A Midday Meal for India's Primary Schools

Indian schoolchildren eat food served as part of The 'Midday Meal' scheme at a Government Primary School in Hyderabad on June 23, 2010. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Since 2001, India's primary schools have provided free lunch, or a midday meal for students, who otherwise would get on with their days hungry.

Nine years on and truancy rates have been slashed, while student health has soared at optimistic levels. In a country of a billion-plus population, the Indian government has come up with a genius idea to keep children off the streets and in school, and perhaps most remarkably, improved socialization among children from all castes, by providing just one hot meal during school hours.

The governments of the West are also taking notice. While celebrity-chef Jamie Oliver is cooking up healthy meals for students in the UK and the US, India has already proved itself. Vijay Bhaskar, a food administrator in the state of Karnataka, reveals what the West has tried to achieve for many years - keeping our generation off junk food. "Any person who has seen children eating a hot meal knows that no cookie can substitute."

SBS Dateline produced a fascinating and informative story on India's midday meal scheme. Watch the video below: