What is the aim of Mid-Day Meal Programme?
Midday meals in schools have a long tradition in India. A Midday Meal Program for impoverished children was created by the Madras Municipal Corporation in 1925. Gujarat, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, as well as Pondicherry, had universalized a prepared Midday Meal Program for primary school children using their own resources by the mid-1980s. By 1990-91, there were twelve states that were operating the Mid Day Meal Program on a considerable scale with their own resources.
The National Program of Nutritional Support to Primary Education was established as a centrally supported scheme on August 15, 1995. It began in 2408 blocks around the country with the purpose of increasing enrollment, retention, and attendance, as well as improving children’s nutritional status. By 1997-98, the NP-NSPE had been implemented in all blocks across the country. It was expanded further in 2002 to include pupils not only in grades I-V of government, government-aided, and local body schools, but also in EGS and AIE centers. Central Assistance under the scheme included a free supply of food grains at a rate of 100 grams per kid per school day, as well as a subsidy for food grain transportation up to a maximum of Rs 50 per quintal.
About the scheme
- It is the world’s largest school lunch Programme, feeding children in government schools from kindergarten to eighth grade.
- The major goal of this initiative is to increase school enrollment.
- The Nodal Ministry is the Ministry of Education.
- In 1925, the Madras Municipal Corporation began the Programme for underprivileged children. A centrally sponsored scheme for children in Classes 1–5 was piloted by the union government in 1995.
- PM Poshan Shakti Nirman or PM Poshan will be the initiative’s new name in 2021.
- 11.80 million children in grades 1 through 8 are served by the Programme (age group 6 to 14).
- It is not only a scheme but a legal right granted to all primary and upper primary school-aged children under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013.
- The allocation of Rs 4.97 per child per day (primary classes) and Rs 7.45 per child per day (upper primary classes) is split 60:40 between states and UTs with legislatures and 90:10 between the Northeastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, with the Centre bearing all costs in UTs without legislature.
Associated Issues and Challenges
- There have been reports of plain chapatis being served with salt, water being mixed with milk, food poisoning, and so forth.
- Many schools compel kids to sit separately based on their caste position because food is so important to the caste system.
- Several states, according to the National Family Health Survey-5, have reversed course and reported higher levels of child malnutrition. India is home to about half of the world’s stunted children and nearly a third of the world’s severely malnourished children under the age of five.
- India has made little progress in eliminating anemia and childhood wasting, according to the most recent Global Nutrition Report.
- India has dropped to the 101st spot out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021.
Interventions to improve maternal height and education should start years before these young women become mothers. Nutritionists have long maintained that mothers’ health and well-being are crucial in lowering stunting in their children, although the fight against stunting has typically concentrated on increasing early childhood nutrition. School food growth and augmentation are essential for intergenerational payoffs. In India, where females graduate school, marry, and have children in a few years, school-based interventions can be very useful.
Question 1: What is the objective of Mid Day Meal Scheme?
The scheme’s goal is to deliver hot cooked meals to primary and upper primary school children.
Question 2: Who bears the cost of food grains?
The government of India bears the entire expense of food grains.
Question 3: What is the minimum standards of food grains supplied by FCI?
Food grains must have a fair and average quality (FAQ) of Grade-A.
Question 4: How many days Mid Day Meal is served?
Every working day, the school provides a lunchtime meal. During their summer vacation, children in drought-affected communities are entitled to a midday meal.
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