"The former US president along with other delegates, about 15, served food prepared at the foundation's kitchen to the school children."
Jaipur, July 16 - Former US president Bill Clinton Wednesday visited a kitchen here run by an NGO to oversee a lunch programme that feeds over one million school children daily across India under the mid-day meal scheme.
The kitchen here is northern India's largest run by Akshaya Patra Foundation. It feeds almost 1.5 lakh people in Jaipur, including 1.25 lakh school children studying in 1,100 government schools in Jaipur district daily under the scheme.
Clinton, dressed in yellow half-sleeve shirt and khakhi colour trousers, was accorded a welcome by students of various schools holding flags of India and the US.
This was Clinton's third visit to Jaipur.
Clinton visited the areas where rotis and curry were being cooked and the places where pulses were cleaned and stored. He also saw the rice cleaning machine and was really impressed by it, said Madhu Pandit Dasa, chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation.
He said Clinton was impressed by the roti-making machines and was surprised that how food reaches on time in all the schools where mid-day meals are served.
Akshaya Patra Foundation's kitchen in Jagatpura on the outskirts of Jaipur is fully mechanised and even rotis are cooked in two machines. Each of the machines is capable of producing 40,000 rotis in an hour.
Besides Jaipur, the foundation has similar kitchens in Nathdwara, Jodhpur and Baran in Rajasthan.
We have 450 people, including dieticians, who prepare the menu for a month in advance. Based on requirements, vegetables, dal (lintels) and other things are purchased, R. Govinda Dasa, Jaipur unit president of the foundation, told IANS.
He said the food is prepared keeping in mind the calories, fats and protein requirement of a child and high standards of quality are maintained at every level.
Usually two rotis, a vegetable dish, dal and rice are provided to every child, and once a week a sweet dish is also given to the children.
The foundation also provides food to about 20,000 Anganwadi workers and 4,000 daily wage labourers at over 40 locations across the city every evening at a price of Rs.5 per person.
Later, Clinton visited Government Secondary Sanskrit School in Pratap Nagar area of the city. He interacted with school children and lauded the mid-day meal scheme which he said has helped in curbing dropout rates in schools.
Clinton said he was happy to observe the efficient and effective manner in which the food was prepared and distributed by the foundation.
Some of the school children welcomed Clinton by singing Rajasthan's folk song Padharo Mhare Des (Welcome to my state). The former president was seen smiling and shaking his head to the tune of the song.
Some of the children also demonstrated Vedic mathematics to Clinton.
The former US president along with other delegates, about 15, served food prepared at the foundation's kitchen to the school children.
Subash Saini, a student, was happy to see the former US president at his school. Oh, it was really great. He visited our school and also served us food..it was amazing, Saini said.