KCR's vision: Nutritious breakfast for Telangana schools aims to tackle dropouts, malnutrition

The scheme is not a freebie or just an extension of the mid-day meal programme, it also aims to address the dropout rates and malnutrition among children

KCRs vision: Nutritious breakfast for Telangana schools aims to tackle dropouts, malnutrition

HYDERABAD: The Telangana Government on Friday launched the Chief Minister's Breakfast Scheme for school children, which aims to feed about 23 lakh students 27,147 Government schools across the State.

A number of children who study in Government schools come from homes where their parents are either sanitary workers, construction workers or even agricultural labourers. They leave home early for work and thus their children tend to not have breakfast which provides them with essential nutrients and thus the breakfast scheme aims to check that scenario.

But the scheme is not a freebie or just an extension of the mid-day meal programme. While the variety wholesome menu of the breakfast scheme takes care of the nutritional needs of a child, it also aims to address an important issue plaguing the society which is reducing the dropout rates in schools.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 33 per cent of girls are reported to be dropouts due to poverty in the country. For better understanding, below is a list of percentage of school dropouts across various states in India

Bihar: 20.46%

Gujarat: 17.85%

Assam: 20.3%

Andhra Pradesh: 16.7%

Punjab : 17.2%

Meghalaya: 21.7%

Karnataka: 14.6%

Madhya Pradesh: 23.8%.

While dropouts are high in States like Bihar, Assam and Madhya Pradesh, Telangana is among the states with the lowest dropout rate which stands at 13.7%. To bring down this number further, the Telangana Government launched the breakfast scheme. With food being a worrisome factor for parents, the scheme aims to addresses this concern.

Reducing malnourishment

Apart from dropouts, India has a high prevalence of malnutrition, and children from low-income families are particularly vulnerable. A recent study showed that malnutrition in the country is worst among the children of Maharashtra, Bihar and Gujarat, and is high in states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Earlier this year in March, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, responding to a question in Rajya Sabha, said that according to Mission Poshan 2.0 data, out of approximately 5.6 crore children measured in the month of February 2023, the percentage of severely malnourished children came up to 2.6 per cent which is a massive 14,56,000 children in India! Also, the percentage of malnourished children was found to be 7.7 per cent which comes to around 43 lakh.

The breakfast scheme launched in Telangana today, along with mid-day meals, addresses the issue of malnutrition among children and promote their overall health and well-being. There are many leaders in the country but only a few like Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao have the foresight to build a strong future generation for the betterment of our country. In that sense, KCR is a true patriot and is taking care of children today. In that process, Telangana is currently the only State in the country to provide breakfast to children from class 1 to 10. The hope is that what Telangana is practicing today will become the norm across the country tomorrow.

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