India's Free Lunch
Wednesday, 2 April, 2008
INDIA'S FREE LUNCH
This week Amos Roberts travels to India's Bangalore and reports on an inspiring story of how the nation is feeding almost 150-million school children - many of whom would otherwise go without lunch.
Following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in 2001, India’s state governments were ordered to provide free meals for all primary school children aged 10 and under.
Have Your Say: What can western countries learn from India's school lunch initiative?
Last year, the scheme was expanded to include children up to the age of 13 and now some states have even gone further, providing meals for children up to year 10.
Prior to the free lunch program, parents living below the poverty line often sent their children to work and as a result, about one million kids were out of school.
One of the program administrators tells Roberts that the initiative has seen a significant spike in school attendance in all grades.
While the some schools take responsibility for providing the food, others schools handover the job to the Hare Krishna movement, which provides meals for 820,000 children every day.
So while Western governments and celebrity chefs agonise over how to improve nutrition for children, India has actually gone ahead and done something about it.