The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is responsible for implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India. However, it has been renamed as the Ministry of Education. The scheme aims to provide nutritious meals to schoolchildren to improve their nutritional status and encourage regular school attendance. It is one of the largest school meal programs in the world and plays a crucial role in promoting education and child welfare in India.
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a school meal program launched by the Government of India. It is one of the largest school feeding programs in the world, primarily aimed at improving the nutritional status of schoolchildren and encouraging regular school attendance. Here is an explanation of the scheme:
- Nutritional Support: The primary objective of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is to provide nutritional support to school-going children. It aims to improve their nutritional intake by offering a balanced and hot-cooked meal during the school day.
- Promoting Education: By providing a meal at school, the scheme aims to attract more children to attend school regularly. It recognizes that the presence of a daily meal can act as an incentive for families to send their children to school.
- Addressing Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a significant concern in India, especially among children. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a key intervention to address this issue, as it ensures that children receive at least one nutritious meal a day.
- Universalization: The program covers all government and government-aided primary and upper primary schools across India. It is not restricted to any specific region or state.
- Menu Diversity: The meals provided under the scheme are designed to be nutritious and diverse. They typically include items like rice, dal (pulses), vegetables, and fruits to ensure a balanced diet.
- Local Sourcing: Whenever possible, the ingredients for the meals are sourced locally, which also helps support local agriculture and the rural economy.
- Cooking Facilities: Schools are provided with cooking facilities and infrastructure to prepare the meals on-site, ensuring hygiene and quality.
- Community Participation: The program encourages community participation and local committees to monitor its implementation.
- Mid-Day Meal Authority: Each state in India has a separate Mid-Day Meal Authority responsible for the successful implementation of the scheme.
- The Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on school attendance, particularly among children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- It has contributed to improved nutrition and health outcomes for school-going children.
- The scheme has also acted as a social safety net for vulnerable communities by ensuring that their children receive at least one proper meal a day.
Overall, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme plays a crucial role in promoting education and child welfare in India, with a focus on addressing the twin challenges of malnutrition and school dropout rates.