Since 2001 all Indian primary schools have provided pupils with a free midday meal. Seven years on truancy rates have been slashed, and child health is soaring. Western governments are taking note.
“Compared to ours, today’s generation is better off,” explains a cook at one school we visited. Vijay Bhaskar agrees, he is the food administrator in Karnataka, and reveals, “the number of children out of school has reduced from 1 million to 70,000.” The scheme has also seen off the junk food industry, as Bhaskar comments, “any person who has seen children eating a hot meal knows that no cookie can substitute.”