Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin launched a free breakfast scheme which brought about tremendous changes and smiles for the children.
In doing a careful personal survey, CM M K Stalin discovered that many children either miss school or come to school ravenously hungry and feel weak. On asking many children, he discovered many come to school without eating breaking. This is due to either not being very wealthy, neglect, or their parents being busy with work. Struggling with hunger, children cannot concentrate on their studies. Ultimately, just stumbling to reach school, many drop out or are demotivated to come to school.
Thus, he set up a free breakfast scheme which saw tremendous success. The children got motivated to come to school, were brighter, more positive and could study better. Each breakfast meal was made with care with different varieties each day.
He even sat with them and was encircled by the smiles of children who happily ate their kesari and rava upma. Dining alongside them, chief minister M K Stalin inaugurated the free nutritious breakfast scheme for government primary school students at Aadhimoolam corporation primary school in Madurai earlier.
The CM said the scheme is not about providing a freebie but it is the duty of the government to ensure that children are fed. “When I inspected a school in Chennai, I casually asked a child if they ate breakfast. I was shocked to learn that most students don’t have breakfast. I realized the immediate need for a breakfast scheme,” Stalin said at his inaugural address.
He asked the students to focus only on their studies and that they will be provided with breakfast and lunch to satisfy their hunger. “We are spending Rs 12.75 per child every day under the breakfast scheme. But it is not an expense for us because in future, when a student who is able to study well and reaches a good position by having this food and serves people, the result is priceless,” he said, adding that the noon meal was introduced in Tamil Nadu a century ago, and now it is being expanded to provide free breakfast.
The CM honoured Coimbatore’s famed ‘idli paati’, Kamalathal, who sold idlis for just one rupee for 30 years to provide food to the needy. He released the book ‘Oru Nootraandin Kalvi Puratchi’ detailing the history of Tamil Nadu’s initiatives in providing food for school students by handing her the first copy. School education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, social welfare minister P Geetha Jeevan and other ministers were present.
The free breakfast scheme is aimed at encouraging more children to continue to come to school and help prevent dropouts at primary level. It will cover 1,545 primary schools across the state at a cost of Rs 33.56 crore and benefit over 1.14 lakh children in the first phase. Its implementation will be monitored by district and school level committees consisting of officials from various departments, including school education, social welfare and Integrated Child Development Services, among others.
“I enjoyed the food served. We don’t get to eat such delicious food at home like this in the morning. We would be happy to eat it every day,” said I Shaheen Farhana, a Class III student of Aadhimoolam corporation primary school. School headmistress M R Uma said the breakfast would be served around 8 am. ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ volunteers and school management committee (SMC) members will be involved in the day-to-day implementation and monitoring of the scheme. Earlier, the CM inspected the central kitchen and also flagged off vehicles transporting the food to schools.
A tremendous venture that has not only brought smiles to the children but also enabled them to study better.