With Chief Minister’s breakfast scheme showing improvement in attendance in primary schools, the DMK government in Tamil Nadu is all set to expand the scheme to cover 30,122 primary schools in the state from the upcoming academic year.
A total of 18 lakh students from classes 1 to 5 will benefit through the ambitious scheme and Finance minister P.T.R. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on Monday allocated Rs 500 crore for the scheme in the state budget.
In his budget speech, PTR said, “The chief minister’s breakfast scheme is being implemented in 1,937 primary government schools and is benefitting 1,48,315 students. The scheme will be expanded to cover all the 30,122 schools in Tamil Nadu.”
Noting that the children studying in government schools are stunted by growth and malnutrition, PTR in his budget speech said that the chief minister launched the breakfast scheme last year to ensure that students don’t come to schools hungry, without eating breakfast. He said the students coming hungry to school may be unable to concentrate on studies.
PTR also pointed out that the scheme has helped improve attendance by 10 per cent in 624 schools, 20 per cent in 462 schools and 30 per cent in 193 schools. In Tirupattur, Ariyalur, Perambalur and Thiruvarur districts attendance of students have increased in all the schools where the breakfast scheme was implemented. The chief minister’s breakfast scheme which was introduced on a pilot basis in 1,543 elementary schools has helped in improving attendance in 1,319 schools. A state planning commission study in its report submitted to the government recently said that the scheme has proved to be successful and improved attendance in primary schools.
PTR’s budget speech also noted the increase in enrollment of female students into colleges because of the Rs.1,000 given per month for their higher education. “Compared to the year 2021-22, 29 per cent more girls have entered colleges this year, which is an addition of 20,477 girl students. The fact that the many girls who did not pursue higher education after completing their schooling have now enrolled in colleges is a testimony to the success of this scheme,” Thiaga Rajan informed the state assembly in his budget speech.
Under the Pudhumai Penn scheme, the government is giving Rs.1,000 every month to girl students from classes 6 to 12 who want to pursue higher education. “A total of 2.20 lakh girl students have benefitted through this scheme in the last one year,” PTR noted.
In yet another scheme for women's welfare, the state government has allocated Rs 30,000 crore for credit linkage to women Self Help Groups (SHGs). “In the current year, so far, women self-help groups have received bank loans of around Rs. 24,712 crore,” Thiaga Rajan noted. The government, in a mission to address the difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs, announced that it will establish an exclusive startup mission for women. “Women entrepreneurs continue to face difficulties in accessing adequate, timely credit and marketing of products. To address these challenges the Government will establish an exclusive Startup Mission for women. This mission will facilitate women entrepreneurs in all aspects of their business,” Thiaga Rajan said.