Mid-Day Meal Scheme: Enhancing Nutrition & Education for School Children
The Noon Meal Scheme, also known as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, is a school feeding program implemented in India. It was introduced to address the issues of malnutrition, hunger, and lack of education among school-going children. The scheme aims to provide nutritious meals to children to improve their nutritional status and encourage regular school attendance.
Origin & History
The origins of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme can be traced to the pre-independence era when some states in India introduced feeding programs for school children. However, the scheme was formally launched on August 15, 1995, by the Government of India as a centrally sponsored program. The initial focus was to provide free lunches to children in primary schools, but over time, it expanded to cover children up to the upper primary level (Class VIII).
The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme was first introduced in Tamil Nadu, India. It was initiated as a pilot project in 1955 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj, to improve the nutritional status of children and increase school attendance. The scheme was initially implemented in Chennai (formerly known as Madras) and gradually expanded to cover more schools in the state. In fact, Puducherry was the first State/UT to launch MDM.
The success of the MDM Scheme in Tamil Nadu led to its adoption and replication in other states of India. Over time, the central government recognized the scheme’s potential and implemented it nationally, providing assistance and guidelines to all states to implement and manage it effectively.
Today, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is implemented in almost all states and union territories of India. It has become one of the most extensive school feeding programs in the world, covering millions of students nationwide.
In a few States or Union Territories of India, MDM is known as:
- Andhra Pradesh: Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Gujarat: Madhyahan Bhojan Yojana
- Rajasthan: Annapurna Rasoi Yojana
- Uttar Pradesh: Mid-Day Meal Annapurna Rasoi Yojana
- Bihar: Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana (includes provision for girls’ education along with meals)
- Jharkhand: Mukhyamantri Dal Bhat Yojana
- Odisha: Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Maharashtra: Bal Thackeray Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- West Bengal: Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Karnataka: Ksheera Bhagya Scheme (includes provision for milk along with meals) etc.
It’s important to note that these names are subject to change, and there may be variations or additional regional names used within states or union territories. The specific names may depend on local adaptations, branding choices, or modifications made by the respective state governments. In addition to MDM Scheme, a few states have added a few items to MDM Menu, which is being provided to students. A few states have even extended coverage to private schools.
Details of the Scheme
Under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the government provides free meals to children attending government and government-aided elementary classes/schools. The meals typically include rice, lentils, vegetables, and fruits, ensuring a balanced diet. The program also emphasizes the importance of hygiene and cleanliness in preparing and serving meals.
As has already been mentioned above that Tamil Nadu was the first state to introduce the MDM Scheme; its success and impact have led to its widespread adoption throughout India as an essential intervention for promoting education, child welfare, and nutrition among school-going children.
Coverage & Number Covered
The scheme covers all children nationwide enrolled in government and government-aided primary and upper primary schools. The number of children the program covers is vast, with millions of students benefiting from the scheme. The exact number varies annually and is influenced by school enrollment and government budget allocations.
The implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme comes with several challenges. Some key challenges include
- Ensuring adequate infrastructure & kitchen facilities
- Maintaining quality and hygiene standards
- Addressing logistical issues; and
- Managing the supply chain for food ingredients.
Additionally, there have been occasional reports of mismanagement, pilferage, and instances of food contamination, which may pose risks to the health and safety of the children.
Benefits for Students & Parents
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme has several benefits for students and parents. Firstly, it incentivizes parents to send their children to school regularly, as they are assured of at least one nutritious meal each day. The scheme also helps reduce malnutrition and improve the children’s overall health, leading to better cognitive development and academic performance. For parents, the scheme relieves the financial burden of providing a meal to their children, especially for families facing economic hardships.
Mid-Day Meal in Samagra Shiksha
Samagra Shiksha is an integrated program for school education launched in 2018 that incorporates various initiatives, including the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The scheme operates under the Samagra Shiksha framework, ensuring children receive proper nutrition and quality education. Implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Samagra Shiksha involves adequate coordination between various stakeholders, including the central government, state governments, and local authorities, to ensure the effective delivery of meals to eligible students.
Menu of Mid-day Meal
The specific menu of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme may vary from state to state and even from school to school. However, the aim is to provide school children with a balanced and nutritious meal. MDM menu that is generally being followed is presented below:
- Rice: Rice is a staple component of the meal and provides carbohydrates for energy.
- Dal (Lentils): Dal is a good source of protein and is usually included in the meal to supplement the rice.
