The Mid Day Meal scheme will now be known as PM-POSHAN and as many as 118 million children studying across 1.12 million schools will be covered under its ambit. Modifications to the Mid Day Meal include promoting ethnic cuisines, setting up nutrition gardens in schools and increasing the participation of women and farmers.
The scheme will cover 118 million students across the country. Photo: Nidhi Jamwal
The central government today, on September 29, gave its nod to the PM-POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) which will subsume the Mid Day Meal scheme in government and government-aided schools.
The scheme will cover 118 million students enrolled in classes 1 to 8 in over 1.12 million schools across the country. The Centre has announced that it would spend Rs 1,307.95 billion (1,30,795 crore) on the scheme in the next five years.
“The scheme is for the five-year period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the financial outlay of ₹54061.73 crore from the Central government and ₹31733.17 crore from state governments and UTs administration. The Central government will also bear the additional cost of ₹45,000 crore on food grains. Therefore, the total budget of the scheme will be ₹130794.9 crore,” the government statement informed.
The central government has also announced that it will encourage community participation through the concept of ‘Tithi Bhojan’ which will provide ‘special food to children on special occasions and festivals’. It also has plans to set up school nutrition gardens in schools.
Meanwhile, the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also announced that Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Women Self Help Groups will be involved in the implementation of the National Scheme for PM-POSHAN in School scheme under AatmaNirbhar Bharat.
“To support Vocal4Local & fulfil the objectives of AatmaNirbhar Bharat initiative, #PMPOSHAN will involve FPOs & women SHGs in the implementation of the scheme,” he tweeted.
As part of the PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme, the central government will also encourage cooking competitions to promote ethnic cuisines with Vocal4Local. Besides, provision for supplementary nutrition in aspirational and tribal districts and districts with high prevalence of anaemia will also be considered.
It is to be noted that the central government aims to eradicate malnutrition among children in India by 2022. In a bid to address malnutrition and anaemia in the country, the Indian government has also decided to provide rice fortified with iron under its PDS and Mid Day Meal schemes from 2024.