Mid-day meal scheme to be now called PM POSHAN
The national mid-day meal scheme in government and aided schools will now be known as PM POSHAN Scheme
The national mid-day meal scheme in government and aided schools will now be known as PM POSHAN Scheme and will also cover students of balvatikas or pre-primary classes, the government announced Wednesday.
Encouraging 'Tithi Bhojan' to allow people from community to provide special food to children on occasions and festivals, using harvest from "school nutrition gardens" for cooking mid-day meals, cooking competitions to promote ethnic cuisine and innovative menus and involvement of Farmers Producer Organisations (FPO) and Women Self Help Groups in implementation of the scheme, are among the features which have been added in the new scheme.
The Union cabinet, on Wednesday, approved the roll-out of the 'PM POSHAN in Schools' scheme that will provide hot cooked meal to students of elementary classes in government and government-aided schools across the country. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The CCEA has approved the continuation of the national scheme of PM POSHAN in schools for the five-year period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the financial outlay of 2 54061.73 crores from the central government and 31733.17 crore from state governments and union territory administrations.
While social audit of the scheme is made mandatory in all the districts, special provision is made for providing supplementary nutrition items to children in aspirational districts and districts with high prevalence of Anemia.
The mid-day meal scheme was launched in 1995 with an aim to provide at least one nutritional meal to elementary students. It had later become instrumental in improving enrollments in schools.
Explaining the structural changes in the scheme, Pradhan said the Centre has directed the states and the UTs to switch to Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system for providing honorarium to the cooks and helpers working under the scheme.
Earlier, the central government would allocate the funds to the states which include their share and transfer them to the mid-day meal nodal officers at the district or tehsil level. The officers then transfer them to the schools.
A senior official said that under the new scheme, if states want to include their local vegetable or any other nutritional food or anything else such as milk or fruit, they can do so with the centre's approval.
The government did not announce anything on the provision for adding breakfast in the mid-day meals which was outlined in the new National Education Policy (NEP) notified last year.