ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Step Ahead in School Nutrition Programmes

The Case of Tamil Nadu

The introduction of the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme in government and aided schools is a timely intervention to ensure nutritious food for children aged between five and nine. The salient features of the scheme are highlighted and the potential ways to strengthen its long-term sustainability are discussed.

Tamil Nadu (TN) stepped up to an upgraded model in school feeding with the introduction of the Chief Ministers Breakfast Scheme (CMBS) in government and aided schools along with the midday meal (MDM) across the state (GoTN 2022a). This article examines the timing of the introduction of hot cooked food as breakfast, the salient features of the scheme, and potential ways to strengthen its long-term sustainability.

TN played a pioneering role in implementing MDM for schoolgoing children. The MDM scheme was first implemented in 1958 and became a universal programme in 1982. Subsequent governments have enhanced the programme by adding eggs and pulses (Swaminathan et al 2004; GoTN 2022b). Initially, it was derided as a populist programme, but it soon became a national model (Drze and Sen 2013). Evaluation studies revealed that MDM improved the average attendance of enrolled students (Rajan and Jayakumar 1992; Swaminathan et al 2004). A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that MDM has positively contributed to the nutritional status of children, thus providing intergenerational transmission of benefits (Chakrabarti et al 2021). Drze and Sen (2013) have described the introduction of this vital scheme and other social infrastructure facilities in TN and attributed its success to democratic politics allied with public pressure. Therefore, school meals always play a prominent role in social infrastructure in TN.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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