Karnataka: Fish in Midday meals? Might help with protein intake & local economy, experts opine 

Rishikesh Kashyap, managing director of the National Federation of Fishers Cooperatives, said the Telangana proposal includes several plans to encourage the business of fishermen in the state
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

As the Telangana government mulls whether to add fish curry to the Midday Meal Scheme (MMS) in their state, the same question is being raised in Karnataka, especially in the coastal region, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

While the Karnataka government recently expanded the distribution of eggs to twice a week, the Telangana government is mulling over a proposal submitted by the Telangana State Fishermen Cooperative Federation. Experts are of the view that protein from fish could benefit schoolchildren, and also ensure that children are eating food that is available locally.

"As per the Food Security Act, protein is a necessary part of a child's diet. Without it, they will only be eating carbs and fats. In terms of hurting sentiments, one has a choice to eat what one wants. There should be sensitisation among children at an early age to show they can eat whatever they want. Children should also be given this option in schools. In coastal areas like Mangaluru or Udupi, fish is part of the daily diet, it's cost-effective and benefits fishermen as well," Development Educationist Dr VP Niranjanaradhya told The New Indian Express.

Dr Sylvia Karpagam, public health doctor and researcher, echoed the opinion that it would help the local economy. “There are corporations already pushing for packaged foods. Encouraging the use of local fish will help local fishermen and also boost the economy while being sustainable. Introducing it in schools in coastal regions can also be beneficial, as well as in areas where communities eat dry fish as part of their diet. However, while Telangana is doing this, Karnataka was struggling to include eggs in midday meals until very recently. Even with Indira Canteens, they had done the same and have now backed out because of criticism,” she told TNIE.

Rishikesh Kashyap, managing director of the National Federation of Fishers Cooperatives, said the Telangana proposal includes several plans to encourage the business of fishermen in the state, including introducing fish curry in midday meals. "Similar proposals are being considered in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states. Currently, the Karnataka government hasn't done the same, but with the government's tie-up with local fishermen, it would be very easy to implement and expand the business of fishermen in the state," he said.

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