Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme

Another exemplary scheme of Tamil Nadu!

Is the house of that physician who heals hunger disease

Nearby are far away.? Please tell us.

— Purananuru 173

New Delhi, 25th August 2023: Hon’ble Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Thiru. M.K.Stalin attended an event in a Corporation School at Chennai. When he was interacting with some of the children, he saw that some of them were tired and weary. He asked them with motherly concern, why is it so? He was shocked to hear that many of the students do not eat in the morning and attend the school in hunger. After consulting officials, he ordered that the Breakfast Scheme should be implemented immediately. That’s how this flagship Breakfast Scheme came into being in no time. Even though initiatives for this have been taken in different periods earlier, it took shape only during the rule of Chief Minister M.K.Stalin.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu stated that the Breakfast Scheme is being implemented to feed the children who come to school hungry. He reiterated that no one should think of this scheme as free or charity and this is the duty and responsibility of a Government and directed the teachers, officials and staff to provide food with more caring and kindness. “Dear students, we are serving you breakfast and lunch. Study, Study, Study without worrying about anything and concentrate only on your studies. Don’t give up education under any circumstances for any reason, I will not let it go away” the Chief Minister inspired.

This is the State where Ramalinga Vallalar lived and quoted that “I withered whenever I saw withered crop”. Here in Tamil Nadu even an individual won’t tolerate people suffering from hungry, how could the Government or Chief Minister can do so. After a lofty and deep thinking, Mid-day-meal scheme was formulated to eradicate hunger among the children, which created a revolution in Tamil Nadu. The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme which is being implemented now by Tamil Nadu Government is an extension of Mid-day-meal scheme. The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme is a pioneer scheme in India and a model for others to emulate.

This novel Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme project is being implemented mainly that hunger should not be a barrier to education. The Hon’ble Tamil Nadu Chief Minister issued a notification on May 7, 2022 under Legislative Assembly Rule No.110 regarding this scheme. Subsequently, the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment
Department issued a Government Order (G.O. No: 43, Dated: 27.07.2022) for the implementation of Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme.

A historical sequel

Sir P.T. Thiyagarayar, the then Mayor of Chennai Corporation passed a resolution on 16.09.1920 during the council meeting that Mid-day-meal scheme would be implemented in Corporation School at Thousand Lights, Chennai. Because of this initiative, number of students of Backward Classes had been increased from 3075 to 3705 within a year. Later on, this scheme had been expanded to some more schools.

The program started by Justice Party in the year 1922 and expanded further in the year 1925. On 1st April 1947, it was announced that the Mid-day-meal scheme would be abandoned due to financial crunch. But, the scheme continued in Harijan Welfare Department schools.

In 1957, the then Chief Minister K. Kamaraj resumed the Mid-day-meal scheme which provided noon meal to the students studied in Primary Schools. An amount of Rs.10 lakhs were allotted for implementing this scheme, not exceeding Rs.18 per child per year.

In July 1982, the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran introduced Nutritious Meal Programme which fed all school students throughout the year. He announced that the children in the age group of 2 to 5 years, who attend pre-school education and the children in the age group of 5 to 9 years who pursue primary education would be provided Nutritious Meal.

In the year 1989, the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi announced that one egg would be provided along with Nutritious Meal for every two weeks the same was implemented. In the year, 1998 one egg was provided weekly once. On 15 July 2006, providing two eggs per week was implemented. From 15.07.2007 three eggs were provided per week. Bananas were given to the children who did not eat eggs and the scheme was implemented on 15.07.2008. From the year 2010, weekly five eggs is being given to the children.

A Revolution in School Education:

The current Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme is an extension of the above schemes. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu leads by an example as quoted by the great poet Thiruvalluvar, “The power of those who perform penance is the power of enduring hunger. It is inferior to the power of those who remove the hunger of others.” The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced under Legislative Assembly Rule No.110 that children studying in primary schools will be provided with

nutritious breakfast on all school days. Further, he announced that the scheme would be first started in Chennai Corporation Schools and schools in remote villages and then gradually would be expanded to all areas. This Scheme was implemented as promised by him.

Initially, the scheme was devised to provide nutritious breakfast to 1,14,095 students of classes 1 to 5 studying in 1,545 Government schools and an amount of Rs.33.56 crore has been allocated for this scheme. Now, the scheme has been extended to 31,000 Government schools across the state benefitting 17 lakhs students.

Special attention was given as to how the scheme should be implemented and what types of food should be provided to the children. A list of foods to be served to the children for each day has been prepared. 50 grams of Cereals like Rava, Wheat, Rice, Millets, 15 grams of Dhal and locally available Vegetables are being provided per child per day and 150 to 200 grams of cooked food and 60 grams of sambar with vegetables are being served.

It is advised that food should be cooked and served in a hygienic manner using quality food ingredients. It is also been insisted that the cooked food should be served to the student only after the school management committee tastes it. State, District and School level monitoring committees are formed to monitor the implementation of this scheme.

The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme was inaugurated by Hon’ble Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin on 15th September 2022, on the occasion of 115th Birthday of Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu C.N. Annadurai, at Municipal Adhimoolam Primary School, Simmakal, Madurai. The Chief Minister along with the students had breakfast wherein Rava Khichadi, Rava Kesari and Vegetable Sambar were served.

In the visitors book of the school, he also wrote a message greeting, “Congratulations on the success of the Chief Minister’s Breakfast scheme which has started today in our Dravidian Model Government”. The Chief Minister then addressed, “this day is such that it can be remembered as a golden day in life. Food for hungry, Water for thirsty, A path for perplexed, A comfort to the benevolence are the essentials to implement this breakfast scheme. The children of Tamil Nadu should not be suffered by hunger and that is why this scheme was started immediately” noted Chief Minister in his speech.

The Union Government’s new education policy has suggested that breakfast should be provided to school students along with a Mid-day-meal. Eventhough, accepting the new education policy, years have been passed, but the Union Government has not taken any effort to implement the scheme. The Tamil Nadu Government has implemented the scheme successively in different phases and is now expanding it to the entire state.

A Scheme with Great Vision

The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme primarily ensures that students come to school without hunger. Next, it helps increase student’s attendance and retention. Also, experts mention many indirect benefits of this breakfast scheme. The aim of the scheme is to reduce hunger and prevent malnutrition, achieve average height in children, prevent underweight in adolescents, prevent anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. The importance of this scheme can be seen from the fact that malnourished are the first victims of diseases. This breakfast scheme should also be seen as a part of the various welfare programmes of the Tamil Nadu Government with a lofty goal of building a healthy future society. Apart from all these, the primary objective is to reduce the workload of working mothers. It is noteworthy that the health of the children improves and the mental health of the family also improves.

The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme is the foundation for a prosperous future. Through this scheme, the learning ability of the students will be improved, health will be strengthened, a disease-free healthy student society will be created. If we look closely, we can see that this scheme has a social justice underpinning. The epic Manimekalai says that “They who give nourishment to living beings, in this world, give precious life itself.”

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