- Vegetables: Various vegetables are included to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Common vegetables include potatoes, peas, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Chapati or Roti: In some regions, chapatis or rotis (Indian bread) are provided instead of rice. They also serve as a source of carbohydrates.
- Fruits: Fresh Fruits having nutritional value are often included in the meal, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
It is worth noting that the menu may be modified based on local dietary preferences, seasonal availability of ingredients, and cultural factors. The government provides guidelines to ensure the meals are nutritious, hygienically prepared, and meet the necessary dietary requirements for growing children.
Norm per Diet/Student in Primary & Upper Primary Student?
The norms for the quantity of food provided per student under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme vary depending on whether the student is in primary or upper primary school. The norms are subject to change in view of which it is better to refer to official notifications from time to time. The Government of India sets these norms, which are subject to periodic revisions. The following norms are in place:
- Primary Students (Classes I-V):
- Rice: 100 grams per student
- Dal (Lentils): 20 grams per student
- Vegetables: 50 grams per student
- Oil and Fat: 5 grams per student
- Other Ingredients (such as spices, salt, etc.): As per requirement
- Upper Primary Students (Classes VI-VIII):
- Rice: 150 grams per student
- Dal (Lentils): 30 grams per student
- Vegetables: 75 grams per student
- Oil and Fat: 7.5 grams per student
- Other Ingredients (such as spices, salt, etc.): As per requirement
These quantities are determined to provide the students with a balanced and nutritious meal, ensuring they receive adequate portions of rice, lentils, and vegetables. The specified quantities aim to meet growing children’s nutritional requirements and promote their health and well-being.
MDM: Cost per Student (In Rs.)
The cost norms per student per day under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme regarding Indian Rupees (INR) vary across states and are subject to revisions. It is important to note that these cost norms are subject to change and may differ across states and regions. As of now, the cost norms are as follows:
- Primary Students (Classes I-V): The cost norm ranged from INR 4.50 to INR 6.50 per student daily.
- Upper Primary Students (Classes VI-VIII): The cost norm ranged from INR 6.50 to INR 7.50 per student per day.
These cost norms cover the expenses of procuring ingredients, preparing the meals, and providing the mid-day meals to the students. The actual amount spent per student may vary slightly based on location, market rates, and economies of scale.
Cooking Arrangements: Who Cooks Food in Schools?
The responsibility for cooking food in schools under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme varies depending on the specific arrangements made by the state or local authorities. Generally, the cooking of meals can be carried out in one of the following ways:
- Centralized Kitchen: In some cases, schools may have centralized or central kitchens in the vicinity, where the food for multiple schools is prepared. These kitchens are equipped with appropriate cooking facilities and staffed by trained cooks or helpers responsible for preparing the meals.
- Decentralized Kitchen: In other cases, each school may have its kitchen facilities where the meals are cooked. The school may employ cooks or helpers to prepare the food on-site.
- Community Participation: In certain instances, cooking meals may involve community participation, where volunteers from the local community or parent-teacher associations contribute their time and effort to cook the meals.
The specific arrangements for cooking the meals can be influenced by factors such as the availability of infrastructure, the number of students, the geographical location, and the resources allocated for the program. The aim is to ensure that the meals are prepared hygienically, following proper food safety and hygiene practices, and meet the program’s nutritional requirements.
MDM is perhaps one of the oldest and most beneficiary schemes, which has helped students and their parents to a great extent. However, the implementation, especially in single-teacher/multiple-grade teaching, small schools, schools located in remote and naxal affect areas, etc., may not be smooth. Details are presented below, which may not be applied to all such schools.
Mid-day Meal in Single-teacher Schools
Managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme can pose challenges in single-teacher schools, where only one teacher is responsible for multiple tasks, including teaching and administrative duties. However, efforts are made by the authorities to ensure the successful implementation of the scheme in such schools.
Here are some common approaches used to manage the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in single-teacher schools:
- Community Involvement: In single-teacher schools, community involvement plays a crucial role. Local communities, parents, or volunteers may come forward to assist the teacher in managing the scheme. This could include procuring ingredients, cooking the meals, and serving them to the students.
- Meal Preparation by Students: In some cases, older students or student groups may be involved in the preparation of meals. Under the teacher’s guidance, students can take on responsibilities such as cutting vegetables, cleaning utensils, and cooking meals. This helps manage the workload and promotes a sense of responsibility and community participation among the students.
- Shared Responsibilities: The teacher divides the responsibilities related to the Mid-Day Meal Scheme among the students, assigning different tasks to different groups or individuals. This could include setting up the dining area, serving the meals, and cleaning up afterward. The workload can be shared by involving the students in these activities, and the scheme’s management becomes more manageable.
