Ground Report | New Delhi: Finance Ministry vetoed; The Union Education Ministry has told a parliamentary panel that a scheme to serve breakfast to children in government schools to tackle the problem of malnutrition has failed. The policy, approved by the Union Cabinet earlier this week, noted that the morning hours after a nutritious breakfast could be particularly useful for the study of cognitively demanding subjects and hence the need to incorporate breakfast provisions.
Finance Ministry vetoed breakfast plan
While the Education Ministry confirmed that the Finance Ministry had approved the extension of mid-day meals in pre-primary classes, it did not agree to the breakfast proposal. The ministry said as per the records of parliamentary committee meetings that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has ruled out inclusion of provision of breakfast and provision of utensils in pre-primary and primary classes, but now the matter will be presented. Cabinet to continue Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme till 2025-26
The proposal is strongly supported by the National Policy on Education, 2020 as it states that children are unable to learn better if they are malnourished and a single hot cooked meal in the afternoon is not enough to meet the required nutritional level.
A proposed Rs 4,000-crore breakfast plan to benefit children in government schools has gone awry and the finance ministry has refused to approve it due to paucity of funding. After the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) showed an alarming decline in the nutritional levels of children between 2015-2019, the Center had proposed to the cabinet to consider breakfast with meals. It is disheartening to learn that eighteen states have reported an increase in the number of underweight, stunted or vulnerable children under the age of five.
Extension of mid-day meal scheme
Extension of mid-day meal scheme has been recommended for School. “Children are unable to learn better when they are malnourished or unhealthy. Therefore, children’s nutrition and health (including mental health) will be addressed through the introduction of healthy eating and well-trained social workers, counselors, and community Participation in the schooling system,” said Policy.
“In addition, research suggests that the morning hours after a nutritious breakfast may be particularly productive for studying cognitively more demanding subjects and therefore these The hours can be taken advantage of by providing a simple yet energizing breakfast, in addition to the mid-day meal,” it added.