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Tamil Nadu’s New Breakfast Scheme in Schools

Context:

Recently, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, at the Madurai Corporation Primary School Aathimoolam II in Simmakal, Madurai, launched the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme for students of Class I to V in government schools.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Chief Minister’s Breakfast Program
  2. Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) Scheme
  3. Where should the programme focus more?

About Chief Minister’s Breakfast Program

  • This scheme helps to promote the education of poor students studying in Tamil Nadu government schools.
  • It helps poor school students as well as to overcome malnutrition issues and to avoid dropping out of school students.
  • Initially, the scheme is going to be implemented in some Municipalities, Corporations, and remote villages.
  • The students studying from  Class I to V in government schools will be provided with nutritious snacks in the morning on all school working days.
  • In order to effectively implement the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme, the project implementation guidelines and survey forms for inspection of integrated kitchens preparing food in urban areas, schools attached to them and schools/kitchens operating in rural and hilly areas under the scheme have been published in the interview letter.
Number of beneficiaries of the programme:
  • As of now, there are nearly 46.7 lakh beneficiaries spread over 43,190 nutritious meal centres.
  • This includes around 3,500 students of National Child Labour Project (NCLP) special schools.
  • The State budget for 2022-23 has provided around ₹2,077 crore for the nutritious meal programme.
  • Besides, as a consequence of the collaborative implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the nutritious meal programme, around 15.8 lakh children in the age group of 2+ to 5+ years receive nutritious meals.

Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) Scheme

  • The Mid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme of the Government of India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide.
  • Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a party, India has committed to yielding “adequate nutritious food” for children.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes.
  • The students of:
    • Government schools,
    • Government aided schools,
    • Local body Education Centres,
    • Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres,
    • Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,
    • National Child Labour Project schools run by the Ministry of labour.

How the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme came to be-

  • Post-Independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to introduce the MDM scheme in the 1960s.
  • The Central scheme to provide meals to school children began in 1995, however, most states just limited themselves to providing dry rations.

Impact of the mid-day meal scheme on school education

  • After the improved version of the mid-day meal scheme in 1982, the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) at primary level (standards I to V) went up by 10% during July-September, 1982 as compared to the corresponding period in 1981.
  • The rise in boys’ enrollment was 12% and in the case of girls, 7%, according to a publication brought out by the Tamil Nadu government on the occasion of the launch of the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme.
  • Likewise, attendance during July-September 1982 rose by 33% over the previous year’s figure.

Where should the programme focus more?

  • Anaemia is a major health problem in Tamil Nadu, especially among women and children, says the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5’s report.
  • From 50% during the period of the 2015-16 NFHS-4, the prevalence of anaemia in children now went up to 57%.
  • This and many other health issues can be addressed through the combined efforts of the departments of School Education, Public Health and Social Welfare and Women Empowerment.
  • Based on expert advice, those in charge of the implementation of the ICDS and the nutritious meal programme can enhance the component of nutrition to those children having specific problems. The latest Breakfast Scheme is a step in this direction.

-Source: The Hindu


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