PUDUCHERRY: The Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme, the flagship scheme of the territorial administration which hit a road block last academic year, was revived on Monday with supply of warm milk to government school students of Puducherry and Karaikal regions.
Director of School Education E Vallavan told ‘Express’ that the scheme would be revived shortly in Yanam and Mahe as well, after sorting out the issues in the two regions.
Shortage of milk supply had brought the scheme to a halt last year.
Pondicherry Cooperative Milk Society (Ponlait), a government institution, was assigned the task of procuring milk for distribution under the scheme. The society managed to procure additional milk from the Karnataka Government Cooperative Dairy, Nandini.
As much as 6,200 litres of milk was supplied to all schools in Puducherry and Karaikal regions. Under the scheme, 100 ml of hot-milk along with 35 grams of sweet biscuits (Britannia Glucose biscuits) was provided to the students studying from pre-kg to Class XII in government schools only in the morning. Initially, only milk is being provided and biscuits are yet to be distributed among the students.
Arrangements were being made to provide biscuits as well, added Vallavan further.
The scheme, fully funded by the Puducherry government, was launched with much fanfare by Sonia Gandhi in 2002. The idea was to keep a check on the number of school dropouts and also to ensure that the students, particularly those hailing from poor families, did not attend classes with an empty stomach.
Though on an average 10,000 litres of milk per day is required to be supplied to students under the scheme, it was cut down as several students had refused to consume milk.
The expenditure incurred for the entire scheme was `3 crore the last academic year.
Meanwhile, the scheme also involves other issues such as wages for workers. When the scheme involved distribution of milk twice a day, the workers were paid ` 4,000 per month.
However, after the evening supply was stopped, the government reduced the wages by half, which led to protest by the workers.