarians,Mike Tyson(strength) , Amir Khan,Nathalie Portman,Olivia Wilde,(beauty) Russel Brand ,Bill Clinton are vegetarians. Out of 10 richest Indians 8-9 are vegetarians.Many Christians prefer vegetarian food during Lent.All veg food is Halaal all non veg is not.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • habib, mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    But Vegetarian kids should get fruits instead of egg .

    DisAgree [5] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anthony, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Providing eggs to children is a good move by state government

    DisAgree Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • real kujuma, kodial

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    let them provide pulikoddel for vegetarians..and beef chilli for non vegetarians..no problem...

    DisAgree [13] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bharath Raj, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Please give to poor students let them be healthy ........it is not compulsory........to eat they can be exchanged with someone not a big issue.......

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bobby, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Better to give pure vegetarian protein rich food to children. Non vegetarians donot mind vegetarian food, but pure vegetarians will not want to eat eggs.

    DisAgree [28] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    If you are not eating eggs, why the others can not eat?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bobby, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    There should not be any compulsion regarding food, let those who want to eat eggs serve them eggs, those who are pure veg give them pure veg...But if there is a mixup, ( many children eat from each other's plates) only pure veg will suffer, to bring uniformity better to serve protein rich veg food to all students.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand Poojary, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    Why this 10 percent vegetarian lobby is against Eggs. This lobby is sucessful in deviding people on caste basis. This same lobby ruling the majority non veg food eaters of country. Hope the non vegetarians will realize the plot to make them all anaemic.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [30] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Raheja Waterfront

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    These Eggs look Vegetarian ...

    DisAgree [5] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Cynthia, Dk

    Sun, Dec 05 2021

    These eggs look like vegetarian.....outside. yello part is non vegetarian.....So consume eggs everyday.....

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Mon, Dec 06 2021

    a little advice: Don't overdo it. There is cholesterol in the yellow (yolk) part of the egg, and health officials advise that this is bad for the heart if eaten every day. They recommend twice, at the maximum thrice, a week. yolk s also fa(r)ty stuff; so don't go too close to egg eaters.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse


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