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Midday meal rate hike plea

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Monday urged the Centre to enhance the unit cost of midday meal for over 49 lakh students in 58,202 schools across the state. It also proposed inclusion of two lakh high school students in the scheme.

"The rate revision is essential in view of the growing price of essential commodities used in meal preparation," said school and mass education minister Badri Narayan Patra.

Under the scheme, Rs 4.58 is given for each primary student and Rs 6.83 for an upper primary child.

Though the minister demanded revision of the unit cost, he did not quote the rate and left the decision on the Centre. The proposal was made at a national workshop on midday meal here on Monday, which was attended by delegates from 18 states.

Union HRD ministry's director (midday meal) Vijaya Bhaskar Guralla said the proposal would be considered.

School and mass education secretary P.K. Mohapatra said Odisha had initiated innovative measures like SMS-based monitoring, mini hand wash stations and impact study by AIIMS and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

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