Mid Day Meal in schools has had a long history in India. 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.
- 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 centres. 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 foodgrains, 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.
- In October 2007, the scheme has been further revised to cover children in upper primary (classes VI to VIII) initially in 3479 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs). Around 1.7 crore upper primary children were included by this expansion of the scheme. 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. The calorific value of a mid-day meal at upper primary stage has been fixed at a minimum of 700 calories and 20 grams of protein by providing 150 grams of food grains (rice/wheat) per child/school day.
- From the year 2009 onwards the following changes have been made to improve the implementation of the scheme:-
- Food norms have been revised to ensure balanced and nutritious diet to children of upper primary group by increasing the quantity of pulses from 25 to 30 grams, vegetables from 65 to 75 grams and by decreasing the quantity of oil and fat from 10 grams to 7.5 grams.
- Cooking cost (excluding the labour and administrative charges) has been revised from Rs.1.68 to to Rs. 2.50 for primary and from Rs. 2.20 to Rs. 3.75 for upper primary children from 1.12.2009 to facilitate serving meal to eligible children in prescribed quantity and of good quality .The cooking cost for primary is Rs. 2.69 per child per day and Rs. 4.03 for upper primary children from 1.4.2010.The cooking cost will be revised prior approval of competent authority by 7.5% every financial year from 1.4.2011.
- The honorarium for cooks and helpers was paid from the labour and other administrative charges of Rs.0.40 per child per day provided under the cooking cost. In many cases the honorarium was so little that it became very difficult to engage manpower for cooking the meal. A Separate component for Payment of honorarium @ Rs.1000 per month per cook- cum-helper was introduced from 1.12.2009. Honorarium at the above prescribed rate is being paid to cook-cum-helper. However, in some of the states the honorarium to cook-cum-helpers are being paid more than Rs.1000/- through their state fund. Following norms for engagement of cook-cum-helper have been made:
- One cook- cum-helper for schools up to 25 students.
- Two cooks-cum-helpers for schools with 26 to 100 students.
- One additional cook-cum-helper for every addition of upto 100 students.
- More than 25.25 lakhs cook-cum-helper are engaged by the State/UTs during 2016-17 for preparation and serving of Mid Day Meal to Children in Elementary Classes:
- A common unit cost of construction of kitchen shed @ Rs.60,000 for the whole country was impractical and also inadequate .Now the cost of construction of kitchen-cum-store will be determined on the basis of plinth area norm and State Schedule of Rates. The Department of School Education and Literacy vide letter No.1-1/2009-Desk(MDM) dated 31.12.2009 had prescribed 20 sq.mt. plinth area for schools having upto 100 children. For every additional upto 100 children additional 4 sq.mt plinth area will be added. States/UTs have the flexibility to modify the Slab of 100 children depending upon the local condition.
- Due to difficult geographical terrain of the Special category States the transportation cost @ Rs.1.25 per quintal was not adequate to meet the actual cost of transportation of foodgrains from the FCI godowns to schools in these States. On the request of the North Eastern States the transportation assistance in the 11 Special Category States (Northern Eastern States, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand) have been made at par with the Public Distribution System (PDS) rates prevalent in these States with effect from 1.12.2009.
- The existing system of payment of cost of foodgrains to FCI from the Government of India is prone to delays and risk. Decentralization of payment of cost of foodgrains to the FCI at the district level from 1.4.2010 allowed officers at State and National levels to focus on detailed monitoring of the Scheme.
- Revision/modifications of Centrally Sponsored National Programme for Mid- Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) approved by Competent Authority vide Letter No.F.No.1-4/2018-Desk(MDM) Dt.28-02-2019.
Mid-Day Meal (MDM) in Odisha
- A State level Project Management Unit has been set up under the aegis of School & Mass Education Department to look into the day to day implementation of the Programme. This Project mode of supervision and monitoring is a departure from the past.
- A District level Project Management Unit has been set up in the office of the DPC for proper monitoring and supervision of the scheme. Steps are being taken to provide one Programmer-cum-Accountant and one Data Entry Operator to each District level PMU. 30 Hqrs. D.Is who are the Drawing and Disbursing Officer of the scheme, are provided space and infrastructure in the DPC office for MDM only.
- Inspector of schools, District Project Coordinators, D.I of schools and Nodal Sub-Inspector of Schools have been oriented on different aspects / components of MDM. Steps are being taken for capacity building of BRCCs, S.I. of schools (except Nodal SIs), CRCCs, Headmasters/ Teachers in charge of MDM at Block level.
- For monitoring, 5 nos. of parameters exclusively for MDM are added to the list of existing 80 parameters in “Samikshya”. The new parameters are:
a) Regularity in serving meals and adherence to weekly menu.
b) Availability of food grains.
c) Availability of cooking cost.
d) Proper storage of food grain.
e) Payment of honorarium to cook-cum-helper for the last month.
- A comprehensive database pertaining to the essentials of the MDM Programme like name of the schools, name of the SHG/SMC/ VEC, name of the HM, their telephone/ mobile nos./ account nos. etc. has been created. This facilitates release of funds, redressal of grievances and monitoring.
- School Health Programme is an important component of MDM scheme. Regular health check-up minimum twice a year for students of Primary and Upper Primary schools are recommended to be carried out by the CHCs/ PHCs. Adequate quantity of micro-nutrients, Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin ‘A’ are provided in convergence with the National Rural Health Mission. Steps are taken to eradicate refractive errors and to provide De-worming tablets wherever it is required.
- Funds relating to cooking cost, cost of food grains, transportation cost, and honorarium to cook-cum-helper are released at least 3 months in advance. Cooking cost, honorarium to cook-cum-helper is made available for a period of 3 months in advance and rice is made available at least for a period of one month for interrupted supply of hot cooked meals to the children.
- A total sum of Rs. 42074.70 lakhs has been provided to the Districts for constructions of 60159 kitchen-sheds @ Rs. 60,000/- per each and 8993 kitchen-sheds @ Rs. 66490/- per each. The Collectors have been requested to take steps for completion of the incomplete kitchen-shed.
- Steps have been taken to provide 3 stage bins for proper upkeep of rice, dal and condiments.
- A toll free no. for school student’s helpline (18003456722) has been assigned for redressal of various complaints from the students and the general public. The general public, School Managing Committee, SHGs, Mothers’ Committee, Parents’, Teachers’ Association and above all the students are advised to make use of this toll free telephone in case of MDM programme for redressal of grievances. Officers in charge of the districts are advised to visit the schools and oversee the MDM Programme. The Commissioner-cum-Secretary hears the grievances on each Saturday of the week and resolves those cases. Grievances are heard at SPMU (MDM) on the last Saturday of every month and corrective measures are taken.
- Weekly menu is printed in the backside of the text books for information of the general public.
- To provide wholesome food having requisite calorie & protein content to school children of Primary, Upper Primary & NCLP Schools (Govt., Govt.-Aided, Local body, Madrasa & NCLP schools).
- To increase enrolment and retention and also to curb dropouts
- To reduce cast prejudices, class inequality & gender gap (in-education)
- Thrust on right to life & right to food to disadvantaged section of the society.
- To provide nutritional support to the school children in drought affected areas during summer vacation.