Chennai, Erode, Avadi already have such programmes
The State government is receptive to the idea of working with voluntary organisations to implement breakfast schemes in government schools in various parts of the State, according to a senior official.
Referring to the scheme being implemented in Chennai, the official said there were similar programmes in Erode and Avadi with the involvement of charitable institutions. “We welcome any other institution to join us for a similar breakfast programme,” the official added.
In Chennai, the breakfast scheme is jointly implemented by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Akshaya Patra Foundation. Launched a year ago, the scheme currently benefits 5,785 children from 24 schools falling under the purview of the local body. The plan is to make it pan-city, “covering all our Chennai Corporation schools, which means almost 1,00,000 kids would be fed every day”, said G. Prakash, Commissioner of the GCC, adding that the scheme should be seen as “a strong investment of a system that is ensuring healthy and stronger children”.
As for the apprehension being expressed in certain quarters that this could eventually lead to the privatisation of the scheme, both the government official and the Commissioner asserted that the new scheme will not replace the existing noon meal scheme, which is officially called the Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Nutritious Meal Programme.
Contrary to the perception being created by certain quarters, “it [the new scheme] is an additional benefit to the kids”, Mr. Prakash said.
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