NEW DELHI: The Union Human Resources Development Ministry has decided to increase the annual central allocation of cooking cost for mid-day meal programme by Rs 800 crore in view of the COVID 19 pandemic situation.
The central contribution to the programme that is aimed at providing one time meal to nearly 11 crore children in primary and upper primary schools across India was earlier Rs 7,300 for procurement of pulses, vegetable, oil, spices and fuel.
The enhancement will take the central contribution the scheme to Rs 8,100 crore--or up by nearly 11 per cent -- in the current fiscal.
In a meeting with state education minister via video conference, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank also announced that the government has approved providing mid-day meal during summer holidays in schools across India, on which an additional expenditure of about 1600 crores will be made.
In the meeting, some states--including Delhi--suggested that remaining CBSE board examinations for classes X and XII be suspended and the students be promoted on the basis of internal examinations conducted in the schools earlier.
Delhi also recommended that the overall syllabus across all classes be cut by 30 per cent and in the next academic session, entrance examinations such as the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination--Main and Advanced be conducted on the basis of reduced syllabi in the next session in view of the massive disruptions in academic activities due to nationwide lockdown.
The Centre took note of these recommendations but a final decision will only be taken after the lockdown is lifted, sources in the ministry told this newspaper.
A statement by the ministry said that the Union minister also asked ministers and officials from states to start the process of evaluation of answer sheets of Board exams and facilitate CBSE to evaluate answer sheets of the students in their respective states.