Karnataka resumes free milk distribution to boost immunity

Karnataka decided to resume free distribution of milk powder- Ksheera Bhagya- temporarily to school children enrolled in all government schools across the state aimed at boosting their immunity levels.

According to the circular issued by the government on Friday late night, this free distribution of milk scheme- Ksheera Bhagya- would be resumed temporarily.

“Each school student from class 1 to 10 will receive a supply of free 500 gm milk powder for two months, June and July,” the circular stated.

The Karnataka government’s decision to resume milk supply assumes significance in the backdrop of several child activists, NGOs, working with slums, health experts besides Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah, who had launched this scheme in 2013, had been demanding to resume supply of milk to school children on multiple occasions and forums.

Owing to logistical challenges and other issues, Karnataka had stopped supplying free milk to schools as schools had closed down physically due to outbreak of pandemic in March 2020.

The circular stated that the scheme is targeted towards covering 56,64,873 children studying in Class 1 to Class 10 in around 51,000 government schools.

The state government had already commenced its milk powder distribution to children aged below 6 years through its vast network of Anganwadis. Around 39 lakh children are enrolled in around 64,000 Anganwadis in the state.

Just four days ago on July 15, Karnataka women and child welfare minister, Shashikala Jolle after reviewing the child nutrition programme had told reporters that there are around 4.47 lakh malnourished children in the state and among these 7,751 children are severely malnourished.

“Currently our focus is on streamlining and improving the tackling of malnourishment among these children as malnourishment programmes have been severely affected due to prolonged lockdowns and severe restrictions of transport movement. We are trying to address these issues case by case basis,” she had said.

“Malnutrition is major issue for the children from the economically backward sections, hence, the government must take steps to resume free distribution of milk before third Covid wave hits the state,” Siddaramaiah had said in a letter to the CM.

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