Budget 2018: Akshaya Patra expects increased spending on Mid-Day Meal Scheme
Non-Profit Organisation Akshaya Patra Foundation, which is a partner of the Karnataka education department in providing mid-day meals to schools, has said that the education sector is likely to get more funding in the upcoming Budget 2018.
Akshaya Patra Foundation's Ajay Kavishwar said that the mid-day meal and girl education initiatives are likely to gain more weightage than last year's Budget.
"The Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) benefits over 9.78Cr children across the country, providing them nutritional support as well as an incentive to come to school. It has been a vital cog in the wheel as far as the National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC) 2016is concerned," Kavishwar, who is the Akshaya Patra Foundation's Director (PR, Planning and Advocacy), said in a statement.
"The NPAC was formulated to address children's rights with respect to 4 key priority areas: survival, health and nutrition, education and development, and protection and participation; the Mid-Day Meal Programme seeks to mediate in two of these directly," his statement added.
Kavishwar said that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Mid-Day Meal Initiative is having the desired impact.
"The next logical step would be to extend the scope of the initiative by transforming this 'school lunch programme' to a 'school nutrition programme.' This could be done by including breakfast and snacks to further ameliorate children's health and nutrition status," he said.
"In this case, especially in the case of snacks, cooked meals could be replaced by ready-to-eat supplementation in the form of milk, cookies, etc. It would be beneficial if the Central and State Governments could explore the possibility of allocating them based on region-specific nutrition requirements of children," he added.
Children will benefit from increased allocation of funds to allied programmes such as the Swachh Vidyalaya Programme under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Kavishwar further said.