- Support from Higher Authorities: Depending on the location and administrative structure, single-teacher schools may receive support and supervision from higher authorities such as block-level education officials or cluster coordinators. These officials can provide guidance, training, and resources to assist the teacher in managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme effectively.
While managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in single-teacher schools may present challenges, collaborative efforts involving the community, students, and higher authorities can help ensure the successful implementation of the scheme and its benefits for the students.
Mid-day Meals in Small Schools
Managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme may have some unique considerations in small schools, too, where the student population/enrolment is relatively low. Here are some common approaches used to manage the scheme in small schools:
- Efficient Meal Planning: In small schools, it is essential to have efficient meal planning to avoid wastage and ensure that the meals are sufficient for all students. The teacher or designated staff member responsible for managing the scheme can plan the quantities of ingredients based on the number of students present on any given day. This helps in minimizing food wastage and optimizing the use of resources.
- Rotational Cooking: In small schools, rotational cooking can be employed to manage the preparation of meals. The meals can be cooked on a rotational basis, with different parents or community members taking turns to cook the meals for the students. This shares responsibility and promotes community involvement and a sense of ownership.
- Local Sourcing: In small schools, there may be opportunities to source ingredients locally. This can include procuring vegetables, grains, or other food items from nearby farmers or local markets. Local sourcing can help reduce costs, support the local economy, and ensure the availability of fresh and nutritious meal ingredients.
- Resource Sharing: Small schools close to each other can explore resource sharing. This can involve pooling resources among neighboring schools, such as kitchen facilities, cooking utensils, and storage spaces. By sharing resources, schools can optimize their capabilities and manage the scheme more effectively.
- Support from Government and NGOs: Small schools may receive support from government departments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. These organizations can provide guidance, training, and necessary resources to ensure the smooth implementation of the scheme in small schools.
It’s important to note that the specific management approaches may vary depending on the local context, available resources, and administrative structure. The aim is to ensure that the meals are prepared and served hygienically, meeting the students’ nutritional requirements while making the best use of available resources.
Mid-day Meal in Single-Teacher Multiple-Grade Schools
Managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in single-teacher multiple-grade schools can be challenging, as the teacher is responsible for various tasks, including teaching different grade levels and administrative duties. However, here are some strategies that can be employed to manage the scheme effectively:
- Planning and Time Management: The teacher needs to plan and manage their time efficiently to balance teaching responsibilities and meal management. This may involve allocating specific time slots for meal-related activities, such as meal preparation, serving, and cleanup.
- Student Involvement: Involving students in meal management can help alleviate the teacher’s workload. Older students or student groups can be assigned tasks such as setting up the dining area, serving food, or assisting in meal preparation under the teacher’s supervision.
- Rotational Duties: The teacher can establish a rotational system where students take turns assisting with meal-related tasks. This ensures that each grade level participates in the meal management process and shares the responsibility.
- Community Support: Seeking support from the local community can be valuable in managing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Community parents or volunteers can assist in tasks such as procuring ingredients, cooking, and serving the meals.
- Simplified Meal Options: To reduce the complexity of meal management, focusing on simple and nutritious meal options can be beneficial. This includes using ingredients that are easy to cook and require minimal preparation time.
- Batch Cooking: The teacher can utilize batch cooking techniques to prepare larger quantities of food that can be stored and served throughout the day. This reduces the need for constant cooking during school hours.
- Time-Saving Techniques: Employing time-saving techniques, such as using pressure cookers or pre-cut vegetables, can help expedite the cooking process and save time for the teacher.
- Collaborative Efforts: Collaboration with higher authorities, such as block-level education officials or cluster coordinators, can provide guidance, support, and resources to manage the Mid-Day Meal Scheme effectively in single-teacher multiple-grade schools.
The teacher needs to balance teaching responsibilities and meal management while ensuring that the students receive nutritious meals per the scheme’s guidelines.
Social Issues in Mid-day Meal Scheme
Social problems have been reported in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme at a few locations. While the scheme has positively improved school attendance, nutrition, and educational outcomes for children, there have been instances where social issues have affected its implementation. Some of the social problems reported in the scheme include:
- Caste-based Discrimination: In some instances, caste-based discrimination has been reported in serving and consuming mid-day meals. Discriminatory practices, such as separate seating arrangements or denial of meals based on caste, have been reported in some areas, violating the principles of equality and inclusion.
