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Gibran looks to India for inspiration in implementing Indonesia's free meal program

Jakarta Globe - April 2, 2024

Wijayanti Putri, Solo – Vice President-elect Gibran Rakabuming Raka and his team are actively seeking the best scheme for implementing the free lunch program, a flagship initiative under the forthcoming Prabowo Subianto and Gibran administration.

One approach is to draw inspiration from other countries that have already implemented similar initiatives.

"The free lunch program already exists in 76 countries with various effective schemes, such as in Japan and India, which we can learn from," he stated to the media at the Solo City Hall, Central Java, on Tuesday.

He mentioned that the mid-day meal (MDM) program of the Indian Government is the closest to the free lunch program proposed by Prabowo-Gibran.

"Yesterday, the Indian Ambassador mentioned that one child's meal costs 11 cents. If converted to rupiah, it's quite affordable. It's very effective, and the menu is almost similar to what we proposed before. It includes protein and other nutrients. It can be a model for Indonesia," he said.

Gibran further explained that a team has been sent to India to study the implementation of the MDM program there. They are not only studying the menu but also the efficiency of central kitchens, distribution, and logistics provision.

"India also has a large population. So, we're preparing the best scheme, learning from other countries that have implemented this program. We're studying its effects on children and students, as well as its distribution, logistics, central kitchen, and the involvement of nutrition experts. We're looking for the best scheme that won't burden the state budget," said the eldest son of President Jokowi.

Earlier, Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka met with the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia, Sandeep Chakravorty, at Solo City Hall, Central Java, on Monday.

They discussed various opportunities for cooperation and policies that both countries are implementing. This includes the MDM program in India, which is similar to the free lunch program proposed by the Prabowo-Gibran administration.

The proposed budget for Indonesia's free meal program is approximately Rp 15,000 ($1) per child per day, excluding the provision of milk. The program aims to cover around 82.9 million students gradually until 2029, with an estimated budget of Rp 400 trillion ($25.5 billion).

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/gibran-looks-to-india-for-inspiration-in-implementing-indonesias-free-meal-progra