National Dairy Development Board along with milk cooperatives will set up a foundation to facilitate supply of free milk to underprivileged school children and has invited corporates to fund the programme.
“A new foundation named ‘NDDB Foundation for Nutrition’ will be registered for this purpose and it will work with milk cooperatives to provide milk to school going children,” NDDB Chairman T Nandakumar told PTI.
He added that the idea is to start the concept of ‘gift milk’, where corporates can start providing milk to underprivileged children as a part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programme.
“We will give preference to schools in poorer areas of the country. The program will provide a transparent electronic platform to connect people who want to participate as donors in the initiative,” Nandakumar said.
The NDDB Chairman noted that undernourishment remains a major concern in India, earning the country the embarrassing distinction of launching a successful Mars mission but failing to alleviate undernourishment concerns.
He said NDDB will use the educational infrastructure to help target this concern by adding good quality and safe milk to the buckets of meal for school children.
According to World Bank estimates, India ranks high in the list of nations where children are suffering from malnutrition, with under-nutrition indices at par with the sub-Saharan states of Africa.
Addressing the inaugural session of the India Health and Wellness Summit here, S Nagarajan, Managing Director, Mother Dairy said using milk, pulses and fruits for providing fortification nutrients like vitamins and minerals is a viable solution to address nutrition concerns of the country.
He added that Mother Dairy is already supplying milk fortified with vitamin A in Delhi.
Aparajita Ramakrishnan of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said that of the 1.3 million under-five deaths in India, half can be attributed to some form of nutritional deficiency.