Though the children were provided dry rations such as rice, dhal, and eggs during the lockdown period, the authorities say that there was no monitoring mechanism whether the students have benefited and got the required protein and calories as per the government norms.
A senior official from the School Education Department said with the government has already provided noon-meal for the students studying from Class 9 to Class 12, authorities were planning to provide for the rest of the classes on day one of the reopenings of schools, which is from November 1.
"In addition, to get the required protein, eggs will be provided for the students on all the working days," he said adding that noon meal will have fortified rice with nine nutrient contents such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.
The official pointed out that another pilot project of fortified rice with three nutrients such as Iron, Folic, and Vitamin B12 will be implemented.
Stating that a sum of Rs 2,078.70 crore has been allotted for the noon-meal scheme in the state for 2021-2022, he said, "Iron and folic acid tablets and deworming tablets will be distributed to and further, health cards will also be maintained for each beneficiary in convergent with Health Department".
The official also claimed that for each primary level children studying from Classes 1 to 5 will get 557 calories (in Kcl) and 19 grams of protein, which is higher than the Union Government's norms of 450 and 12 respectively.
"Likewise, authorities will also ensure that each student from upper primary level will get 735 calories and 23 grams of protein against the Centre's norms of 700 and 20 respectively," he said.
He said that since Saturday might be a full working day for the students to cover the portions before March, authorities were also discussing providing food for the children on that day to get additional nutrition.
"As a part of the modernization of noon-meal centres, gas connection provisions will be made along with sufficient kitchen devices", he said adding that authorities have already taken steps that all the nutritious meal Centres are certified under international organization for Standardization (ISO)"