Mid-day meal Scheme is now PM Poshan
GS Paper - 2 (Welfare Scheme)
The mid-day meal scheme will now be known as PM POSHAN, with the Centre initiating a major political push pivoted around ‘child nutrition’, and announcing that around 24 lakh students receiving pre-primary education at government and government-aided schools will also be brought under the ambit of the scheme from next year.
- Under PM Poshan Shakti Nirman or PM POSHAN scheme, 24 lakh more children in pre-primary classes, currently covered under the ICDS will also be brought in.
- Last year, the government opened pre-schools called Balvatikas attached to angandwadis.
- PM POSHAN has been launched for an initial period of five years (2021-22 to 2025-26).
- Primary (1-5) and upper primary (6-8) schoolchildren are currently entitled to 100 grams and 150 grams of food grains per working day each, to ensure a minimum of 700 calories.
- The new scheme has a provision for supplementary nutrition for children in aspirational districts and those with high prevalence of anaemia.
- Under PM POSHAN, nutri-gardens will be developed in schools to give children “firsthand experience with nature and gardening”. Such gardens have already been developed in three lakh schools.
- A social audit is being made mandatory in all the districts. To promote vocal for local, women self-help groups and farmer producer organisations will be encouraged to provide a fillip to locally grown traditional food items.
- The scheme also plans “inspection” by students of colleges and universities for ground-level execution.
- Under the mid-day meal scheme, hot cooked food is provided currently to students from Classes 1 to 8 — around 11.80 crore children in all, in 11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools.
- The National Education Policy (NEP) has also recommended that pre-school education should be formalised. This is a step towards that.
- Also, it will help prevent leakages and bring more transparency. We will become more hands on and nudge states to pay schools through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode, Pradhan told reporters.
- While the NEP also proposes breakfast in schools, the government has not taken any decision on that yet.
- PM POSHAN does not propose any hike in the honorarium of cooks and workers, though Pradhan said states are “free to do that”.