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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » V. State Mechanisms » Notable State Policies, Programmes and Legislations » Tamil Nadu Nutrition Programmes


Through the 50s-60s Tamil Nadu, the then Madras State, had a number of initiatives addressing nutrition through mid-day meals, central kitchens and assistance from CARE. In 1982 the then chief minister, MGR, expanded the scheme to become the Noon Meals Program (NMP) to ensure that no child went hungry. The 1979 ICDS programme and the 1980 Tamil Nadu Integrated Nutrition Programmes (TINP) (later renamed WB-ICDS-III) were integrated into the NMP infrastructure. The noon meal feeds children and adults hot rice meals cooked on the spot.

The project started by covering children in school in rural areas but realised it was hard to access the below 5 age group. NMP began setting up a number of centres to cover the 2+ to 4+ age group in rural areas. It also expanded to urban pre-school and school children up to age 15. In 1983 old age pensioners were also covered under the programme. In 1995 the project expanded to cover pregnant mothers for a period of 4 months. Hence under NMP school children eat their noon meal at school while preschoolers, pensioners and pregnant and lactating women eat at the pre-school centres. In 2000-2001 there were 71,721 centres under the combined ICDS, WB-ICDS-III and NMP schemes including school centres. The programme is feeding 77.25 lakhs children and 5.23 lakhs adults everyday.

The NMP is a substitute meal given in lieu of what children or adults could eat at home instead of a nutritional supplement. Integration of the three programmes has allowed for a programme that covered a vast number of people as well offers an integrated packet of services: health care, immunization, growth monitoring, and pre and post natal care for women, communication, nutrition education and nutritional meals. Tamil Nadu Nutrition Programmes