The MDM is a centrally-funded welfare scheme which offers free cooked meals to students in primary schools as an incentive to attend classes and is aimed to reduce the drop-out rate. In the early stages of implementation of mid day meals to school children in Maharashtra, uncooked rice was provided to the children.
After apex court orders on MDMS, state government started providing cooked food. State government kept 50 paisa per child, while fixing budget for the scheme which was not enough considering the labour involved. This eventually resulted in poor implementation and dissatisfaction among beneficiaries. Moreover, MDMS was supposed to be implemented in all schools but private schools didn’t implement it. In some areas mahila mandals were given contract to provide food. Now in Mumbai ISKCON has the contract and it provides good food. In state of Karnataka, parents come together and decide on menu etc.
While making some suggestion on the improvement of MDMS, Mr. Sawant noted that this scheme should be made universal and should be implemented universally. The meal provided should be culture specific, not according to what is available with the government. In remote places where the school population is not much there should be a fixed allocation of funds and they should be dealt with differently.
After the session, many participants made their suggestions while others commented as below -
The teachers / officials should be from local areas
In Maharashtra 60 lakh children and mothers are present. They should not been given therapeutic food but local food. The presence of contractors in MDMS gives rise to various frauds. The scheme has been successful in Tamil Nadu of because of the state
Report – Two-days workshop on Right to Food
17 and 18 September 2005, Nagpur