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Govt mulls centralised kitchen to better midday meal's quality

New Delhi: Aiming to improve the quality of foods served to students under the Mid-day Meal scheme, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is mulling to establish centralised kitchens across the country. According an HRD official, the move has been initiated after the success of its pilot project which was started in some districts of Karnataka.
As per the HRD Ministry's plan, the government would roll out the cloud kitchen services by roping in some non-government organisations (NGOs), experienced in running such kitchens. The government had run the pilot project with the NGOs named Akshaya Patra and Nandi Foundation.
"Complaints about feeding substandard foods to school going kids under the mid-day meal have become a routine affair. It's really challenging job for implementing agency to keep a tab on quality of foods cooked school level," the official said. Pinning hope on the proposed initiative, the official said, "The move to establish centralised kitchens would help in addressing quality issue as foods would be cooked at one or two base kitchens and then it would be transported to different schools."
Under the Midday Meal Scheme, which was designed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide, over 11 crore school-going children are being served foods in over 10 lakh schools across the country.
The scheme, which is run both Centrally and state-funded, is run by state governments. Some of the states have even outsourced the operation of scheme to NGOs expertise in running centralised kitchens. The HRD ministry has even modified the mid-day meal scheme norms to allow the operation of kitchens by NGOs.
The HRD officials believe that after the rollout of the centralised kitchens plan, it would be convenient for the government agencies to monitor the quality of foods and students would get nutritious foods.
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