New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Tuesday called for integration of DRDO's 'Aahaar' project with Mid-Day Meal and Integrated Child Development Scheme for enhancing child nutrition in the country.

A Defence Research and Development Orgnisation's (DRDO) project, 'Aahaar',has developed high shelf life dal and roti packs to cater to the needs of the ‘Aam Aadmi’, which can be used during long journeys, nutritional feeding, catering programmes and other similar civilian applications.

"This 'Aahaar' project under which self-help groups have been engaged, in my view, can be integrated with schemes like Mid Day Meal and Integrated Child Development Scheme," Ahluwalia said while launching the project here.

He said as women in rural areas get engaged in large numbers in farming activities, rural India is bound to generate local demand for this dal and roti packs with high shelf life.

The involvement of women self-help groups in the formation of small production units using DRDO food technologies would go a long way in enhancing livelihoods of the rural community, he added.

Under the FICCI-DRDO Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialization (ATAC) Programme, the DRDO, BASIX, a Social Enterprise Group, and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have come together to collaborate on long-term basis to develop and execute viable and scalable models for commercialization of the technologies developed by DRDO with the specific intent of developing and enhancing livelihoods.

The three partners will identify and commercialize sub-set of technologies, products and processes developed by the DRDO focussing on the base of the pyramid as both producers and consumers and thereby improving the lives of the disadvantaged and creating livelihoods for them.

Initially, this collaboration will focus on the food technologies developed by Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), formed under the aegis of DRDO.

The aim of the project is to build women-oriented enterprises using food technologies of DFRL. The first pilot under this collaboration is the project ‘Aahaar’ that encompasses a set of technologies and products including ready-to eat Roti, and two variants in dal instant Palak Dal with Masala Channa curry mix.

BASIX will play the lead execution role in bringing together all aspects of this project and conduct the commercialization pilot.