Saturday, Jan 22, 2022
Outlook.com
government: nutrition

Cook Is In

Renuka loses last move on packaged foods

Cook Is In
Narendra Bisht
Cook Is In
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Renuka then approached the Supreme Court to give legal teeth to her February 24 letter. Virtually no time was given to the special food commissioners of the Supreme Court to study the order of the minister. On April 1, they put their concerns in writing. "The ministry is seeking to allow a backdoor entry of contractors and middlemen into the supplementary nutrition programme by suggesting the introduction of micro-nutrient fortified food obviously through contractors, although this is not specifically stated in the letter," they said in their response.

The court on April 22, while appreciating the efforts of the government in setting up norms for tackling malnutrition, reiterated that contractors should be kept out. In doing so, the court upheld its 2004 and 2006 orders. It states: "...the contractors shall not be used for supply of nutrition in anganwadis and preferably ICDS funds shall be spent by making use of village communities, self-help groups and mahila mandals for buying of grains and preparation of meals." The order effectively made way for the introduction of hot cooked meals across the country provided by mahila mandals, self-help groups and panchayats in various combinations of rice, pulses, oil, eggs, peanuts, green gram, milk, jaggery, soya bean, vegetables, lentil and other locally grown food rich in micronutrients. Says a senior official in the ministry: "Any talk of ready-to-eat involves contractors. To that extent, the court has checked the minister in her tracks."

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