PUDUCHERRY: Nutrient-rich supplementary food in place of milk and biscuits under the Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme is being planned for the current academic year.
The Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme launched by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in 2002 was aimed at containing school dropouts and malnutrition.
However, the scheme gradually collapsed in the last one year primarily due to shortage of milk supply and funds to pay the suppliers of milk and biscuits.
The distribution of milk was discontinued completely in all schools in February last.
Now, with the schools reopening on Wednesday, the scheme is being redrawn to ensure that students continue to get nutritious food, school education director E Vallavan told ‘Express’.
There are around 1.2 lakh students studying in various schools in Puducherry who would be brought under the scheme, he said.
“We have requested the Food Technology Department of Pondicherry University to recommend protein rich supplements. The Health Department has also been requested to provide nutritious and cost-effective alternatives,” Vallavan said.
Once the departments come up with the alternatives, the government would take a decision in this regard this month itself.
After a decision is taken on the type of supplementary food to be provided, the Education Department would make arrangements to provide it.
Incidentally, the Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme seems to have achieved the target almost a decade after its introduction.
“The height and weight of the students have improved after the introduction of the scheme. It enhanced the nutritional status and thereby reduced the status of malnutrition,” says a post on the School Education website.