Bangalore, July 18: The Midday Meal Scheme is the popular for school meal programme in India. It involves provision of free lunch on working days in schools.
It is one of the very important programme for promoting primary education in the country.
The programme aimed at protecting children from classroom hunger, incresing school enrollment and attendence, improved socialization among children belonging to all castes, addressing malnutrition, and social empowerment through provision of employment to women.
This scheme was first introduced in Tamil Nadu by the then Chief minister K Kamaraj in 1960 and in 2001 after the landmark direction by the Supreme Court of India, right to food and directed the government to fully implement its scheme of providing cooked meals to all children in primary schools made the scheme popular and many states followed it.
Today, Mid day Meal scheme is serving primary and upper primary school children in entire country.
8.41 cr Primary children and 3.36 cr Upper Primary children i.e a total of 11.77 cr children were estimated to be benefited from MDM Scheme during 2009-10. 11.04 Crore children were covered under MDM Scheme during 2009-10.
5.77 lakh kitchen-cum-store have been constructed to ensure safety of food grains and ensure hygienic meals to the children.
24 lakh cook cum helpers mainly from SC/ST and OBC communities have been engaged to provide mid day meal to the school children.
The scheme also includes programme like providing iron tablets once in six months to counter anemia in school children in the state of Gujarat and Karnataka.
The programme faces major challenge in monitoring, management and evaluation part of the scheme implementation at school level.
In the state of Bihar a robust management information system using webbased technology has provided a monthly consumption reporting of grains and funds on regular basis.
Muzaffarpur district has achieved to optimise this supply chain management and so has earned ISO 9001:2008 certificate for quality management system.