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Why Audit of Mid-Day Meal scheme is needed?

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    18th Dec, 2019

The Union government is set to conduct an audit of mid-day meal programme across India, following the controversy surrounding the quality of food served in some schools in Uttar Pradesh.

Context

The Union government is set to conduct an audit of mid-day meal programme across India, following the controversy surrounding the quality of food served in some schools in Uttar Pradesh.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme - Facts

  • Scheme covers all children studying in class I to VIII.
  • The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under SSA and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour.
  • MDM is covered by National Food Security Act, 2013.

Ministry/Department : Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development

Objective: To enhance, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children.

Factual Information:

  • Started in 1995 as National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education
  • To achieve the above objectives, a cooked mid-day meal with the following nutritional content is provided to all eligible children.
  • For Primary students:
  • Calories 450
  • Protein 12 gms
  • For Upper Primary students:
  • Calories 700
  • Protein 20 gms
  • Adequate quantities of micro-nutrients like Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin-A.

 Background

  • The mid-day meal scheme is one of the largest school meal programmes in the world and caters to more than 91.2 million students across 1.13 million schools.
  • A School in Uttar Pradesh served “roti and salt" to students. The district administration later filed a police complaint against journalist for reporting it in media and evoking wider criticism.
  • However, it is not the first time that the mid-day meal scheme has got into controversy.
  • It has been reported that various children have been hospitalized or died after consuming contaminated food. In July 2018, at least 30 students suffered food poisoning after having the mid-day meal in Delhi. In October last year, 45 children in Goa were hospitalized after having the mid-day meal. At least, 23 children had died in Bihar’s Chhapra district in 2013 after consuming contaminated mid-day meal.
  • In the wake of these issues the Union government is set to conduct an audit of mid-day meal programme across India.
  • Malnutrition caused 69 per cent of deaths of children below the age of five in India, according to a UNICEF 2019 report. So Mid-Day Meal is of greater significance for India.
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