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PM POSHAN Scheme

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October 02, 2021

Why in news?

The existing Mid-Day Meal scheme which provides hot meals to students will be renamed as the National Scheme for PM Poshan Shakti Nirman.

What are the key features of the scheme?

  • It is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme that aims to enhance the nutrition levels of schoolchildren
  • Eligibility - All school going students of classes I to VIII studying in government and government-aided schools are eligible to avail the benefits.
  • Duration - For a period of five years ( 2021-22 to 2025-26)
  • The total budget of the scheme will amount to Rs. 1, 30,794.90 crore.
  • The scheme will be extended to pre-primary students or Bal Vatikas of Government and Government-aided primary schools.
  • The concept of TithiBhojan (community participation programme in which people provide special food to children on special occasions) will be encouraged extensively.
  • Government is also promoting the development of Nutrition Gardens in schools.
  • Social Audit of the scheme is made mandatory in all the districts.
  • Special provision is made for providing supplementary nutrition to children in aspirational districts and districts with high prevalence of Anemia.
  • Cooking competitions will be encouraged at all levels right from village level to national level to promote ethnic cuisine.
  • Involvement of Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO) and Women Self Help Groups in implementation of the scheme will be encouraged.
  • While Centre bears the entire cost of food grains, their transportation, management, monitoring and evaluation, components such as cooking costs, payments to cooks and workers are split in a 60:40 ratio with states.

What is the need for this scheme?

  • The findings in Phase I of the NFHS-5 for 22 States and Union Territories in December 2020 were shocking
    1. Childhood stunting rose in 13 States
    2. High prevalence of anaemia among children and women
    3. Wasting was a serious concern in 12 States

PM POSHAN

  • The worsening case of malnutrition threatens to deprive millions of children of a fully productive adult life.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) has also recommended that pre-school education should be formalised and this scheme is a step towards that.

Can this scheme bring the desired outcome?

  • The West Bengal government accused the Centre of just changing the name of the mid-day meal scheme.
  • While the NEP proposes breakfast in schools, the government has not taken any decision on that yet.
  • The renewed plan should introduce a greater diversity of diets that compensates for micronutrient and protein deficiency.
  • The Government must fiscally strengthen the Saksham Anganwadi-Mission POSHAN 2.0 which amalgamates POSHAN Abhiyan and schemes covering anganwadis, creches and adolescent girls.

Mission Poshan 2.0 (Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0) has been announced in budget 2021-2022 as an integrated nutrition support programme to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach and outcomes.

 

Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express

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