‘Provide meals or give food allowance to kids’: MHRD amid coronavirus outbreak
With schools shut due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) scare, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked all states to ensure that eligible students either get their meals or a commensurate food security allowance as building immunity through proper diet is an important element in the fight against the disease.
In a letter to all state governments, R C Meena, Joint Secretary in the HRD ministry, has said that students in schools, training centres and madrasas are provided one hot cooked meal under the scheme everyday.
However, under extraordinary circumstances, when schools have closed down due to the Covid-19 threat, the central government has decided to continue meeting the nutritional requirements for the students.
The HRD official, in his letter, said that if mid-day meals are not being provided on any day due to any reason, the state governments should pay the food security allowance.
According to the HRD ministry, nearly ₹11,000 crore was sanctioned in the Union budget for 2019-20 for the flagship mid-day meal scheme. There are over 100 million beneficiaries of the scheme and providing daily food security allowance would be a daunting logistical exercise.
However, officials maintained keeping the importance of providing proper nutrition to children in mind, it was a much needed step.HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said to protect the health and promote immunity among school going children, he has advised the states and Union Territories to provide freshly cooked meals or food security allowance to eligible children till schools are closed due to coronavirus precautions