Students in state-run primary schools across Himachal Pradesh will soon get calorie-rich and varied midday meals.
Until now all the 660,960 primary school children in the state were being served 'khichdi' six times a week and round the year for free. But this has made the menu drab.
"Now the government has chalked out a varied menu which includes rice, lentils, sweetened rice, vegetables and even an occasional serving of dry fruit," said B.M. Nanta, director of the primary education department.
All government primary schools have been provided with the new menu and supplies.
"Not only will the new diet be more varied but also calorie rich. For instance, each child's share was only five grams of lentil in the 'khichdi' earlier. This has now gone up to 20 grams," said Nanta.
"In future we may also include eggs and fruit as part of the midday meal on certain days," he said.
Earlier, Rs.1.76 was being spent on each midday meal. With the new menu, this has gone to over Rs.2.50, he added.
Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest literacy rates in the country at around 80 percent, along with one of the lowest dropout rates.