Mid-Day Meal Scheme
With a view to enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995, initially in 2408 blocks in the country. By the year 1997-98 the NP-NSPE was introduced in all blocks of the country. It was further extended in 2002 to cover not only children in classes I-V of government, government aided and local body schools, but also children studying in EGS and AIE centres. Central Assistance under the scheme consisted of free supply of food grains @ 100 grams per child per school day, and subsidy for transportation of food grains up to a maximum of Rs.50 per quintal.
In September 2004 the scheme was revised to provide cooked mid day meal with 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in classes I-V in Government and aided schools and EGS/AIE centers. In addition to free supply of food grains, the revised scheme provided Central Assistance for (a) Cooking cost @ Re 1 per child per school day, (b) Transport subsidy was raised from the earlier maximum of Rs.50 per quintal to Rs.100 per quintal for special category states, and Rs.75 per quintal for other states, (c) Management, monitoring and evaluation costs @ 2% of the cost of food grains, transport subsidy and cooking assistance, (d) Provision of mid day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas.
In July 2006 the scheme was further revised to provide assistance for cooking cost at the rate of (a) Rs.1.80 per child/school day for States in the North Eastern Region, provided the NER states contribute Rs.0.20 per child/school day, and (b) Rs.1.50 per child/school day for other States and UTs, provided that these States and UTs contribute Rs.0.50 per child/school day.
The objectives of the mid day meal scheme are:
- Improving the nutritional status of children in classes I-V in Government, Local Body and Government aided schools, and EGS and AIE centres.
- Encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities.
- Providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought affected areas during summer vacation.
Programme Intervention and Coverage
To achieve the above objectives a cooked mid day meal with nutritional content as shown in column 3 of the table below will be provided to all children studying in classes I-V:
|Nutritional Content||Norm as per NP-NSPE, 2004||Revised Norm as per NP-NSPE, 2006|
|Micronutrients Adequate||Not Prescribed||quantities of micronutrients like iron, folic acid, vitamin-A etc.|
Components of the revised schemeThe revised scheme provides for the following components:
- Supply of free food grains (wheat/rice) @ 100 grams per child per School Day from the nearest FCI godown
- Reimbursement of the actual cost incurred in transportation of food grains from nearest FCI godown to the Primary School subject to the following ceiling :
- Rs.100 per quintal for 11 special category States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and
- Rs.75 per quintal for all other States and UTs
- Provision of assistance for cooking cost at the following rates :
- States in North-Eastern Region: @ Rs.1.80per child per school day provided the State Govt. contributes a minimum of 20 paise.
- For other States & UTs : @ Rs.1.50 per child per school day provided the State Govt./UT administration contributes a minimum of 50- paise.
State Governments/UT administrations are required to provide the above minimum contribution in order to be eligible for the enhanced rate of Central assistance mentioned above.
- Provision of assistance for cooked Mid-Day Meal during summer vacations to school children in areas declared by State Governments as "drought-affected".
- Provision of assistance to construct kitchen-cum-store in a phased manner up to a maximum of Rs.60,000 per unit. However, as allocations under MDMS for construction of kitchen-cum-store for all schools in next 2-3 years may not be adequate states would be expected to proactively pursue convergence with other development programmes for this purpose. (Also please see para 2.5 in this regard).
- Provision of assistance in a phased manner for replacement of kitchen devices at an average cost of Rs.5,000 per school. The States/UT administration will have the flexibility to incur expenditure on the items listed below on the basis of the actual requirements of the school (provided that the overall average for the State/UT administration remains Rs.5000 per school).
- Cooking devices (Stove, Chulha, etc.)
- Containers for storage of food grains and other ingredients.
- Utensils for cooking and serving.
- Provision of assistance to States/UTs for Management, Monitoring & Evaluation (MME) at the rate of 1.8% of total assistance on
- Free food grains,
- Transport cost and
- Cooking cost. Another 0.2% of the above amount will be utilized at the Central Government for management, monitoring and evaluation.
The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development has prescribed a comprehensive and elaborate mechanism for monitoring and supervision of the Mid Day Meal Scheme. The monitoring mechanism includes the following:
- Arrangements for local level monitoring
Representatives of Gram Panchayats/Gram Sabhas, members of VECs, PTAs, SDMCs as well as Mothers' Committees are required to monitor the (i) regularity and wholesomeness of the mid day meal served to children, (ii) cleanliness in cooking and serving of the mid day meal, (iii) timeliness in procurement of good quality ingredients, fuel, etc. (iv) implementation of varied menu, (v) social and gender equity. This is required to be done on a daily basis.
- Display of Information under Right to Information Act
In order to ensure that there is transparency and accountability, all schools and centres where the programme is being implemented are required to display information suo-moto. This includes information on:
- Quality of food grains received, date of receipt.
- Quantity of food grains utilized.
- Other ingredients purchased, utilized
- Number of children given mid day meal.
- Daily Menu
- Roster of Community Members involved in the programme.
- Inspections by State Government Officers
Officers of the State Government/UTs belonging to the Departments of Revenue, Rural Development, Education and other related sectors, such as Women and Child Development, Food, Health are also required to inspect schools and centres where the programme is being implemented. It has been recommended that 25% of primary schools/EGS & AIE centres are visited every quarter.
- Responsibility of Food Corporation of India (FCI)
The FCI is responsible for the continuous availability of adequate food grains in its Depots (and in Principal Distribution Centres in the case of North East Region). It allows lifting of food grains for any month/quarter upto one month in advance so that supply chain of food grains remains uninterrupted.
For the NP-NSPE, 2006, the FCI is mandated to issue food grains of best available quality, which will in any case be at least of Fair Average Quality (FAQ). The FCI appoints a Nodal Officer for each State to take care of various problems in supply of food grains under the MDM Programme.
The District Collector/CEO of Zila Panchayat ensures that food grains of at least FAQ are issued by FCI after joint inspection by a team consisting of FCI and the nominee of the Collector and/or Chief Executive Officer, District Panchayat, and confirmation by them that the grain conforms to at least FAQ norms.
- Periodic Returns
The State Government/UT is also required to submit periodic returns to the Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India to provide information on: (i) coverage of children and institutions, (ii) Progress in utilisation of Central assistance, including cooking costs, transportation, construction of kitchen sheds and procurement of kitchen devices.
- Monitoring by Institutions of Social Science Research
Forty One Institutions of Social Science Research, identified for monitoring the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, are also entrusted with the task of monitoring the Mid Day Scheme.
- Grievance Redressal
States and Union Territories are required to develop a dedicated mechanism for public grievance redressal, which should be widely publicized and made easily accessible.
Extension to Upper Primary Stage
The Finance Minister has announced in the Union Budget 2007-08 that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme will be extended to cover children in Upper Primary Classes in 3427 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs) in 2007-08. A Budget provision of Rs.7324 crores has been made for this purpose, representing 37% increase over the budget for 2006-07.
Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 19-01-2011