Rashi Aditi Ghosh /Zee Research Group
The mid day meal scheme continues to be mired in controversy.
An audit conducted on behalf of the Union Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry found out that the mid day meal served in schools in the capital did not meet the prescribed nutritional values. It has identified 17 NGOs for violation of the prescribed norms.
The Union HRD ministry said earlier this month that the food served under the scheme during 2010-12 did not meet the nutrition levels. The mid day meal being provided in Delhi schools was tested by the Shriram Institute for Industrial Research.
The Right to Education (RTE) entitles every child to free mid-day meals with a different and nutritious menu for each day of the week. The Mid –day meal scheme has a mandate to provide for a hot cooked meal to ensure an energy content of 450 calories and 12 grams of proteins for children studying in primary classes and 700 calories of energy and 20 grams of proteins at the upper primary level.
While 95 per cent of 365 samples of mid day meals lifted from Delhi schools failed to match the mandatory nutritional clause during 2011-2012, 98 per cent of 322 samples of mid day meals from Delhi schools failed to pass the nutritional test in 2010-2011.
Explaining the government intervention part in this regard HRD ministry said, “The Government of NCT of Delhi has informed us that a proportionate deduction is made from the payment due on account of the supply of Mid Day Meals (MDM), whenever the MDM does not meet the prescribed standards of nutritional values. Accordingly 50 per cent of payment due to NGOs/ service providers, whose samples do not meet the nutritional norms, has been withheld.”
The NGOs’ found in violation included Trimurti Charitable Trust, Dalit Manav Utthan Sansthan, Suprabhat Education and Social Welfare Society, Royal Education & Social Welfare Society, Akshaya Patra Food Relief Foundation, Maitri Research and Development Foundation, Bhartiya Manav Kalyan Parishad, Arya Navyug Shiksha Samiti, Stri Shakti, Ind-care Trust, Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Dalit Utthan Evom Shiksha Sanstha,Jan Chetna Jagriti & Shaikshanik Vikas, Ekta Shakti Foundation, Jay Gee Humanitarian Society, Bal Vikas Avom Paryavaran Sanrakshan Sanstha, the People Welfare Society and Surya Charitable & Welfare Society.
Ind-Care Trust program manager Akanksha, however, defended her organization. “This is a conspiracy against our NGO,” she said and charged that “the report that we received showed our Mid-day meal completely fit for consumption but later the government report showed us as defaulters. We are no longer a part of the mid day meal scheme.”