TN to expand free breakfast scheme for primary school students in April

Chennai, Feb 9 : The Tamil Nadu government will be expanding its free breakfast scheme to more schools in the state. While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin had informed the state Legislative Assembly that the free breakfast scheme was a major success and that the government was keen to expand it. The government sources told IANS that the scheme would be expanded catering to more schools in April 2023. Notably, it was on September 15, the birth anniversary of C.N. Annadurai, the first DMK Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu that the free breakfast scheme was inaugurated by Chief Minister Stalin at Madurai. Five months after the scheme was introduced, it is considered one of the most accepted schemes of the state government with several children happy at their stomachs being filled. Pazhanimurugan, of Class IV in a government primary school at Chengalpattu while speaking to IANS said, "I am really happy. Earlier, I used to get only one or two biscuits and a little tea or coffee. However, after the government launched the free breakfast scheme, I am full in my tummy and my favourite food is Pongal." However, it may be noted that during the first phase of the scheme it was targeted to provide free breakfast to 1,14, 095 students across the state. This is only 10 per cent of the targeted 20,00,000 students. The government is planning to expand the scheme in phased manner. While the scheme has become a major hit among the children, the teachers are finding it tough as in most of the schools, the breakfast is served by the teachers. The school education department has appointed volunteers for serving breakfast to children but in many schools these volunteers are not at all present and the teachers are forced to serve the food. The children studying in government primary schools mostly hail from poor backgrounds and the scheme has been well accepted among the general public. Shantharam, an auto-rickshaw driver from Madurai while speaking to IANS said, "During Covid and after that I lost my job, my auto was taken away by financiers as I failed to repay the loan amount. Now I am working as a driver in another auto and don't have the means to provide healthy food to my children. The scheme of providing breakfast to children of government primary schools has helped people like me a lot as now we are assured that our kids are full in stomach". However, the scheme requires more modifications including stringent measures to assure that the volunteers appointed by the school education are serving the food instead of falling it on the shoulders of teachers. It may be noted that it was Tamil Nadu that started the free breakfast scheme for school students and this has become a major hit among students and their parents. /IANS


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