Expansion Of Mid-day Meal Scheme:
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education has recommended that all government schools start providing free breakfast in the coming academic year, as a part of an expansion of the midday meal scheme envisaged by the National Education Policy.
- The National Education Policy identifies “providing food and nutrition” as one of the key long-term thrust areas for financing to cultivate a robust education system.
- Research shows that the morning hours nutritious breakfast can be productive for the study of cognitively more demanding subjects and hence these hours may be leveraged by providing a simple but energizing breakfast in addition to midday meals.
- The Centre’s current expenditure on the Midday meals scheme is about 11000 crore. Free breakfast would involve an additional budget of 4000 crores but the School Education Department saw a budget cut of almost 5000 crores for the year 2020-21.
Midday Meal Scheme
- The Midday meal scheme (under the Ministry of Education) is a centrally sponsored scheme that was launched in 1995.
- It is the world’s largest school meal program 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.
- Objective: Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialization among castes, provide employment at grassroots level especially to women.
- AGMARK quality items are procured, tasting of meals by two or three adult members of the school management committee.
- 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.
- The State Steering-cum Monitoring Committee (SSMC) oversees the implementation of the scheme including the establishment of a mechanism for the maintenance of nutritional standards and quality of meals.
- Cooked meal having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary (I-V class) and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary (VI-VIII class)
- All government and government-aided schools, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).