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.
Objectives of Mid Day Meal Scheme
The main objectives of Mid Day Meal Scheme are as follows:
- Satisfy the students’ hunger: One of the main aims of the mid-day meal scheme is that learners get free lunch and help them avoid hunger or starvation.
- Increase 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.
- Increase 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.
- Avoid 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.
- Help 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.
Main Components of Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) Programme
- The raw food material supplied by international agencies consists of corn soya meal (CSM), soya, wheat soya blend, SFB & salad oil.
- “Upma” or “Khichdi” are cooked using raw ingredients or some other forms. They are also used in ready-to-eat foods along with flavoring agents & condiments. Milk powder can also be used in some places as part of the supplies.
- The meal constitutes an estimated 450-500 kcal & 20-30 gm protein per child per day. This rate is expected to meet one-third of the energy & half of the protein’s RDIs.
These are the complements involved in the mid-day meal scheme. It must be noted that there is an increase in fake enrolments due to the provision of the mid-day meal scheme which poses a financial problem. Due to the lack of food quality, many students may not eat the food and throw it away which leads to wastage of food.