Mid-day meals to continue during vacation in drought-hit areas

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Bhubaneswar: Mid-day meal (MDM) program will continue in 36, 000 schools spread over 27 drought-hit districts of the state during the summer vacation. The decision, which would involve an additional cost of 81 crore to the state exchequer, was taken at the steering committee meeting here today.

Similarly, the proposal to increase the budget for the MDM program across the state has also been approved. The total budget for the purpose has been hiked to Rs 975 crore from 915 crore. The sharing of financial burden between the Centre and the State will be in the ratio of 60:40.

“The main objective of the meeting was to approve the budget for the 2016-17 financial year. For this year, the budget allocation is pegged at around Rs 975 crore and the sharing pattern between the Centre and State has been finalized at the ratio of 60:40. After the approval here, the budget will be sent to the Central government. Moreover, a lot of important decisions were also taken. It was being reported that the amount of rice given to students was not adequate. Hence, we have decided to empower teachers of around 4000-5000 schools to carryout checks with the help of a weighing scale on a pilot basis. We have also proposed to the state government to provide LPG connections to 10000 more schools. A budget to provide mid-day meals in schools in the drought-hit areas during summer vacation has been approved. However, we are currently studying its feasibility keeping in mind how far students will be able to come to schools in the prevailing heat wave conditions,” said Gangadhar Sahoo, State Nodal Officer of MDM program

The steering committee meeting was chaired by the Chief Secretary while the Development Commissioner and senior officials of the School & Mass Education, Food Supplies, Health, Women & Child Development, Fisheries & Animal Resources departments were present.

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