MID-DAY MEAL SCHEME

  • Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the Prime Minister POSHAN scheme or PM-POSHAN for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools.
  • The scheme will replace the existing national programme for mid-day meal in schools or Mid-day Meal Scheme.
  • It has been launched for an initial period of five years (2021-22 to 2025-26).

Mid-day Meal Scheme

  • The Mid-day Meal Scheme (under the Ministry of Education) is a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched in 1995.
  • It is considered as the world’s largest school meal programme aimed to attain the goal of universalization of primary education.
  • Provides cooked meals to every child within the age group of six to fourteen years studying in classes I to VIII who enrolls and attends the school.
  • If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.

Important points:

  • The scheme will cover 11.8 crore students enrolled in classes 1 to 8 in over 11.2 lakh schools across the country.
  • Primary (1-5) and upper primary (6-8) schoolchildren are currently entitled to 100 grams and 150 grams of food grains per working day each, to ensure a minimum of 700 calories.
  • The scheme will be extended to students studying in pre-primary or Balvatikas running in government and government aided primary schools.
  • Balvatika is the pre-school that was started in government schools last year to include children aged younger than six years in the formal education system.
  • The government will promote nutritional gardens in schools. The gardens are being provided to offer additional micro-nutrients to students.
  • The new scheme has a provision for supplementary nutrition for children in aspirational districts and those with high prevalence of anaemia.
  • It does away with the restriction on the part of the Centre to provide funds only for wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables.
  • Currently, if a state decides to add any component like milk or eggs to the menu, the Centre does not bear the additional cost. Now that restriction has been lifted.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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