The midday meal is a scheme initiated by the government of India to provide a meal in school to students. This program helps improve the nutritional status of school going, children. A healthy generation is very important for the growth of new India. This initiative taken by the Indian government is very important and a great step for our nation’s grown children. In 2001, the Supreme Court passed an order stating “A basic dispensation of every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary Schools with a prepared Mid-day Meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8–12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days”
Food norms have been revised to confirm balanced and nutritious diet to children of the upper primary group by increasing the number of pulses from 25 to 30 grams, vegetables from 65 to 75 grams and by decreasing the quantity of oil and fat from 10 grams to 7.5 grams
Cooking cost (excluding the labour and administrative charges) has been revised from Rs.1.68 to Rs. 2.50 for primary and from Rs. 2.20 to Rs. 3.75 for upper primary children from 1.12.2009 to expedite serving a meal to eligible children in prescribed quantity and of good quality. The cooking cost for the primary is Rs. 2.69 per child per day and Rs. 4.03 for upper primary children from 1.4.2010. The cooking cost will be revised with the prior approval of competent authority by 7.5% every financial year from 1.4.2011.
The salary for cooks and helpers was paid from the labour and other administrative charges of Rs.0.40 per child per day provided under the cooking cost. In many cases, the honorarium was so little that it became very difficult to engage manpower for cooking the meal. A Separate component for Payment of honorarium @ Rs.1000 per month per cook- cum-helper was introduced from 1.12.2009. Honorarium at the above-prescribed rate is being paid to cook-cum-helper. However, in some of the states, the salary to cook-cum-helpers are being paid more than Rs.1000/- through their state fund.
The government of India initiated the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) on 15 August 1995. The objective of the scheme is to help convalesce the effectiveness of primary education by improving the nutritional status of primary school children. Initially, the scheme was introduced in 2,408 blocks of the country to provide food to students in classes one through five of government, government-aided and local body run schools. By 1997–98, the scheme had been implemented across the country. Under this programme, a cooked mid-day meal with 300 calories and 12 grams of protein is provided to all children enrolled in classes one to five. In October 2007, the scheme included students in upper primary classes of six to eight in 3,479 educationally backward categories and the name was changed from National Programme for Nutrition Support to Primary Education to National Programme of Mid Day Meals in Schools.
In this program free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labor.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to:
- avoid classroom hunger
- increase school enrolment
- increase school attendance
- improve socialization among castes
- address malnutrition
- empower women through employment