The Mid-day Meal Scheme is likely to be extended to students in class IX and X in all the government schools across the country from the next academic year, The New Indian Express reports.
According to sources, Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, in one of his first meetings after taking charge moved the finance committee in this regard before going for the Cabinet approval.
“Our initial estimate is that an additional cost of Rs 4,000 crore will be required to extend the service till secondary level. We are hoping to get the Cabinet green signal by the year-end and the programme is likely to be expanded from the next financial year,” said a senior official privy to the development.
Currently, nearly 12 crore schoolchildren are provided meals in over 12.5 lakh government schools on all working days. While the centre provides the foodgrains, the cost of preparing food and the miscellaneous expenditure in providing the meal is shared between the centre and states.
The draft of the new National Education Policy also recommends expanding the scheme to provide breakfast to the children along with the midday meal.