Millets in Mid Day Meal Scheme: Relevance
- GS 2: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
Millets in Mid Day Meal Scheme: Context
- Recently, Union Government has urged the states to explore the possibility of introducing millets in the mid-day meal scheme.
Millets in Mid Day Meal Scheme: Key points
- Mid-Day meal scheme has been recently renamed as PM POSHAN.
- Millets or nutri-cereals, includes Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi.
Reason for mid day meal scheme millet
- They are rich in minerals and B-complex vitamins, as well as proteins and antioxidants, making them an ideal choice for improving the nutritional outcome of children.
- However, despite such benefits, consumption of millets remains low due to lack of awareness and availability.
- As per National Family Health Survey-IV, 38 per cent of children under five years of age are stunted and 59 per cent of children are suffering from anaemia.
- Among one of the series of initiatives, to reduce malnutrition and anaemia, the Government is laying emphasis on consumption of millets.
- NITI Aayog has also been advocating the need to introduce millets in the mid-day meal programme, moving away from rice and wheat.
- Moreover, in 2019, NITI Aayog had released a report showing the benefits of millets based on a study among adolescents in four Karnataka schools.
- Mid Day Meal scheme was recently renamed as PM-POSHAN.
- 24 lakh students receiving pre-primary education at government and government-aided schools will also be brought under the ambit of the scheme from next year.
- PM POSHAN has been launched for an initial period of five years (2021-22 to 2025-26). The Centre will bear Rs 54,061 crore of the total estimated cost of Rs 1.3 lakh crore;
- PM POSHAN does not propose any hike in the honorarium of cooks and workers;
About Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Under MDM, which was first launched in 1995, hot cooked food is provided to student from Classes 1 to 5.
- In 2017, the scheme was expanded to include students from classes 1 to 8.
- 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, to ensure a minimum of 700 calories;
- Tamil Nadu is considered the pioneer in introducing mid-day meals in government schools.