Mid Day Meal (MDM) Scheme

  1. Education Department is concerned with Section 5(b) of NFSA i.e children upto Class VIII or within the age group of six to fourteen years are entitled to one mid-day meal, free of charge everyday, except on school holidays, in all schools run by local bodies, Government and Government aided Schools. For lower Primary Classes, a hot cooked meal of 450 calories and 12 gram of protein is to be provided, and for Upper Primary Classes, a hot cooked meal of 600 calories and 18-20 grams of protein is to be provided.
  2. The number of schools approved for coverage by Govt of India is 13,850, but only 13,706 schools are being covered. Some schools have opted out of the MDM scheme due to various reasons. There are some Special Training Centres for children with disabilities and these schools are run in the mornings or evenings and hence MDM is not provided. The total number of students covered is 5,24,000. MDM is provided on all school days for 10 months in a year.
  3. As per Rule 6 of the Mid Day Meal Rules 2015, a State Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee has been constituted to oversee the implementation of the Scheme for maintenance of nutritional standards and quality of meals. The SSMC is headed by the Chief Secretary, and consists of senior officers as well as the MP and MLA. However, it appears that the frequency of meetings of the SSMC has not been prescribed in the notification and the meetings are not regular. The Department was requested to look into this.
  4. For implementation of the Scheme on a regular and smooth basis, funds are transferred electronically from the State to the Directorate and then to the Districts. The Cooking cost is transferred directly to the accounts of the School Managing Committees (SMC), and the honorarium of the Cooks-cum-Helpers are transferred directly to their bank accounts. Foodgrains are delivered to the schools by the Govt appointed Wholeselers who are paid transportation charges through the Deputy Commissioners of the Districts. The norms for foodgrains is RS. 3 per child per day and the cooking cost is Rs. 4.13 per child for L.P. schools, and Rs. 6.18 per child for U.P schools. The cost of oil, pulses, vegetables and fruits/condiments form a part of the cooking cost. Foodgrains, pulses and vegetables entitlements are 100 gm, 20 gm and 50gm respectively for L.P schools, and 150 gm, 30 gm and 75 gm respectively for U.P. schools.
  5. Cook-cum-Helpers are appointed for all schools and they are paid honorarium of Rs. 1000/- per month for 10 months in a year. The cost of construction of a Kitchen shed is Rs. 2.78 lakhs, and all schools are having kitchens. The amount earmarked for kitchen devices is Rs. 5000/- per school. The District Nodal Agency informs each school of its monthly allocation of foodgrains and financial sanctions for construction of Kitchen-cum- store, cooking costs, Kitchen-cum-Cooking devices etc.
  6. In order to take care of delays in release of funds from the Centre and to ensure uninterrupted supply of foodgrains etc the Department is maintaining a Corpus Fund of Rs. 10 crore for releasing of cooking cost and honorarium to the Cook-cum-Helpers. On a querry as to whether the Headmaster/ Headmistress is empowered to utilise any fund available for the purpose of continuation of the MDM Scheme in the school,  in case of temporary unavailability of foodgrains, cooking cost etc in the school, the Department replied that at present there were no reports of unavailability of foodgrains, cooking cost etc in the schools. The School Managing Committees (SMC) have been instructed to monitor the implementation of the MDM Scheme in terms of quality of meals, cleanliness of the place of cooking and maintenance of hygiene. Sample of foodgrains are kept with the FCI and the Schools. Instructions have been issued to procure oil, pulses and condiments of AGMARK quality, and only fresh vegetables and fruits are procured by the SMC’s.
  7. However, the food samples have not been tested and certified by any laboratory so far. The Pasteur Institute, Shillong, has been identified for testing of food samples. Comments and views on Draft Testing Protocol to ensure quality of the meals and appropriate nutritional standards in the MDM Scheme have been sent to Govt of India.
  8. Regular inspection of schools cannot be carried out due to shortage of inspecting staff. Instructions have been issued to Sub Divisional Education Officers (SDEO) to inspect at least ten schools per month. There are two Sub-Inspectors per sub division for sixteen sub divisions. The Department also utilises the Block Mission Co ordinations, who are 42 in numbers, for the purpose of inspection. There are more than a hundred Cluster Resource Centres and these are also engaged in inspections. The intention of the Department is to inspect each school at least once in a year. The achievement during the third quarter of 2016-17 was 60.39%.
  9. Awareness programmes on the MDM Scheme are conducted at the District and Sub Divisional level. Contact numbers of Deputy Commissioner’s and SDEO’s are publicised for lodging complaints and grievance redressal. At the Village level, there is a Village Education Committee under the local Headman who oversees the implementation of the scheme and also attends to complaints. There is also a Committee under the Member of Parliament (MP) which reviews the scheme. The Department was advised to set up Toll Free numbers for receiving complaints and attending to them. The Vigilance Committees set up under the Targetted Public Distribution System may also be utilised for lodging of complaints etc.
  10. There is provision for payment of food security allowance in case meals are not provided to the children. The Department is yet to notify the rate of food security allowance. Instructions have been issued to fix responsibility in case of non – supply of meals. As regard procurement of oil, pulses and condiments, instructions have been issued to procure only AGMARK quality condiments, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  11. Storage of raw materials is done in a clean place and food safety measures are ensured during preparation of meals. Instructions have been issued regarding tasting of cooked meals by 2-3 adults including one teacher and a parent. A register is maintained to record their observation. Cook – cum – Helpers are trained by the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Shillong. PHE Department is taking steps to provide potable drinking water in the schools and at present around 80-85% of schools have been covered.
  12. Regarding setting up of centralised Kitchens in urban areas to save costs, the Department has taken up the matter with an NGO who has been implementing this scheme in other States. Further steps will be taken after discussions are held and the terms and conditions are finalised.
  13. The Department has initiated an activity mapping exercise in order to ensure that there is no overlapping of functions and responsibilities. The Department is preparing an Annual Work Plan and Budget based on the bottom – up approach i.e based on information available at the school level. Quaterly Progress Reports are being sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development Govt of India, on off take of foodgrains, claim towards transport subsidy etc for ensuring further release of central funds.
  14. For monitoring and evaluation of the MDM Scheme. Govt of India has identified North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) to take up the task. The Department was advised to contact NEHU for the purpose, especially with regard to the impact parameters like improving nutritional status, regularity of attendance and retention/completion of primary education. The Department was also advised to conduct social audit of the scheme, if possible, with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as was being done by Community and Rural Development Department.
  15. In addition to MDM, the School Health Programme is also being implemented under the Scheme. Under this programme the children are given free health check up, including Iron Folic check, De-worming, Visually impaired status, Weight measurement and Height record.

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