New Delhi: With an aim to educate cooks under the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme about food's nutritional and hygienic value, the Tourism Ministry has decided to impart training to them in this regard to enhance the scheme's effectiveness.

"Our Ministry will upgrade the cooking skills of almost 25 lakh cooks engaged with the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in a phased manner. With this initiative we will be able to provide better quality and more nutritious food to the school children and it will also increase the employability of the cooks," Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi said.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme is the world's largest noon meal programme and currently 24.58 lakh cook-cum-helpers are employed under it. "The cooked food needs to be delivered with standards that are universally acceptable. The workforce managing the scheme, especially the cooks and helpers must, therefore, be informed of cooking varieties and methods, of the nutritional aspects of a meal and of the hygiene that must attend the entire delivery chain," a senior Tourism Ministry official said.

The HRD Ministry had sought the support of Tourism Ministry in arranging the training of master cooks engaged in the MDMS. At present 10.52 crore children are being served mid-day meals in 12.18 lakh schools on a daily basis. The training will be delivered by the Institutes of Hotel Management and the Food Craft Institutes designated by Tourism Ministry.

The training module for the cooks will be a 10-day course which will offer methods of cooking for retaining the nutritive value of cooking ingredients, awareness regarding issues of malnutrition and the nutrition required in food. The course will also teach communication skills, importance of washing hands and general health and hygienic practices among others.

The institutes will be paid at a rate of Rs 6,037 per trainee by the Tourism Ministry and no application fee will be charged from the trainees. "The request of HRD Ministry was taken as an important opportunity for Tourism Ministry to get associated with a programme of massive dimensions and to contribute to a scheme that intends to bring up a better and healthier India, which will eventually help in building a positive image of India overseas," said the official.

HRD Ministry is expected to ensure that persons nominated for the training have at least studied till 8th standard. Efforts, however, will be to pick those who could with training, serve as trainers for others.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk