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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 02 February, 2022

  • 12 Min Read

PM Poshan Scheme to replace Mid Day Meal Scheme

PM Poshan (Erstwhile Mid Day Meal) Scheme

  • Cabinet has approved the Prime Minister POSHAN scheme or PM-POSHAN for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools.
  • The scheme will replace the existing national programme for mid-day meal in schools or Mid-day Meal Scheme (launched in 1995).
  • It has been launched for an initial period of five years (2021-22 to 2025-26)
  • Ministry: Ministry of Education.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • The Objective of MDM is to increase enrollment, retention and attendance and improve nutritional levels among students from Class 1 to 8th in Govt, Govt aided schools, Special training centers and Madrasas and Maktabs under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • It is for Govt, Local Body and Government aided schools, and Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) Centers and Alternative Innovation Education (AIE) centres.
  • It is considered as the world’s largest school meal programme 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.
  • 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 scheme will cover 11.8 crore students enrolled in classes 1 to 8 in over 11.2 lakh schools across the country.
  • For Primary: 450 cal meal; 12 g protein (increased to 30 grams); 5 gm fats; 50 gm vegetables; 100 gm foodgrains at 4.13 rs.
  • For Upper Primary: 700 cal meal; 20 g protein (increased to 40 grams); 7.5 gm fats; 75 gm vegetables; 150 gm foodgrains at 6.18 rs.
  • The scheme will be extended to students studying in pre-primary or Balvatikas running in government and government aided primary schools. Balvatika is the pre-school that was started in government schools last year to include children aged younger than six years in the formal education system.
  • The government will promote nutritional gardens in schools. The gardens are being provided to offer additional micro-nutrients to students.
  • Supplementary Nutrition
    1. The new scheme has a provision for supplementary nutrition for children in aspirational districts and those with high prevalence of anaemia.
    2. It does away with the restriction on the part of the Centre to provide funds only for wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables.
    3. Currently, if a state decides to add any component like milk or eggs to the menu, the Centre does not bear the additional cost. Now that restriction has been lifted.
  • 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.
  • The central government will ensure Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) from states to schools, which will use it to cover cooking costs. Earlier money was allocated to the states, which then included their share of the money before sending it to a nodal midday meal scheme authority at district and tehsil levels.
  • A nutrition expert is to be appointed in each school whose responsibility is to ensure that health aspects such as Body Mass Index (BMI), weight and haemoglobin levels are addressed.
  • A social audit of the scheme has also been mandated for each school in each state to study the implementation of the scheme, which was so far not being done by all states.
  • The Ministry of Education will also engage college and university students to monitor the scheme at a local level.
  • The Centre will bear Rs. 54,061 crore of the total estimated cost of Rs 1.3 lakh crore, with the states paying Rs 31,733 crore (Rs 45,000 crore will be released by the Centre as subsidies for food grains).
  • 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 to promote local economy.
  • Cooking cost is shared between Center and States in 60:40 and 90:10 in Northeast and Himalayan.
  • Foodgrains are given on NFSA (not BPL) rates. Testing of the food is compulsory and the role of School Management Committee is important.
  • A separate provision for honorarium to cook cum helper of Rs. 1000 per month.
  • Provision of mid day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas.
  • While focusing on improving nutritional level and attendance, in Classes I - V; Akshaya Patra aims to address 2 SDGs: Zero Hunger and Quality Education.
  • There is an interactive voice response system (IVRS) for data collection and audit.

Introduction of Millets in MDM Scheme

  • To enhance nutrition among children Central Government requested State Governments/Union Territory Administrations to explore the possibility of introducing millets under PM POSHAN Scheme preferably in the districts where eating millets is a culturally accepted food habit.
  • It is suggested to introduce millets (coarse grains) based menu once a week and also conduct cooking competitions among Cook-cum-Helpers to popularize millet based recipes.
  • It is also suggested to prepare small videos for creating awareness about the goodness of millets and showcase them in schools and consumption of millets may be discussed during the School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent Teachers Meeting (PTM).
  • NITI Aayog is also promoting introduction of millets in PM POSHAN Scheme and conducted a national consultation with State Governments/Union Territory Administrations. During consultation best practices on millets from Odisha, Telangana and Karnataka have been shared with other State Governments/Union Territory Administrations.
  • The Scheme provides for 3 types of food grains i.e. wheat, rice and coarse grains. Food grains are allocated as proposed by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations as per their requirement in Annual Work Plan & Budget (AWP&B) and approved by Program Approval Board of the Scheme.
  • The food grains are allocated biannually by the Department of School Education and Literacy with the concurrence of Department of Food and Public Distribution.
  • It is also mentioned that the entire cost of foodgrains is borne by Central Government.

Source: PIB


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