Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Anurag Singh Thakur hold a press conference on Cabinet Decisions in New Delhi on September 29, 2021. (PIB)
New Delhi: The Centre on September 29, 2021, renamed ‘National Scheme for Mid Day Meal in Schools’ (popularly known as Mid Day Meal Scheme) as ‘National Scheme for PM POSHAN in Schools’ and earmarked a budget of Rs 1,30,794.90 crore for the next five years for it.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the PM POSHAN Scheme for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools from FY 2021-22 to 2025-26.
“The PM POSHAN will get the financial outlay of Rs. 54061.73 crore from the Central Government and Rs. 31,733.17 crore from State Governments & UT administrations. The Central Government will also bear the additional cost of about Rs. 45,000 crore on foodgrains,” the CCEA press release said.
The scheme covers about 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country.
The release added that “during 2020-21, Government of India invested more than Rs. 24,400 crore in the scheme, including the cost of about Rs. 11,500 crore on foodgrains”.
According to the CCEA Press Release, the Following Steps will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the scheme:
i.) The scheme is proposed to be extended to students studying in pre-primary or Bal Vatikas of Government and Government-aided primary schools in addition to all the 11.80 crore children from elementary classes.
ii.) The concept of ‘Tithi-Bhojan’ will be encouraged extensively. Tithi-Bhojan is a community participation programme in which people provide special food to children on special occasions/festivals.
iii.) Government is promoting development of School Nutrition Gardens in schools to give children firsthand experience with nature and gardening. The harvest of these gardens is used in the scheme providing additional micronutrients. School Nutrition Gardens have already been developed in more than 3 lakh schools.
iv.) Social Audit of the scheme is made mandatory in all the districts.
v.) Special provision is made for providing supplementary nutrition items to children in aspirational districts and districts with a high prevalence of Anemia.
vi.) Cooking competitions will be encouraged at all levels right from village level to national level to promote ethnic cuisine and innovative menus based on locally available ingredients and vegetables.
vii.) Vocal for Local for Atmanirbhar Bharat: Involvement of Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO) and Women Self Help Groups in implementation of the scheme will be encouraged. Use of locally grown traditional food items for a fillip to local economic growth will be encouraged.
viii.) Field visits for progress monitoring and inspections will be facilitated for students of eminent Universities / Institutions and also trainee teachers of Regional Institutes of Educations (RIE) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET). (Press Release)