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13th April Current Affairs

Midday meal and supplements

(GS-II: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society)

In News:

From the next academic session, Karnataka is likely to become the 13th state to provide eggs under the midday meal scheme.

The proposal comes on the back of successive surveys pointing out high prevalence of malnutrition, anemia and low immunity among children in many parts of the

The National Family Health Survey-V found 35% children under five stunted, and around 20% wasted.

PM Poshan/midday meal scheme:

Midday meal scheme was renamed PM Poshan Shakti Nirman or PM Poshan in 2021.

It was launched on August 15 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme.

Coverage: Initially, it was launched for students up to Class 5. In 2007, the UPA government expanded it to Class 8.

The Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.


The first initiative to provide meals to children had been taken by the erstwhile Madras Municipal Corporation around 1920.

In post-Independence India, Tamil Nadu was again the pioneer, with Chief Minister K Kamaraj rolling out a school feeding scheme in 1956.

Kerala had a school lunch scheme run by a humanitarian agency from 1961.

The state government officially took over the initiative on December 1, 1984, making Kerala the second state in the country to have a school lunch programme.

What is the scale of the scheme today?

The scheme covers 11.80 crore children across Classes 1 to 8 (age group 6 to 14) in11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools and those run by local bodies.

In the Budget for 2022-23, the Centre has earmarked Rs 10,233 crore for the scheme, while the states are expected to spend Rs 6,277 crore.

Legal rights:

It is guaranteed under the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).

It is also based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in People’s Union of Civil Liberties vs Union of India and Others (2001).

Calories requirements:

For children in primary grades: at least 450 calories and 12 gm protein.

For upper primary children, the requirements are 700 calories and 20 gm protein.


Under the rules, the allocation of Rs 4.97 per child per day (primary classes) and Rs 7.45 (upper primary) are shared in 60:40 ratio with states and UTs with a legislature, and 90:10 with the Northeastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while the Centre bears 100% of the costs in UTs without legislature.

But the states and UTs that supplement the meals with additional items such as milk and eggs contribute more.

Components such as payments to cooks and workers are also split in the same ratio between the Centre and states.

‘2+2’ format of dialogue

(GS-II: Effects of policies of developed nations)

In News:

The fourth ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the United States is underway in Washington DC.


India’s External Affairs and Defence Ministers, S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, are meeting with their American counterparts, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

What are 2+2 talks?

The 2+2 dialogue is a format of meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues.


A 2+2 ministerial dialogue enables the partners to better understand and appreciate each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities taking into account political factors on both sides, in order to build a stronger, more integrated strategic relationship in a rapidly changing global environment.

India’s strategic 2+2 partners:

India has 2+2 dialogues with four key strategic partners: the US, Australia, Japan, and Russia. Besides Russia, the other three countries are also India’s partners in the Quad.

The US is India’s oldest and most important 2+2 talks partner.

Outcomes of the ‘2+2’ dialogues:

Over the years, the strategic bilateral relationship with its partners, including the dialogues held in the 2+2 format, have produced tangible and far-reaching results for India.

India and the US have signed a troika of “foundational pacts” for deep military cooperation, beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, followed by the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) after the first 2+2 dialogue in 2018, and then the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020.

State Energy and Climate Index

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

Recently, the NITI Aayog launched the State Energy and Climate Index (SECI).


It is the first index that aims to track the efforts made by states and UTs in the climate and energy sector.

State Energy and Climate Index:

The States have been categorized based on size and geographical differences as larger and smaller States and UTs.

The index is based on 2019-20 data.

The states and UTs are categorized into three groups: Front Runners, Achievers, and Aspirants.

The objectives of the index are:

Ranking the States based on their efforts towards improving energy access, energy consumption, energy efficiency, and safeguarding the environment.

Helping drive the agenda of the affordable, accessible, efficient and clean energy transition at the State level.

Encouraging healthy competition among the states on different dimensions of energy and climate.

It ranks the states’ performance on 6 parameters, namely:

  • DISCOM’s Performance.
  • Access, Affordability and Reliability of Energy.
  • Clean Energy Initiatives.
  • Energy Efficiency.
  • Environmental Sustainability.
  • New Initiatives.

The parameters are further divided into 27 indicators.

Performance of various states:

Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab have been ranked as the top three performers in the category of larger States, while Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were the bottom three States.

Goa emerged as the top performer in the smaller States category followed by Tripura and Manipur.

Among UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi and Daman & Diu/Dadra & Nagar Haveli are the top performers.

Punjab was the best performer in discom performance, while Kerala topped in access, affordability and reliability category.

Haryana was the best performer in clean energy initiative among larger States and Tamil Nadu in the energy efficiency category.

Jyotirao Phule

(GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues)

In News:

Social reformer Jyotirao Phule’s birth anniversary was observed on April 11th.


He was a multifaceted personality who worked tirelessly for social equality, women empowerment and boosting education.

Phule is widely respected as a champion of social justice and source of hope for countless people.

Phule was born into a family that belonged to the Mali caste, that grew fruits and vegetables for a living.

Key contributions to the society:

Along with his wife Savitribai Phule, worked for the uplift of women and children in the marginalised communities.

In 1848, he started his first school for girls at Bhide Wada in Pune.

In 1873, he formed the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of Truth Seekers) along with his followers to fight for basic rights for people belonging to the lower castes.

They also fought to stop infanticide and promote widow remarriage.

To end the stigma of social untouchability, he opened his house to people of the lower caste and allowed them to use his water-well.

The couple set up ‘Balyata Pratibandak Gruha’, a childcare centre for the protection of pregnant widows and rape victims.

Title “Mahatma”:

In 1888, he was given the title of ‘Mahatma’ (‘great soul’) by another social activist Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar.

His famous works:

Tritiya Ratna (1855), Gulamgiri (1873), Shetkarayacha Aasud, or Cultivator’s Whipcord (1881), Satyashodhak Samajokt Mangalashtakasah Sarva Puja-vidhi (1887).