The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the continuation of the ‘National Scheme for PM POSHAN in Schools’. It has been approved for five years with the financial outlay of ₹ 54,061.73 crores from the Central Government and ₹ 31,733.17 crores from State Governments & UT administrations.
The Central Government will also bear the additional cost of about ₹ 45,000 crores on foodgrains. Therefore, the total scheme budget will amount to ₹ 1,30,794.90 crore.
PM POSHAN Scheme
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs cleared the PM POSHAN Scheme for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools from 2021-22 to 2025-26. It is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme which covers all school children studying in Classes I-VIII of Government, Government-Aided Schools.
The scheme covers about 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country. During 2020-21, the Government of India invested more than ₹ 24,400 crores in the scheme, including a cost of about ₹ 11,500 crores on foodgrains.
The government has planned to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the scheme.
The scheme is proposed to be extended to students studying in pre-primary or Bal Vatikas of Government and Government-aided primary schools in addition to all the 11.80 crore children from elementary classes.
Under the scheme, the concept of TithiBhojan will also be encouraged extensively. Tithi Bhojan is a community participation programme in which people provide special food to children on special occasions/festivals.
The government is also promoting the development of School Nutrition Gardens. This will help in providing the children with first-hand experience with nature and gardening. The harvest of these gardens is used in the scheme providing additional micronutrients. These gardens have already been developed in more than 3 lakh schools.
Moreover, for effective implementation, the social audit of the scheme is made mandatory in all the districts.
Special Provisions ensuring Nutrition Security
Special provision is made for providing supplementary nutrition items to children in aspirational districts and districts with a high prevalence of Anemia. Cooking competitions will be encouraged at all levels right from village level to national level to promote ethnic cuisine and innovative menus based on locally available ingredients and vegetables.
Vocal for Local for Atmanirbhar Bharat
The government has also encouraged the involvement of Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO) and Women Self Help Groups in the implementation of the scheme. Also, the use of locally grown traditional food items has been encouraged to provide a fillip to the local economic growth.
Apart from this, field visits for progress monitoring and inspections will also be facilitated for students of eminent Universities / Institutions and also for the trainee teachers of Regional Institutes of Educations and District Institutes of Education and Training.