Education Ministry Sources said that ‘School Nutrition Gardens’ have been developed in more than 4 lakh schools across the country.
New Delhi: The central government spends Rs 20,000 crore every year for the PM POSHAN Scheme earlier known as Mid-Day Meal Scheme benefitting over 12 crore children studying in government and government-aided schools across the country.
Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) Scheme earlier known as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which covers all school children studying in Classes Bal Vatika and I-VIII of government and government-aided schools. The scheme covers about 12 crore children in the age group of 5-11 years, comprising of 22.6 lakh children from Bal Vatika, 7.2 crore children from primary and 4.6 crore children from upper primary, studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country. According to the Ministry of Education, the objectives of the PM POSHAN are to address two of the pressing problems for the majority of children in India, such as hunger and education by improving the nutritional status of children studying in classes Bal Vatika and I – VIII in government and government-aided schools, encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities.
“Every year central government spent more than Rs 20,000 crore (USD 2.5 billion) under the Scheme including food subsidy of about Rs 9,500 crore. Food Security Allowance was provided to all enrolled children during the closure of schools on account of lockdown due to COVID Pandemic,” Education Ministry Sources told ANI.
Sources further told ANI that 31 lakh Metric foodgrains have been allocated under the Scheme for 2022-23 and the hot cooked meal is a right of a child under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
“Under PM POSHAN, hot cooked meals are provided to all eligible children on all school days, containing 450 calories and 12 gms protein for primary and 700 calories and 20 gms protein for upper primary class children,” Education Ministry Official told ANI.
Education Ministry Sources said that ‘School Nutrition Gardens’ have been developed in more than 4 lakh schools across the country. These are very helpful in the inclusion of nutritious green leafy vegetables and fruits in the diet of the school children.
“Community participation has been strengthened in the scheme in the form of ‘Tithi Bhojan’. Under Tithi Bhojan, community volunteers to provide meals/additional food items etc on birthdays, anniversaries, days of national importance etc,” the official added.
States and UTs have been encouraged to enhance the involvement of Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) in the implementation of the scheme and States and UTs have been encouraged to use millets in the preparation of hot-cooked meals under PM POSHAN, said the Ministry.
It further said that the social audit of PM POSHAN Scheme has been made mandatory for every district and is being conducted in most states. Public Hearings (Jan Sunvais) have been carried out in which the Panchayat representatives, parents and general community participate and discuss the issues related to the implementation of the scheme.
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