The Uttar Pradesh government will introduce ‘Tithi Bhojan’ (community lunch) as a part of the midday meal scheme.
This comes four years after the Union ministry of education approved the guidelines for all states to follow the practice.
The scheme is aimed at ensuring greater community participation and promoting involvement of religious and charitable institutions.
It was first started in Gujarat in 2014, after which the Union ministry of education issued directives for its replication in all states.
The scheme uses community participation to reproduce traditional practice of providing food to large numbers of people on special occasions and festivals.
According to an order issued by special secretary, basic education, Awadhesh Kumar Tiwari, the scheme seeks to involve members of the community to provide nutritious food to children.
“The food should be prepared in the school kitchen and the menu will be fixed by the head teacher and members of the school management committee,” Tiwari said.
The members of the community may voluntarily contribute/sponsor either utensils or food on special occasions/festivals.
Among food items that should not be served include fried food like poori, paratha, pakodi, milk-based items like paneer, kheer and daliya, and junk food like burger, pizza and Maggi.
‘Tithi Bhojan’ is when on a particular ‘tithi’ (date), or special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or festivals, members from the general public provide nutrition packed meals, or additional components to the mid-day meal for children.
People may contribute either a full meal or separate food items in the form of sweets, namkeens, fruits or sprouts.
Tithi Bhojan is not a substitute for a midday meal.
Officials said that during ‘Tithi Bhojan’, food items should be provided according to food habits of children of the region concerned. A combination of cereal, pulse, and vegetables may be provided in case of a full meal.