Eggs will not be part of the meals served at anganwadi centres in Madhya Pradesh with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a vegetarian himself, rejecting a proposal in this regard.
"Not eggs, but milk will be made available to children and pregnant women at the anganwadi centres," Chouhan told a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party workers over the weekend.
In April this year, State Women and Child Development Department Principal Secretary J N Kansotia had asked officers in Alirajpur, Mandla and Hoshangabad districts to send proposals regarding the introduction of egg curry or boiled eggs in anganwadi meals on experimental basis.
His direction came after some district officers suggested to him that since eggs are nutritious and protein-rich, they should be given to children at least twice a week to help tackle the problem of malnourishment.
Talking to PTI on Monday about the issue, Women and Child Development Minister Maya Singh said, "Some people did suggest about serving eggs, but there was no consensus over it at the meeting."
The Jain community in the state has been pushing for non-inclusion of eggs in the anganwadi meal. A delegation of the community members has made a demand to this effect to the state government.
However, activist Sachin Jain, associated with Right to Food Campaign, said, "There is no harm to introduce eggs consumption in anganwadi menu. Eggs have rich nutrition value needed for children to grow in the malnourished tribal and dalit dominated districts.”
“In MP, 65 per cent people are non-vegetarians. One or two communities, which are not malnourished, but are well-off and have nothing to do with anganwadi meals, are opposing the move,” he added.
In September 2010 as well, Chouhan had rejected a proposal for introduction of eggs.
When a Jain delegation had met Chouhan in 2010 over this issue, Chouhan had assured them that eggs would not become a part of anganwadi meals as long as he was at the helm of affairs.
“What is the need for eggs in angandwadis? As long I am the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, eggs will not be introduced. In any case, the human body is meant to consume vegetarian food, which had everything the human body requires,” he said.