Doodh Sanjeevani Scheme. It was launched in Vijaynagar Taluka after undergoing a successful pilot run in the neighboring district. The objective of the scheme – curb malnutrition among school going children. For this, every child in the primary education level was provided with a packet of flavored milk which was in turn fortified with vitamins and proteins. The scheme acted as supplementary nutrition provider with Mid Day Meal.The scheme routine involved a truck from the local district level dairy company (Sabar Dairy) supplying the milk packets to the designated schools every day.
As we know every scheme comes with its own baggage. With this one, it was literally a baggage issue. “What about the empty milk packets? How are they to be disposed?” As you can easily predict, it was never thought of in the design of the scheme. Vijaynagar Taluka posed a major challenge as it had no waste disposal mechanism (it does not have one even after all the SBA campaigns). The taluka level administration did not bother. More like they did not have a clue as they themselves did not have a functional toilet or even a single dustbin. Finally the issue was brought to the notice of District Collector. The Collector then took a swift initiative that all the empty milk packets will be collected by the same truck supplying the milk, once in a week. For that the children and the school management had to work together by washing the packets once emptied and drying them up. For once I was appalled by the speedy solution given by the local administration. It was one of the very few moments where I believed civil services was not all bad after all.
The question that troubled me was, ‘What could be the ideal solution to this issue?’. I for one believe in simple way of doing things. For people living in tribal areas, milk and its products were not new. What was new in the scheme was that the milk was fortified. For that sole reason the whole procedure of providing children with additional nutrition through milk gets complicated. First a local dairy company gets involved, then they look into the whole supply chain and finally the waste disposal was also to be thought of. A simple procedure of the same could be to supply milk to children as part of the Mid Day Meal scheme through local village dairy co-operatives (like egg is provided in Tamil Nadu State Mid Day Meal program).
Anyway, this is the story of milk from our region. Further impact assessment of the scheme in helping curb malnutrition and increasing attendance rate of students will flash in your newspapers soon. I, on the other hand, will start looking into the environmental impact and Sabar Dairy’s profit from the scheme.