NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put his indelible stamp on the existing Midday Meal scheme by re-christening it as the "PM Poshan" scheme and extending it for five years. ‘Poshan’ means nutrition.
The Midday Meals were introduced by the UPA government under the Food Security Act, 2013, to provide nutritious and cooked hot food to school-going children.
The scheme was fully funded by the Centre, but now the state governments will also have to chip in part to meet part of the cost.
The "PM Poshan" scheme cleared for five years up to 2025-26 has a Central outlay of Rs 54,061 crore, which requires the state governments and Union Territories to pay Rs 31,733.17 crore.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told a press conference in a briefing after the Cabinet meeting that the total budget of the scheme will be to the tune of Rs 1,30,794.90 crore since the Centre would also bear the additional cost of about Rs 45,000 crore on food grains to be supplied to the schools.
He said the scheme will cover 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools, covering all those studying in Class I-VIII.
In reply to a question, Thakur sheepishly admitted that the earlier name of the scheme was "Mid-Day Meal in Schools."
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