Tamil Nadu allocates Rs 34 crore for breakfast in schools
Primary students will soon get nutritious breakfast for free in Tamil Nadu schools, as the State government issued a Government Order for this on Wednesday.
CHENNAI: Primary students will soon get nutritious breakfast for free in Tamil Nadu schools, as the State government issued a Government Order (GO) for this on Wednesday. The scheme, touted to be India’s first of its kind, is likely to be launched in August, officials said.
In the first phase, Rs 33.56 crore has been allocated for the project. To start off, over 1.14 lakh students at 1,545 primary schools will be beneficiaries of the CM’s Breakfast Scheme. From Monday to Friday, they will get rava upma, semiya upma with vegetable sambar, rava khichdi, semiya khichdi, and rava pongal; and on Fridays, a sweet (rava kesari or semiya kesari) as well.
“The aim is to make schools places where the stomach is fed food, and the ears, knowledge,” Chief Minister MK Stalin said. “As someone who espouses Dravidian ideals, this initiative, which encourages students from economically-weak families to study, is a dream project for me. It makes me proud as the CM,” he added.
Stalin also urged field workers to serve students with love, and cook hygienically as though they are cooking for their own children. The CM had announced the scheme in the Assembly in May. Wednesday’s GO said the project will be implemented in 1,545 government primary schools in corporations, municipalities, panchayats, and remote and hilly areas in the first phase. It will eventually be extended to all primary schools in phases, school education officials said.
Though the scheme to improve education and nutrition among the economically disadvantaged received widespread praise, many teachers and parents are unhappy with the menu. “Many kids don’t like upma and pongal for breakfast. Idlis and fruits such as banana, or milk, should be included. If children don’t like the food, they won’t eat it,” said school teacher P Patrick Raymond. The GO, issued by Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu, says raw materials used in the food should meet FSSAI guidelines, and school management committees should check the quality every day.