Tough egg to crack
THE WEEK|December 06, 2020
Nutritionists want Madhya Pradesh to keep politics out of the debate on including eggs in the state’s nutrition scheme
SRAVANI SARKAR

Imarti Devi, Madhya Pradesh’s women and child development (WCD) minister, is known for her straight albeit rustic way of speaking. A strong advocate of serving eggs to children in anganwadis, Devi, on September 2, reiterated her desire to make it happen in her state.

But weeks later, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan nullified his colleague's stand, saying, Baccho ke liye andey nahi, doodh (Milk, not eggs, for children). Devi softened her stance. The three-time MLA told THE WEEK that milk was the best option. Her determination to serve eggs lasted all of two weeks. The chief minister and I have the same objective— to eradicate malnutrition from Madhya Pradesh, said Devi.

Facing a sensitive political situation, Devi could not afford to cross swords with Chouhan. In his earlier stints as chief minister, Chouhan, a strict vegetarian, refused the inclusion of eggs in anganwadi menus when it was brought up in 2009 and 2015. Food rights activists have been left dejected after the recent developments dashed their hopes that children in malnutrition-ravaged Madhya Pradesh would finally get 'superfood' eggs. Politics, they say, has prevailed once again.

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