INDIA: India's parliament on Monday passed a flagship 18-billion-dollar programme to provide subsidised food to the poor that is intended to "wipe out" endemic hunger and malnutrition in the aspiring superpower.
The Food Security Bill, a key scheme seen as vote-winner by the ruling Congress party ahead of national elections next year, was adopted in the lower house.
Last month, 23 children aged four to 12 died died in poverty-stricken Bihar state after a lunch of lentils, potatoes and rice that was laced with a lethal pesticide.
Educators see the midday meal scheme as a way to increase school attendance, in a country where almost half of all young children are undernourished.
But children often suffer from food poisoning due to poor hygiene in kitchens and sometimes sub-standard food.
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