The Centre should include more millets and coarse grains in diets of school-going children under the PM POSHAN scheme, a parliamentary panel has recommended.
It noted that there is an increase in student enrolment in schools and recommended that the Ministry of Education should ensure that the increased number of students are covered under the PM POSHAN scheme by making necessary augmentation in the budget allocation.
"It is encouragingly evident that there is increment in enrolment of children from 11.80 crores to 12.21 crores in 2021-22.
"The committee, accordingly, recommends that the department should make sure even the increased number of enrolled students are covered under the blanket of PM POSHAN scheme and make necessary augmentations in the budget allocation, student data and policy ambit," the panel said in its report.
The panel has suggested that the department should conduct a fresh survey or evaluation in coordination with an independent agency, especially in view of inclusion of millets (SHRI ANNA) under the scheme, so that PM POSHAN scheme could be consistently implemented in a better way and the report of the survey becomes contextual, relevant and helpful in encouraging more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to avail the scheme's benefit.
"In addition to a plethora of health and nutritional benefits, millets are also good for the environment with low water and input requirements, hence being suitable for being grown even in harsh climates.
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"It is strongly recommended that the department should include more millets and coarse grains in diets of school going children of the country under PM POSHAN scheme," it said.
The Department of School Education and Literacy administers the PM Poshan scheme under which funds are provided to states, based on proposals received from them, for proving one hot cooked meal to eligible children from classes I to VIII and those in Balvatika (below Class I).
The PM Poshan scheme benefits about 11.80 crore children in the country studying in 11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools.
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