The Telangana government is mulling to implement a Mid-Day Meals scheme that could benefit as many as five lakh college going students in the state. A decision on if the state can afford free lunch will be taken by the Telangana Chief Minister, sometime next week.
The state cabinet that met on Saturday has decided to study and examine the possibilities of rolling out this scheme first to junior colleges. The announcement was made at a Cabinet Sub-committee which was chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister (Education) Kadiam Srihari on Saturday. The Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had directed the sub-committee to examine the possibility of extending the scheme to students of government colleges.
The mid day meal scheme will be extended to students of government junior, model junior, degree, BEd, DEd, and polytechnic colleges.
The state government intends to tie up with Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO, to submit at least three proposals for implementing the scheme for college students. The NGO has been implementing the mid-day meal scheme in the schools in the state under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) a partly centrally funded scheme. However, the move to roll out midday meal scheme to college going students will be wholly state funded.
Under the first proposal, the government will be supplying the raw material and the NGO will serve cooked food. Under the second, the foundation will handle the entire operation and supply cooked food to the institutions. Another proposal will be to supply lunch comprising Pulihora, Black Rice, and Upma made from millets such as foxtail, raagi, and maize among others, reported Telangana Today.
The NGO has been advised to make arrangements, to set up kitchens and other equipment in all 31 districts of the State for implementing the scheme. The officials concerned have been directed to examine the feasibility of supplying food to colleges from nearby hotels before August 3 and submit their reports for consideration.