UKG Students to Benefit from Mid-Day Meal Program in Punjab Schools from Sept 1 

Rozana Spokesman

News, Punjab

Budget Allocation of Rs 5.45 per Child has been Designated for Food Provision

Mid-Day Meal Program

CHANDIGARH: In a Noteworthy move, approximately 2 lakh Upper Kindergarten (UKG) students in government and aided primary schools across Punjab will now be included in the Mid-Day Meal program, effective from September 1. The expansion of the program to encompass UKG students falls under the ambit of the Central Government's PM-Potion Scheme, signifying an effort to enhance the nutritional support provided to young learners.

Previously, the Mid-Day Meal program extended to students from 1st to 5th standard in the primary section. This endeavor was aimed at ensuring that school-going children have access to nutritious meals, promoting their overall well-being and facilitating their educational experience. In government schools across Punjab, where 1.4 lakh children are enrolled in the primary section, over 10 lakh children are already beneficiaries of the school lunch initiative. With the program's extension, an additional 2 lakh children in the state are set to receive mid-day meals from September 1, 2023.

Notably, The directives for implementing this expansion have been issued by the Punjab State Mid-Day Meal Society on Wednesday. A budget allocation of Rs 5.45 per child has been designated for food provision, encompassing staples such as rice and porridge. The program also addresses the essential aspect of staff coordination, with instructions issued for the recruitment and allocation of cooks and helpers.

Under the revised scheme, Rs 5.45 per child (corresponding to 100 grams of food grains) has been allotted for the primary section, while Rs 8.17 per child (equivalent to 150 grams of food grains) has been earmarked for the upper primary section.

However, it is important to note that Lower Kindergarten (LKG) children are not encompassed in the expanded mid-day meal initiative. Democratic Teachers Front state president Vikram Dev has expressed the sentiment that inclusion of LKG students in the program would have been beneficial. He further suggested that the Punjab government engage in dialogue with the central authorities regarding this matter. In the interim, he recommended that provisions be made at the local level to provide meals to LKG children.