The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was launched in India on 15 August 1995 under the name ‘National Program of Nutritional Support for Elementary Education. The Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) is the authorized body to implement the scheme.
In September 2021, the name of the mid-day meal scheme was changed to ‘PM Poshan’ or Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman. Center launched a major political effort around ‘child nutrition’ and announced that from next year around 24 lakh students pursuing pre-primary education in government and government-aided schools will also be covered under the scheme.
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Hot cooked food is provided currently under the mid-day meal scheme, to students from Classes 1 to 8, around 11.80 crore children in all, in 11.20 lakh government and government-aided schools. In the mid-day meal scheme, 24 lakh more children will also be brought in pre-primary classes currently under ICDS. Last year, the government had opened pre-schools which is called Balvatikas attached to Anganwadi.
Mid-day Meal Scheme implemented using one of the three models:
- Decentralized model : On-site food preparation by local cooks, self-help groups etc.
- Centralized model: Under this model, instead of local cooks, an outside organization cooks the food and delivers it to the schools.
- International assistance: Various international charitable organizations assist government schools.
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Below are the following Mid-day Meal Scheme salient features
- Midday Meal Scheme is the world’s largest school meal program aimed at achieving the goal of universalize of primary education.
- The Ministry of Education is the authorized body to implement the Midday Meal Scheme.
- The cost is shared between the Center and the states. (Centre’s share – 60 percent.) because Midday Meal Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme.
- The midday meal scheme is implement by Tamil Nadu and this is the first state who implement the midday meal scheme.
- In 2001, the MDMS became a cooked mid-day meal scheme whereby each eligible child was provided with ready-made mid-day meals for at least 200 days: Energy intake – 300 calories and Protein intake – 8 to 12 grams.
- The scheme was made till 2002, only for government, government aided and local body schools till 2002 . after that children studying in Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative & Innovative Education (AIE) centres both were included under Midday Meal scheme.
- MDMS was revised in 2004. After revised, Central assistance provided for cost of cooking. For all states, Transport subsidy included like maximum Rs 100 per quintal for special category states and Rs 75 per quintal for other states. There was one provision added, that is to serve midday meal to the children of drought-affected areas during summer vacation.
- MDMS was again revised in 2006. After revision, the cost of cooking has been increased for the states of North Eastern Region to Rs 1.80 per child/school day and Rs 1.50 per child/school day for other states and union territories.The nutritional norms were revised – energy consumption increased from 300 calories to 450 calories and protein intake from 8-12 grams to 12 grams.
- Children of classes 6-8 studying in 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) were covered under the scheme in 2007.
- In addition to calorie and food intake, for micro nutrients (tablets and antithetical drugs), for the National Rural Health Mission’s school health program, each child is entitled to receive the amount provided.
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The main objectives of the MDM scheme are:
- Enrollment in school children who belong to the disadvantaged category.
- By doing enrollment to increased attendance in the schools.
- Retaining children studying in classes 1-8.
- To provide nutritional support to primary level children in drought-affected areas.