Karnataka’s school education department has proposed that the state government consider expanding the distribution of eggs, bananas, and chikkis under the PM Poshan scheme to the students of government high schools also.
According to sources in the department, the special nutrition food (SNF) has received positive responses from students between the 6-14 age group, or those studying in classes 1-8. In addition, officials also believe that the malnutrition problem is also a huge concern among high school students. “We have given a proposal to the state government to consider expanding SNF to government high school students to address the malnutrition issue among those students. The proposal is under consideration and is likely to come up in the pre-budget session of the legislature,” a department official said.
According to the officials, the expansion of SNF to high school students is expected to benefit around 9-12 lakh students and cost around Rs 32 crore annually. Initially, the central government distributed eggs as part of the midday meal scheme in seven districts of the Kalyan Karnataka region suffering from malnutrition. However, the state government formally unveiled plans to expand the distribution of eggs/bananas/chikkis to all districts in July. But the plans were implemented across all divisions — Bengaluru, Mysore, Kalaburgi, and Belagavi — only in October.
According to data provided by the department, as on December 14, 38.37 lahks of the total 47.97 lakh students across the four divisions preferred eggs, followed by 3.37 lakh students who chose bananas and 2.27 lakh students who opted for chikkis.
While the distribution of SNF was also aimed at improving attendance in schools, the department is yet to conduct a full assessment.