New Delhi : The central government has extended its mid-day meal scheme for upper primary classes, comprising children studying in Classes six to eight, to 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) of the country.
About 17 million upper primary children will be covered under this extension, a ministry of human resource development spokesperson announced Monday.
He added that the centre had released the required financial assistance to the respective states for the scheme’s extension.
A sum of Rs.70.32 bilion was provided in the budget for the current financial year for the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme, representing a 37 percent increase over the budget provision for the previous financial year.
According to the ministry, 3,22,785 metric tonnes of food grain have been allocated to various states and union territories to provide for the children in upper primary classes.
The calorific value of the mid-day meal has been fixed for upper primary at 700 calories and 20 gm of protein. Under the extension, 150 gm of food grain will be provided to every child on a per day basis.
Under the MDM scheme, the transport subsidy has been enhanced for 11 special category states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. The subsidy has been increased from Rs.100 per quintal to Rs.125 per quintal.
The ministry has also made provisions for central assistance to construct kitchen-cum-stores in upper primary schools. This would be provided at the rate of Rs.60,000 per unit. In addition, Rs.5,000 will be given to each school to procure kitchen devices.
The scheme has also been given a new name and will henceforth be known as the National Programme of Mid Day Meals in Schools.