- Gender Bias: Gender bias can also be a concern in implementing the scheme. Girls may face barriers to mid-day meals due to cultural or societal factors. It is essential to ensure that the scheme promotes equal access and participation for all students, regardless of gender.
- Social Exclusion: Students from marginalized communities or disadvantaged backgrounds may face social exclusion in the distribution or access to mid-day meals. Efforts are required to ensure that the scheme reaches all eligible children, irrespective of their social or economic background.
- Nutrition and Health Awareness: In some instances, a lack of awareness about nutrition and health among students and parents can impact the scheme’s effectiveness. At a few locations, children might be bringing food from the home. Proper education and awareness programs about the importance of a balanced diet and hygiene practices are necessary to address these issues.
To mitigate these social problems, the government and implementing agencies have raised awareness, promoted inclusivity, and addressed discriminatory practices. Measures include sensitization programs, community engagement, regular monitoring, and grievance redressal mechanisms. These efforts aim to ensure that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is implemented in a manner that is equitable, inclusive, and free from social biases or discrimination.
How MDM Helped Poor Students
The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme has significantly benefited poor students and their families in several ways. Here are some of how the scheme has helped:
- Nutritional Support: For many poor students, the mid-day meal provided through the scheme is a crucial source of nutrition. The meals are designed to be balanced and provide essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This helps address malnutrition and improves the overall health and well-being of students.
- Increased School Attendance: Providing mid-day meals has been instrumental in increasing school attendance among economically disadvantaged students. By providing a free meal during school hours, the scheme incentivizes parents to send their children to school regularly. This has a positive impact on their education and long-term prospects.
- Improved Learning: Proper nutrition is vital to cognitive development and concentration abilities. The MDM Scheme helps enhance students’ learning outcomes by ensuring that they receive nutritious meals. Students are more likely to be attentive, focused, and engaged in their studies, leading to improved academic performance.
- Alleviating Financial Burden: For families struggling with financial constraints, the mid-day meal reduces the economic burden of providing an additional meal for their children. By receiving a free meal at school, poor students and their families can save money that can be utilized for other essential needs, such as healthcare and basic amenities.
- Incentive for Education: The availability of mid-day meals incentivizes parents to send their children to school, especially in areas where access to food is limited. This helps break the cycle of poverty by providing an opportunity for education and improving prospects for economically disadvantaged students.
- Social Equality: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme promotes social equality by ensuring that all students receive a nutritious meal regardless of their socio-economic background. This helps bridge the gap between students from different economic strata and promotes inclusivity and equal opportunities in education.
Overall, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has positively impacted poor students and their families by providing essential nutrition, promoting school attendance, improving learning outcomes, alleviating financial burdens, and fostering social equality. It has been a critical intervention in addressing the challenges economically disadvantaged students face and promoting their overall development.
The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme faces several challenges in its implementation. These challenges vary across different regions and contexts. Common challenges & potential solutions are as follows:
- Quality & Safety of Meals: Ensuring the quality and safety of the meals is a significant challenge. This includes concerns related to hygiene, proper cooking practices, and ingredient quality. Regular training and capacity-building programs should be conducted for cooks and kitchen staff to enhance their knowledge of food safety and hygiene practices. Regular monitoring and inspections by relevant authorities can also help maintain quality standards.
- Infrastructure and Facilities: Inadequate infrastructure and kitchen facilities in schools can pose challenges to the effective implementation of the scheme. Lack of proper cooking equipment, storage facilities, and dining areas can hinder meal preparation and serving. Solutions may involve infrastructural improvements, such as constructing or upgrading kitchen facilities, providing necessary equipment, and creating sufficient dining spaces.
- Supply Chain Management: Ensuring a consistent supply of quality ingredients can be challenging, particularly in remote areas. Efficient supply chain management systems must be established to procure and distribute ingredients promptly. This can involve engaging local farmers, cooperatives, or organizations to ensure a steady supply of fresh and nutritious ingredients.
- Community Participation and Awareness: Lack of community participation and awareness about the scheme can affect effectiveness. Encouraging community involvement through parent-teacher associations, local volunteers, and social organizations can help overcome this challenge. Awareness campaigns can be conducted to inform parents and community members about the benefits of the scheme and their role in its success.
- Financial Sustainability: Adequate funding and financial sustainability of the scheme are crucial for its effective implementation. The government must allocate sufficient funds to ensure the provision of quality meals to all eligible students. Exploring partnerships with corporate social responsibility initiatives, NGOs, and other stakeholders can help mobilize additional resources to support the scheme.
