Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS)

Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS)

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Please click here to access the key findings of the Report no. 36 of 2015-Union Government (Civil) - Report of the CAG on Performance Audit of MDMS

According to the report State of School Feeding Worldwide 2013 by World Food Programme (please click here to download the report):

Indian scenario

•    The biggest programmes are in India (114 million), Brazil (47 million), the United States (45 million) and China (26 million). There are at least 43 countries with programmes of more than one million children.

•    India has a universal school meals programmes. India's school feeding programme ranks 12th among 35 lower-middle-income countries, covering 79 percent of its total number of school-going children.

•    India has the largest school feeding programme in the world; in 2011, it reached 113.6 million schoolchildren. The Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS), the country’s national programme launched in 1995, aims to ensure that all children receive primary education and to boost the nutrition of students in primary-school classes.

•    A pivotal Supreme Court ruling in 2001 – the result of a civil action – declared that school feeding was a right of all primary-school children and mandated the provision of cooked mid-day meals in primary schools. As a consequence, coverage increased nationwide (by more than 10 percent from 2001-2011) although wide regional disparities remain, mainly because of financial constraints at the state level.

•    In 2010-11, the combined expenditure of the central government and the state governments/union territories on the school meals programme was around US$3,850 million. In many evaluations since 2001, the programme has been found to have positive impacts on enrolment, elimination of classroom hunger and promotion of gender and social equity.

•    Higher enrolment has been observed, particularly among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes children (formerly known as “untouchables”). Data on gross primary enrolment rates from 2001-2002 and 2007-2008 confirms a significant rise among Scheduled Castes (103.1 to 132.3 percent for boys, and 82.3 to 116.7 percent for girls) and Scheduled Tribes (106.9 to 134.4 percent for boys and 85.1 to 124 percent for girls). The nutritional impact, however, has not yet been evaluated, and the links with health and nutrition could be strengthened considerably by better coordination between sectors.

•    Other weaknesses remain, such as the insufficient allocation of budget for food transportation and infrastructure. The late disbursement of government funds to the implementing agencies is reported to have a negative impact in many areas.

•    The MDMS is a good example of a mixed implementation approach with two separate procurement processes: one for food grains, which are subsidized centrally through the government-owned Food Corporation of India, and one for other foods like fresh fruits or vegetables, for which procedures are established at the state level.

Global scenario

•    Around 368 million children, about 1 out of every 5 children, get a meal at school every day around the world. This includes pre-primary-, primary- and secondary-school children from 169 developing and developed countries.

•    Global investment in these programmes is huge - around US$ 75 billion per annum. Most of the investment comes from government budgets.

•    Return on investment is substantial – for every $1 spent by governments and donors, WFP estimates at least $3 is gained in economic returns. School feeding provides an array of benefits in education and nutrition and to local agriculture.

•    Addressing the nutrition needs of school-aged children can help ensure that the development gains in the crucial first 1,000 days of life are not jeopardized by later failures.

•    Governments recognise school feeding as a key response to hunger and poverty: it protects children from hunger; it can be strategically targeted; it offers an existing platform on which to stage further interventions; and it has proven to be relatively easy to scale up in a crisis.

•    School meals programmes protect vulnerable children especially during shocks such as the food, fuel and financial crises of 2008.

•    To achieve educational goals, it is not enough to feed children in school. School meals can support improved quality of education, when there is also training for teachers, essential infrastructure, including textbooks and materials, and a safe physical environment that is conducive to learning.


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