Midday meals will be provided to students even during the summer vacation in schools in view of the lockdown imposed to fight COVID-19, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said on Tuesday.
The minister also directed the states to start evaluating the answer sheets of the board exams of Classes 10 and 12, and facilitate the CBSE. The HRD minister made the comments at a meeting held through video-conferencing with state education ministers.
"During lockdown, ration is being provided under midday meal scheme for the children to get adequate and nutritious food. Approval is being given for providing mid-day meal during summer holidays of schools, on which an additional expenditure of about Rs 1,600 crore will be made. In addition, under the mid-day meal scheme, an ad-hoc grant of Rs 2,500 crore is being issued for the first quarter," Nishank said.
"In wake of COVID-19, the annual central allocation of cooking cost (or procurement of pulses, vegetables, oil, spices and fuel) under the midday meal scheme is enhanced to Rs 8,100 crore from Rs 7,300 crore, an increment of 10.99 per cent," he added.
Asking the states to begin the evaluation process of board exam papers, the minister said, "The evaluation process must begin and states must facilitate CBSE to evaluate answer sheets of the students in their respective states. States where Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya are approved but could not be started due to lack of land or running on less capacity are requested to transfer the land quickly so that the children of the state can get benefit from it.