24th Mar 2017 09:03:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

A recent notification by the ministry of human resource development making the Aadhaar card mandatory for school-going children to avail of the mid-day meals (MDM) served in government schools has justifiably created a furore. Several activists and civil-society members reacted sharply, condemning this new demand, which, on the face of it, was done to enforce greater accountability in the implementation of the scheme. Therefore, the government clarifying on Friday that children will not be deprived of mid-day meals even if they do not have Aadhaar card comes as a huge relief.

There are many glitches and ills plaguing the world’s biggest school-lunch programme already and the government definitely must not add more to it.

The MDM scheme reaches out to about 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) centres across the country. However, all is not well with the scheme across the country and Arunachal is no exception. Thousands of crores of rupees as funds, provided to schools as part of world’s largest feeding programme, reaching out to about 120 crore children in over 12 lakhs schools, has not been properly utilized and its implementation is very poor.

In many schools, children are given poor quality rations at times costing their health and lives as we know, poor infrastructure (kitchen shed), poor hygiene, irregularities in serving meals, irregularities in supply of food grains, lack of provision of running water in schools, problem of finding cook and difficulties in collection of firewood and so on. In interior places, officials and teachers distribute the ration items among themselves.

Moreover, almost all the North Eastern states are finding it difficult to provide even the 10 per cent state share of the MDMS and have requested the MHRD to provide 100 per cent sponsorship for implementation of the scheme in the region. 

The Mid Day Meal Scheme was launched in 1995 with the primary objective to provide hot cooked meal to children of primary and upper primary classes with other objectives of improving nutritional status of children, encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities, thereby increasing the enrolment, retention and attendance rates.

Although there are many lacunae raising questions whether the investment in MDM is being judiciously used to achieve the end objective but a programme of this scale is not without challenges. This scheme is worth investing and must be kept alive.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

<< Back to News List