Hyderabad: The Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) is exploring the possibility of lending its expertise to the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in the country to ensure that quality food is served to the children.
"We took the initiative last year. In Maharashtra and West Bengal, we did a survey at 35 centres which are implementing the mid-day meal project.
"We took it up as our own R&D project. We were surprised by the way food was being prepared and distributed. We are going to make a proposal. We will develop a prototype," IIP Director NC Saha told reporters here on the sidelines of a national seminar on `global trends in packaging of food, pharmaceuticals and bulk drugs`.
He said various designs are being explored like developing a "collapsible and returnable" package which children can carry home and bring back.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, D Purandeswari, who inaugurated the seminar, said it was going to be a huge challenge given the nature of the project.
Replying to a query, she appreciated efforts by IIP to pitch in for the mid-day meal scheme.
She, however, said that the proposal was still in its preliminary stage.
Saha said they were expecting to submit a proposal to the government in about a year or so regarding their concept.
He also said they have submitted a proposal to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) as per its request for packaging its famous `laddu prasadam` so that the item is fit for consumption for about two weeks.
The proposal, involving vacuum packing, is under consideration, he said. IIP has earlier done a project for the Mata Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu.
Earlier, Purandeswari lauded IIP`s move to set up a centre in Hyderabad.
She called for more investment by the industry in R&D to enable the country realise its potential.
"Only one per cent of the GDP is spent on research, and the government`s share of that one per cent is about 80 per cent", she said.
She said she was in favour of some regulations for the packaging industry to ensure quality of products.
The minister said she hoped IIP soon received the deemed university status.