‘Mid-Day-Meal’ imperative for universalization of Elementary Education

‘School Health Prog’ to monitor students’ cognitive development in govt schools

Jammu:  The Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam Monday chaired a meeting of State Level Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (SLSMC) of Centrally Sponsored ‘Mid-Day-Meal’ (MDM) scheme and approved its budget proposal for the year 2020-21.

Administrative Secretaries of Finance Department, School Education Department, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department and Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Department participated in the meeting.

While reviewing the status and progress of implementation of MDM scheme during 2019-20, Chief Secretary impressed upon the School Education Department to boost universalization of elementary education by improving enrolment, attendance, retention, learning levels of students by supplementing their nutritional needs.

With regard to flagship ‘School Health Program’, it was informed that 12 lac students of government schools are aimed to be covered under the program to effectively monitor their cognitive developments. The Chief Secretary directed the department to complete the initial mapping of students by July 15th, 2020.

During 2019-20, it was mentioned that the Department organized district level cooking competitions for cook-cum-helpers in Jammu division. To promote deeper understanding of nutritional and healthy cooking among the 30 winners of these competitions, an advanced training course at Food Craft Institute, Jammu, is being exclusively organized by the department.

The Chief Secretary directed the department to recommend the proposal regarding enhancement in honorarium of cook-cum-helpers, to Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Further, the department is dedicatedly promoting ’kitchen garden’ concept across its government schools to ensure the supply of fresh and organic vegetables and make the educational institutes self reliant.

On the issue of construction of kitchen-cum-stores, Chief Secretary directed the department to clear the back log by September, 2020 after reconciling the same from concerned department.

The Chief Secretary appreciated the efforts of School Education Department to distribute 5828 metric tonnes of dry ration and Rs 14.48 Crores worth cooking cost through direct benefit transfer to about 8.29 lac students during COVID- 19 lockdown, a feat which has been acknowledged by the World Food Program.

While motivating School Education Department to enhance enrolment from 6.5 lacs to 7.01 lacs in government run educational institutions, Chief Secretary advised the officers to develop two schools per district as model schools by implementing best practices adopted over years toward providing quality education.

It was informed that currently, transportation cost in hilly terrain involving head-load from fair price shop to school is not included in total cost. The Chief Secretary directed the department to submit a proposal to Union Ministry for issuing revised district wise transportation rates under public distribution system through Deputy Commissioners.

The State Level Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (SLSMC) also approved the draft Annual Action Plan amounting to Rs 160 crores for financial year 2020-21.

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