Midday meals Scheme
- In 1925, a Mid Day Meal Programme was introduced for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation.
- By the mid 1980s three States viz. Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the UT of Pondicherry had universalized a cooked Mid Day Meal Programme with their own resources for children studying at the primary stage by 1990-91 the number of States implementing the mid day meal programme with their own resources on a universal or a large scale had increased to twelve states.
- The MDMS emerged out of the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP – NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme formulated in 1995 to improve enrollment, attendance and retention by providing free food grains to government run primary schools.
- In 2002, the Supreme Court directed the government to provide cooked mid day meals (as opposed to providing dry rations) in all government and government aided primary schools.
- At present the MDMS provides children in government aided schools and education centres a cooked meal for a minimum of 200 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- From 2008-09 i.e w.e.f 1st April, 2008, the programme covers all children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the EGS/AIE centres including Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under SSA of all areas across the country.
- Local depots of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) supply the food grains to schools.
- It is implemented under Ministry of Education.
Allocation of fund
- The cost of the MDMS is shared between the central and state governments.
- The central government provides free food grains to the states.
- The cost of cooking, infrastructure development, transportation of food grains and payment of honorarium to cooks and helpers is shared by the centre with the state governments. The central government provides a greater share of funds.
- The contribution of state governments differs from state to state.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- There are some inter state variations in the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the MDMS.
- A National Steering cum Monitoring Committee and a Programme Approval Board have been established at the national level, to monitor the programme, conduct impact assessments, coordinate between state governments and provide policy advice to central and state governments.
- Review Missions consisting of representatives from central and state governments and non governmental agencies have been established.
- At the state level, a three tier monitoring mechanism exists in the form of state, district and block level steering cum monitoring committees.
- Gram panchayats and municipalities are responsible for day to day supervision and may assign the supervision of the programme at the school level to the Village Education Committee, School Management and Development Committee or Parent Teacher Association.
Key issues with implementation:
- Irregularity in serving meals
- Irregularity in supply of food grains to schools
- Caste based discrimination in serving of food
- Poor quality of food
- Poor coverage under School Health Programme
- Poor infrastructure (kitchen sheds in particular)
- Poor hygiene
- Poor community participation