- Data Management and Monitoring: Accurate data management and monitoring systems are essential to track the scheme’s implementation, coverage, and impact. Implementing digital platforms for data collection, monitoring, and reporting can help streamline the process and facilitate timely decision-making. Regular monitoring visits by education officials and third-party audits can ensure transparency and accountability.
- Social Issues and Discrimination: Addressing social issues, such as caste-based discrimination or exclusion, requires awareness campaigns, sensitization programs, and strict implementation of anti-discrimination policies. Promoting inclusivity and ensuring equal meal access for all students can help overcome these challenges.
It is important to note that the solutions to these challenges require a multi-stakeholder approach involving government authorities, school administrations, community members, and civil society organizations. Continuous evaluation, feedback mechanisms, and collaborative efforts can help overcome these challenges and ensure the effective implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
Kitchen in Schools
Not all schools have dedicated kitchens for cooking meals under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The availability of kitchen facilities varies depending on factors such as the school’s infrastructure, resources allocated to the scheme, and local arrangements made by the authorities.
Schools may sometimes have well-equipped and dedicated kitchen facilities where the meals are prepared. These schools are typically larger and have the necessary infrastructure to accommodate cooking activities. They may have cooking equipment, storage areas for ingredients, and proper sanitation facilities.
However, in many cases, kitchen facilities may be limited or absent, especially in smaller schools or rural areas. In such situations, alternative arrangements are made. These can include:
- Community Kitchens: In some schools, community kitchens are set up where the meals are prepared. These kitchens may be located within the school premises or nearby community centers. Local volunteers, parents, or community members may be involved in cooking the meals.
- Decentralized Cooking: In schools without dedicated kitchens, meal cooking may occur in decentralized locations. This can include makeshift cooking areas or open spaces where temporary arrangements are made for meal preparation.
- Outsourced Catering: In some instances, the cooking and catering services may be outsourced to external agencies or organizations. These agencies have their centralized kitchens or facilities from where the meals are prepared and delivered to the schools.
It’s important to note that the absence of a dedicated kitchen does not necessarily mean that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme cannot be implemented. Alternate arrangements are made to ensure that the meals are prepared safely and hygienically, adhering to the prescribed guidelines.
LPG Gas Connection in Schools
The provision of cooking LPG gas in schools to prepare meals under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme varies depending on factors such as the availability of infrastructure, resources allocated to the scheme, and local arrangements made by the authorities from school to school in a cluster, block, district or even in a State or UT.
In schools with dedicated kitchen facilities, it is common to have LPG gas connections for cooking purposes. These schools are typically larger and better equipped to accommodate cooking activities. They may have gas stoves or burners installed in their kitchens, and the necessary safety measures, such as proper ventilation and fire safety equipment, are implemented.
However, in schools with limited or absent dedicated kitchen facilities, the availability of LPG gas connections may be more challenging. In such cases, alternative cooking methods are employed. These include using traditional stoves, wood-fired cookstoves, or other locally available cooking fuel sources. The specific arrangements depend on the local context and availability of resources.
It is worth noting that efforts are being made to promote cleaner cooking fuels and technologies, such as LPG or improved biomass stoves, to enhance the safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability of school cooking practices. Adopting cleaner cooking fuels can help minimize indoor air pollution and ensure a healthier cooking environment for the school staff involved in meal preparation.
Cost of LPG
Perhaps, one of the efficient ways to cook MDM in schools is the use of clean fuel, such as LPG, but the same may not ab available in schools across the Country. The government typically bears the cost of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) for cooking under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The government provides funds specifically allocated for the scheme’s implementation, including expenses related to cooking fuel, among other components.
The responsibility of funding the LPG gas cylinders and refills for cooking meals in schools rests with the respective government departments or agencies overseeing the implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. These departments receive budgetary allocations from the central or state government to cover the costs associated with the scheme, including the cost of LPG.
The government may have contracts or agreements with gas suppliers or agencies to ensure the timely delivery of LPG cylinders to schools participating in the scheme. The procurement and distribution of LPG cylinders are coordinated through these arrangements to ensure a consistent supply of cooking meals.
It may be observed that the funding & cost arrangements vary depending on the specific policies and guidelines established by each state or region within the Country. Therefore, while the government generally bears the cost of LPG for cooking, the exact implementation details may differ from one region to another.
