The Karnataka government has exempted Akshaya Patra Foundation from the rule of including onion in the students’ midday meal under the uniform menu mandated by State Department of Primary and Secondary Education, The Hindu reported.
The order was issued by the Department of Public Instruction and also extended to the non-governmental organisations that are associated with the scheme.
Akshaya Patra provides midday meals to lakhs of students across the State and does not use either garlic or onion in its food, to keep food satvik. Justifying their stand, senior officials at the department said that the NGO’s food was meeting all nutritional values mentioned by both the State and the Union governments.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday (12 November), Commissioner for Public Instruction K G Jagadeesha said a clause in the order stated that if an NGO wished to make any changes in the menu, they were expected to take permission from the government. Informing that “the foundation has already taken permission from the government for its menu”, he said that according to the National Institute of Nutrition, the food provided by Akshaya Patra was as per the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) mandated nutritional guidelines.
According to the MHRD norms, lower primary students should have 450 kcal energy and 12 gm protein with each serving, while it should be 700 kcal with 20 gm protein per serving for upper primary students.
Akshaya Patra serves midday meals to over 1.83 lakh students in 1,212 schools in Bengaluru.