The Tamil Nadu government on Friday extended the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme to all 31,000 government schools across the state, covering 17 lakh students.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had launched the scheme on September 15 to ensure that students eat breakfast. At the time, the scheme covered over 1.14 lakh Class 1 and Class 5 students studying in 1,545 government schools.
The scheme is aimed at reducing hunger, preventing malnutrition, anaemia as well as vitamin B12 deficiency and ensuring that children are not underweight, The Hindu reported.
Since its launch, 90% of beneficiary schools have reported improvement in attendance of the students, reported the Deccan Herald.
Tamil Nadu’s breakfast scheme is in addition to the Centrally-sponsored midday meal scheme.
The state government said that a list of food that has to be served for each day has been prepared. Fifty grams of cereals such as rava (semolina), wheat, rice and millets, 15 grams of lentils and locally-available vegetables are provided to each child per day while 150 to 200 grams of cooked food and 60 grams of sambar with vegetables are served.
Stalin has asked MPs and MLAs across party lines to launch the scheme in their constituencies, reported Deccan Herald. The government has allotted Rs 404 crore for the extension of the scheme.
“I would like to call the scheme fund for school children, our future hopes, as financial investment rather than allocation of funds,” Stalin said on Friday. “This is because the government has invested funds to improve students’ knowledge and motivation. That investment will definitely turn out to be a beneficial energy for the country.”
The Centre’s midday meal scheme covers primary school children in government schools. Children in Class 1 to Class 5 are entitled to 100 grams of food grains, 20 grams of pulses, 50 grams of vegetables and greens and five grams of oils and fats under the scheme. Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have had midday meal schemes since the 1980s.
In its New Education Policy, the Centre has also suggested that breakfast should be provided to school students along with a midday meal.