Mid-day Meal Scheme

Mid-day Meal Scheme

The Mid-day Meal Scheme, also known as the National School Lunch Program, is a government-funded initiative in India that aims to provide free, nutritious meals to school-aged children. The program was first introduced in 1995 in order to combat malnutrition and improve school attendance.

The scheme provides a free lunch to all children in government, government-aided, and local body schools, as well as Education Guarantee Scheme and alternate innovative education centers. The meal typically consists of rice or chapati, dal or sambar, and vegetables. In some states, eggs or fish may also be served. The program is implemented by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, with the assistance of state governments.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on the education and health of children in India. Malnutrition is a major problem in the country, and the program has helped to address this issue by providing children with a nutritious meal each day. The scheme has also had a positive impact on school attendance, as children are more likely to attend school if they know they will receive a meal there.

In addition, the program has also provided employment opportunities for women, as they are often hired to prepare and serve the meals. It also helped in increasing enrollment and retention of students in school.

However, the scheme has faced its own set of challenges. The quality of food and hygiene standards have been a major concern, with reports of food being stale or contaminated. There have also been instances of corruption, with reports of food grains and funds intended for the scheme being misused or embezzled.

To address these issues, the government has implemented several measures to improve the quality and safety of the food served under the scheme. This includes regular monitoring and inspections of kitchens, as well as the use of biometric technology to track the distribution of food grains.

Mid-day Meal Scheme

The government also introduced new menu items such as Ragi and fortified food (Jaggery, Salt and Oil) to ensure diversified and nutritious food for children.

The scheme has also been expanded to include children in pre-primary classes, and is now known as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE).

In conclusion, the Mid-day Meal Scheme is a vital initiative that has had a positive impact on the education and health of children in India. While the program has faced its own set of challenges, the government has taken steps to address these issues and improve the quality and safety of the food served. The scheme continues to be an important aspect of the government’s efforts to combat malnutrition and improve school attendance in India.