On 15th August 1995, the Mid Day Meal Scheme was started in India under the name of ‘National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE)’. In October 2007, NP-NSPE was renamed as ‘National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools’. These days, it is popularly referred to as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The Vice President of India has recently proposed the inclusion of milk in mid-day meals for children as well. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was renamed as ‘PM POSHAN’ or Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman in September 2021.
Advantages of Mid Day Meal Scheme
The advantages of Mid Day Meal Scheme are as follows:
- Satisfies the students’ hunger: One of the main advantages of the mid-day meal scheme is that learners get free lunch and this helps them avoid hunger or starvation.
- Increases school enrolment: Due to the provision of mid-day meals, parents may desire to send their children to school which can increase the enrolment rate of the students.
- Increases school retention: Enrolling is important but retaining the students to keep coming to school is more important and mid-day meals can motivate the learners to continue schooling.
- Avoids classroom hunger: While studying in the classroom, children can be prone to hunger. Without proper and adequate food, they will not have the energy to concentrate and therefore, midday means can help avoid classroom hunger.
- Helps students concentrate: Because the classroom hunger of students will be eliminated by mid-day meals, students will be able to focus and concentrate on learning more effectively.
Disadvantages of Mid Day Meal Scheme
The disadvantages of Mid Day Meal Scheme are as follows:
- Delayed payments: Cooks who prepare the mid-day meal do not receive timely payments which may affect their productivity.
- Poor quality of food: Large quantities of food have to be prepared and given to the students due to which there are huge chances of the food to have worms in it or lack quality.
- Wastage of food: Due to the lack of food quality, many students may not eat the food and throw it away which leads to wastage of food.
- Lack of nutritious food: The high quality of food that needs to be prepared also leads to a lack of nutrition in the food as the food provided may be of cheap quality.
- Embezzlement of money: Fake enrolments are on a rise due to the provision of the mid-day meal scheme which poses a financial problem.
These are the various advantages and disadvantages of the mid-day meal scheme but despite these challenges, the scheme was necessary to ensure that students feel motivated to enroll in schools and retain their enrolment.