The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Sep 29 cleared the PM POSHAN Scheme for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools from 2021-22 to 2025-26. This is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme which covers all school children studying in Classes I-VIII of Government, Government-Aided Schools. The earlier name of the scheme was ‘National Scheme for Mid Day Meal in Schools’ popularly known as Mid Day Meal Scheme. The scheme covers about 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country.
CCEA chaired by the Prime Minister approved the continuation of ‘National Scheme for PM POSHAN in Schools’ for the five year period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the financial outlay of Rs 54061.73 crores from the Central Government and Rs 31,733.17 crore from State Governments & UT administrations. Central Government will also bear additional cost of about Rs 45,000 crore on foodgrains. Therefore, the total scheme budget will amount to Rs 1,30,794.90 crore.
Highlights of the decision:
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 TithiBhojan will be encouraged extensively. TithiBhojan 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 first hand experience with nature and gardening. The harvest of these gardens is used in the scheme providing additional micro nutrients. 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 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).