From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PM POSHAN Scheme
Mains level : Mid-day meal scheme
The existing Mid-Day Meal scheme, which provides hot meals to students, has been renamed as the National Scheme for PM Poshan Shakti Nirman.
Key propositions in the PM POSHAN Scheme
- Supplementary nutrition: The new scheme has a provision for supplementary nutrition for children in aspirational districts and those with high prevalence of anaemia.
- States to decide diet: It essentially does away with the restriction on the part of the Centre to provide funds only for wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables. 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.
- Nutri-gardens: They will be developed in schools to give children “firsthand experience with nature and gardening”.
- Women and FPOs: 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.
- Social Audit: The scheme also plans “inspection” by students of colleges and universities for ground-level execution.
- Tithi-Bhojan: Communities would also be encouraged to provide the children food at festivals etc, while cooking festivals to encourage local cuisines are also envisaged.
- DBTs to school: In other procedural changes meant to promote transparency and reduce leakages, States will be asked to do direct benefit cash transfers of cooking costs to individual school accounts, and honorarium amounts to the bank accounts of cooks and helpers.
- Holistic nutrition: The rebranded scheme aims to focus on “holistic nutrition” goals. Use of locally grown traditional foods will be encouraged, along with school nutrition gardens.
About the Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- The Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal program designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide.
- It was launched in the year 1995.
- It supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in:
- Government, government aided, local body schools
- Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres,
- Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and
- National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour
- The Scheme has a legal backing under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
To enhance the enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improve nutritional levels among school going children studying in Classes I to VIII
History of the scheme
- In 1925, a Mid Day Meal Programme was introduced for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation.
- By the mid-1980s three States viz. Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the UT of Pondicherry had universalized a same scheme with their own resources for children studying at the primary stage.
- In 2001, the Supreme Court asked all state governments to begin this programme in their schools within 6 months.
- 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.
- The calorific value of a mid-day meal at various stages has been fixed at a minimum:
|Calories Intake||Primary||Upper Primary|
|Energy||450 calories||700 calories|
|Protein||12 grams||20 grams|
Impact created by the Scheme
- The MDM Scheme has many potential benefits: attracting children from disadvantaged sections (especially girls, Dalits and Adivasis) to school, improving regularity, nutritional benefits, socialisation benefits and benefits to women are some that have been highlighted.
- Apart from nutrition, this scheme has been miraculous. Mothers who first used to interrupt their work to feed their children at home, now no longer need to do so.
Issues with the Scheme
- Discrimination: Caste-based discrimination continues to occur in the serving of food, though the government seems unwilling to acknowledge this.
- Leakages: The scheme has been subjected to leakages similar to the Public Distribution System.
- Unhealthy and unhygienic: There have been cases of eating pesticide-contaminated mid-day meals leading to food poisoning.
Try this PYQ:
Which of the following can be said to be essentially the parts of Inclusive Governance?
- Permitting the Non-Banking Financial Companies to do banking
- Establishing effective District Planning Committees in all the districts
- Increasing government spending on public health
- Strengthening the Mid-day Meal Scheme
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Post your answers.