• Tamil Nadu is a pioneering State which introduced the Nutritious Meal program during the year 1982.
  •  The objective was to enhance the enrolment of students and retain the attendance in schools and simultaneously to improve the nutritional levels among children.
  •  A Child who is hungry or ill cannot concentrate in his/her studies with full attention. Due to this factor a free hot cooked lunch is being provided to children in Primary and Upper Primary classes up to Tenth Standard in Government, Government aided Schools, Special Training Centres, Madarasas and  Maktabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.


1.To maximize enrollment and reduce school dropout rates with a view to universalize elementary education.

2.To provide nutrition to the under fed and under nourished children.

3.To encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school regularly and to help them in attaining formal education.

To empower women by offering employment opportunities


  1. i) Primary School children in the age group of 5-9 years and Upper Primary School children in the age group of 10-15 years are provided with hot cooked nutritious variety meals inside the school campus itself, for five days a week for a total of 220 days in a year.
  2. ii) The children enrolled under National Child Labour Project Special Schools in 16 Districts viz., Kancheepuram, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem, Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruppur, Thiruchirappalli, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Chennai are also provided with hot cooked nutritious variety meals for 312 days in a year.iii) Foodgrains (rice) @ 100 gm per child per school day for primary children (1st std to 5th std) and @ 150 gm for upper primary (6th std to 10th std) is provided.
  1. iv) Eggs are served to all children from 1st std to 10th std on all 5 working days. Colouring scheme for eggs for each day of the week, with impression “TamilNadu Arasu” (Tamilnadu Government) to prevent pilferage and staleness.
  2. v) Banana weighing 100 gms is provided for non egg eating children  @ Rs. 1.25 per banana.
  3. vi) 20 gms of Black Bengal gram / Green gram is provided to children taking into consideration the present day  protein, vitamins and calorific needs of   the children. viii) 20 gms of boiled potatoes on all Fridays   to supplement carbohydrates.
  1. ix) In order to address iodine and iron deficiency among children and as a part of health intervention programme, Double Fortified Salt is used for cooking which prevents iodine deficiency in children thereby preventing goitre.
  2. x) During important occasions, Sweet Pongal is served to children by using Jaggery and Ghee.


The total number of beneficiaries in Primary Schools (1st std to 5th std) are 26,88,345 covering 26,780 Nutritious Meal Centres.

The total number of beneficiaries in Upper Primary schools (6th std to 8th std) are  21,10,620 and in respect of 9th and 10th std are 6,98,066 covering 15,993  Noon Meal Centres.  As regards  the  National  Child Labour Project 8,816 beneficiaries are covered by 274 Noon Meal Centres.

Thus, total number of  beneficiaries  have  been  55,05,847  in 43,047  Noon  Meal Centres during  the year 2016-17.

Introduction of Variety Meals

As a special nutritional intervention 13 kinds of variety menu with 4 different kinds of egg masalas were introduced during the year  2013 in one pilot block of each district.

After ascertaining the success of this scheme, the variety meals programme has been extended to the rest of the blocks in all Districts from 15.8.2014.

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