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Mid-Day Meal Scheme Catches on in India

National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (commonly known as Mid-Day Meal Scheme) today is the largest school nutritional programme in the world //covering nearly 12 crore children in more than 9.5 lakhs primary schools/Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS)/Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) centers.

The scheme provides a hot cooked meal of a minimum 450 calories and 12 gms of protein. The Scheme has been revised in June 2006 to ensure provision of mid day meal of adequate nutritional value and provide additional central support to States/UTs.Central assistance is provided to States/UTs for the following components:-

1) Free food grains of 100 gems (rice/wheat) per child, per school a day

2) Cooking assistance @ Rs1.50 per child per school day.

3) Reimbursement of transportation cost @ Rs.75 per quintal.

4) Assistance for management, monitoring and evaluation @ 1.8 per cent of 1) to 3).

In the Union Budget 2006-07, Outlay for Mid-Day Meal Scheme has been increased by 60% i.e. from Rs.3345 crores for 2005-06 to Rs.5348 crores for 2006-07.

The scheme in its first year of implementation, has led to the following positive outcomes:-

1)Elimination of class room hunger

2)Increase in enrollment, more significantly of girls

3)Surge in daily attendance, particularly of girls and children from poorer sections

4)Improvement in retention, learning ability and achievement

5)Curbing of teacher absentism.

6)Narrowing of social distance

7)A rallying point for parents involvement in governance of schools

The mid-day meal scheme is successfully operational in the following states in India–Punjab, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Besides this other states have also started this innnovative scheme to improve the health of children.

In this regard it must be remembered Tamil Nadu pioneered the scheme under the leadership of Sri M.G.Ramachandran, the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Source - PIB
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