Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has asked state governments to provide Mid Day Meals (MDM) or food security allowance whichever is feasible, to all eligible children till schools are closed due to COVID-19.
- Kerala is already providing hot-cooked meals to students at home.
The schools across the country have been closed to contain the transmission of COVID-19 outbreak.
- The ministry’s order came after the Supreme Court issued notices to all state governments to explain how they would ensure the midday meals reach the vulnerable while schools stay shut.
- According to the MDM Rules 2015, when meals cannot be provided to students on account of unavailability of foodgrains, cooking cost,or due to any other reason, the state government is expected to provide a food security allowance to each child consisting of foodgrains and cooking cost entitlement.
- The MDM rules 2015, provide that:
- The place of serving meals to the children shall be school only.
- If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.
- The meal shall be prepared in accordance with the Mid Day Meal guidelines issued by the Central Government from time to time.
- Procuring AGMARK quality items for preparation of midday meals, tasting of meals by two or three adult members of the school management committee, including at least one teacher, before serving to children.
- The School Management Committee mandated under Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 shall also monitor implementation of the Mid-day meal Scheme.
- The State Steering-cum Monitoring Committee (SSMC) shall oversee the implementation of the scheme including establishment of a mechanism for maintenance of nutritional standards and quality of meals.
Mid Day Meal Scheme
- The MDM Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.
- It was launched in the year 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme.
- The scheme provides that every child within the age group of six to fourteen years studying in classes I to VIII who enrolls and attends the school, shall be provided hot cooked meal having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary (I- V class) and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary (VI-VIII class), free of charge every day except on school holidays.
- The scheme covers all government and government aided schools and also Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan
- It is an overarching programme launched in 2018 for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12.
- It has been prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
- It subsumed the three schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
Also read: Students Skip Mid-Day Meals