Sustainability of MDM
The sustainability of the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme depends on several factors, including adequate funding, practical implementation, community participation, and continuous monitoring and evaluation. Here are some considerations regarding the sustainability of the scheme:
- Funding: Adequate and sustained funding is essential for the long-term sustainability of the MDM Scheme. The government needs to allocate sufficient budgetary resources to ensure the provision of quality meals to all eligible students. It is crucial to prioritize the scheme’s funding within the education sector to maintain its continuity and effectiveness.
- Government Commitment: The government’s commitment to the MDM Scheme is crucial for its sustainability. Governments must prioritize the scheme and allocate the necessary resources, personnel, and infrastructure to ensure its smooth functioning. Policy stability and consistent support from the government are vital for the scheme’s sustainability.
- Community Engagement: Active involvement and support from the local community, parents, and stakeholders contribute to the scheme’s sustainability. Community participation can include contributions in terms of volunteering, monitoring, and awareness-building initiatives. Building partnerships with civil society organizations, NGOs, and local communities can strengthen the scheme’s sustainability.
- Capacity Building: Continuous training and capacity-building programs for teachers, cooks, and kitchen staff are crucial for maintaining the quality and effectiveness of the scheme. Training programs should focus on various aspects, including hygiene practices, nutrition education, menu planning, and cooking techniques. Building the capacity of stakeholders involved in the implementation ensures the sustainability of the scheme’s objectives.
- Monitoring & Evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are essential to assess the scheme’s impact, identify challenges, and make necessary improvements. Monitoring helps ensure compliance with quality standards, detect any irregularities or issues, and take corrective measures promptly. Continuous evaluation helps refine the implementation strategies and ensure the scheme’s sustainability.
- Policy Innovations: Governments must adapt and innovate their policies and strategies based on evolving needs and challenges. This includes incorporating technological solutions for data management, exploring public-private partnerships, leveraging local resources, and adopting best practices from successful implementation models.
While the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has been in operation for several years and has significantly impacted education and child welfare, continued efforts and commitment are required to ensure its long-term sustainability. By addressing funding needs, promoting community engagement, investing in capacity building, and implementing effective monitoring and evaluation systems, the scheme’s sustainability can be strengthened.
Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman
The Midday Meal Scheme was renamed the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM Poshan) Scheme on September 29, 2021. The renaming was announced by the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The PM Poshan Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme that aims to improve the nutritional status of children aged 6-14 years. The scheme provides cooked meals to children in government and government-aided schools.
The renaming of the scheme is part of the government’s efforts to focus on nutrition. The PM Poshan Scheme will focus on providing nutritious meals to children and improving the quality of food preparation and distribution. The scheme will also focus on monitoring the nutritional status of children and on providing interventions to improve their nutritional status.
The PM Poshan Scheme is a significant step in the government’s efforts to improve the nutritional status of children in India. The scheme can potentially reach millions of children and improve their health and well-being.
Details of the PM Poshan Scheme are as follows:
- The scheme will be implemented for five years, from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- The total budget for the scheme is Rs. 54,061.73 crores, of which the Centre and Rs will contribute Rs. 31,733.17 crore. The states and union territories will contribute 22,328.56 crore.
- The scheme will cover all children aged 6-14 years studying in government and government-aided schools.
- The scheme will provide children-cooked meals, snacks, and milk.
- The scheme will also focus on improving the quality of food preparation and distribution.
- The scheme will monitor the nutritional status of children and will provide interventions to improve their nutritional status.
The PM Poshan Scheme is a significant step in the government’s efforts to improve the nutritional status of children in India. The scheme can potentially reach millions of children and improve their health and well-being.
Mal-Practices in MDM Scheme?
A Few instances of corruption have been reported in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Despite efforts to ensure transparency and accountability, some corruption, mismanagement, and pilferage of funds and food grains have emerged. These cases often involve embezzlement of funds, low-quality or adulterated food, diversion of food grains to the black market, and irregularities in the procurement and distribution processes.
To combat corruption, the government has taken several measures, including implementing stricter monitoring mechanisms, conducting regular audits, and encouraging public participation in monitoring the scheme. Technology-based solutions, such as digitized beneficiary databases, GPS tracking of delivery vehicles, and toll-free helplines, have been introduced to enhance transparency and enable better tracking of the scheme’s implementation.
MDM in a Nutshell
It is important to note that while corruption may occur in a few instances, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has played a crucial role in providing meals to millions of children in elementary grades across the Country and has significantly improved their nutritional status and school attendance. Efforts are ongoing to address and mitigate corruption and ensure the scheme operates efficiently and effectively.