Eggs are considered as the cheapest and readily available source of protein in India. But Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya pradesh decided not to allow distribution of eggs to the tribal students. To control malnutrition among the tribal children of Mandla, Alrajpur and Hoshangabad, the Department of Women and Child Development proposed to serve boiled eggs in school mid-day-meal programme and along with the ready-to-eat breakfast in Anganwadis. But Chief Minister had better options to suggest. He decided to replace eggs with fruits and vegetables.
According to reports, 52% of the children in Madhya pradesh are malnourished. And India tops in the number of malnourished people in the world with a count of 194.6 million. The number has grown in the last five years to the tune of 2.6%.
National Family Health Survey and UNICEF Reports found that 46% of pre-school children and 30% of adults in India suffer from moderate and severe grades of protein-calorie malnutrition as judged by anthropometric indicators. The FAO figures place India on top of the list of countries with
malnourished people. One out of every four malnourished person in the world is reported to be an Indian.
The nutritional value of eggs makes it the natural choice of food that contains quality protein, fat, all the required vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants as Lutein and Zeaxanthin. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended consumption of 180 eggs per year for every individual but the per capita consumption of eggs in India is just 55 in an entire year.
India has become the world`s 2nd largest poultry market. India produces 61 million tonnes or 3.6 percent of global egg production. The egg production grows at 5-8% annually.
It is feared that being a strict vegetarian, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is thrusting his convictions to the hapless children of the state. Some reports say that the Chief Minister was heeding to the pressure of organizations promoting vegetarianism. The Jain community of Madhya pradesh is in the fore front of such organizations. They are reported to be happy over the decision of the Chief Minister and are planning to felicitate him for that. But many organizations including ‘Right to Food’ have come out openly against the decision of Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
If it was beef in Maharashtra, now it is eggs in Madhya pradesh that invited the ire of the rulers. Be it the religious sentiments or political ambitions, no one should mess up with the severe malnutrition problem of the country or food habits of the masses. And it will be worth watching the plans of the Government of Madhya pradesh in celebrating the ‘World Egg Day’ that falls on Friday, 9th of October this year.