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Festivals and Food

Concept: Mid-day Meals

What is the Mid-day Meal Scheme?

  • The Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) was designed and introduced by the government of India to provide better nutritional support to school-going children nationwide.
  • The MDMS is the world’s largest school meal programme.
  • According to this programme, free lunches are provided to every school-going child belonging to the primary or secondary section of all government schools.
  • The Mid-day Meal Scheme serves 120,000,000 students in over 1,265,000 schools in India.
  • Though Mid-day Meal was introduced in 1925 in Tamil Nadu, the central government launched the scheme nationwide on August 15, 1995.
  • This programme is known as NP-NSPE—National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, which gradually improved attendance and enrollment at school and increased the nutritional level among children.

Objectives of Mid-day Meal Scheme:

  • To encourage children to attend school.
  • To boost students’ enrollment at schools.
  • To promote the overall growth of children.
  • Motivating children to resume their education who stopped going to school midway.
  • To provide hot meals with proper nutritional value.

Nutritional norms of Mid-day Meal Scheme:

  • The meal should be prepared in a hygienic place and served at school only.
  • If vegetables and food grains are not available at school, then the government should pay money to the school for the next fifteen months.
  • Only ‘AGMARK’ quality products are used while preparing food for the students.
  • Before the food is served., it should be tasted and eaten by at least three to four adult school members.
  • Varieties of regional food items should be prepared, and proper amounts of carbohydrate and protein-rich foods should be given to the students.
  • As per nutritional value, children of the primary section are provided with 450 calories with 12 grams of protein; in upper primary schools, students are given 700 calories with 20 grams of protein.
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Mid-day Meal menus:

  • A typical Mid-day Meal menu served in the schools of Punjab is given below—
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  • A typical Mid-day Meal menu of schools in Uttar Pradesh is shown below—
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Financing of Mid-day Meal Scheme:

  • The Center gives states free grains
  • The cost of payments of cooks, transportation of food grains, cost of cooking, and infrastructure development are shared between the state and the central government.

Problems with the Mid-day Meal Scheme:

  • Cooks do not get an adequate salary.
  • Poor quality grains are provided; they are stored in unhygienic conditions and eventually get damaged by pests.
  • In many cases, the cooked food gets wasted.
  • Due to corruption, schools do not receive sufficient food grains and raw materials to prepare food.

New Words:

Scheme: A systematic plan to achieve a goal or implement an idea.

Pests: These are insects or other animals that attack and destroy crops, food, livestock, etc.

AGMARK: It is a certification mark for different agricultural products and indicates their qualities.

Infrastructure: The resources that are required to carry out an activity.

Did You Know?

  • Many software companies and NGOs like Infosys, TCS, Bharti Airtel, Jindal, etc., contribute to the Mid-day Meal Scheme in India.
  • The Food and Drugs Administration Department of the State may collect food samples randomly to check the nutritional value and quality of the meals served in the Mid-day Meal Scheme.
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