The Chhattisgarh government is planning to serve eggs to children under the mid-day meal scheme in pockets endowed with rich natural resources in the state.
For executing the plan, the government is exploring the option to use the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund. The areas where children are suffering from malnutrition will get priority. Initially, children will get eggs twice a week, state government officials said. The number of days will go up once the supply of eggs increases.
Children who don't eat egg will be served a protein-rich diet. Apart from soya, other nutritious items will also be included in the menu. To meet the demand, the state government will promote poultry farming in villages. Besides enhancing supply of eggs, the plan would also generate employment in villages.
The state government had earlier sent a proposal to the Centre urging it to release Rs 40 crore for implementing the scheme. “The Centre, however, did not accept the proposal; propelling the state authorities to explore the option of using DMF fund,” officials said, adding that the departments concerned were giving final shape to the proposal and that the scheme was likely to be implemented in the current academic session.
The Bhupesh Baghel government is taking measures to ensure effective utilisation of DMF fund. Chhattisgarh collects approximately Rs 3000 crore in the DMF. The governing body of the DMF in the state has been dissolved and the district’s in-charge minister has been made the head of the committee. Earlier, the dictict Collector had the power to decide on how to use the fund.
The previous BJP government in Chhattisgarh has been charged of misusing the DMF funds by using it to built gardens, buildings, roads and libraries in various districts, besides developing infrastructure including rail lines in the urban areas. The DMF was set up in March 2015 to work for the interest of citizens living in areas affected by mining-related activities.