The Secretary, Uttar Pradesh
Voluntary Action Network (UPVAN) Sri Ashok Singh
welcomed the participants and thanked them for their curiosity
for the release of the report on a vibrant issue. First
of all he expressed his gratitude for the active contribution
of the heads and workers of the organizations working
of the grassroots level in attaining the objectivity of
the study. Thereafter, he briefly touched upon the main
finding of the study. He narrated that it has emerged
from this study that the scheme has not been successfully
implemented. The enrolment of students in primary schools
did increase but they are hardly staying in their classes.
There has not been a visible improvement in the health
of the students by taking the so-called nutritious food.
It is because of the non-availability of foodgrains of
the desired quality. Instead, day in and day out the news
of the falling ill of the students after taking mid-day-meal
in schools. It is a happy augury that the Uttar Pradesh
government in the Department of Primary Education, taking
the media news in to cognizance, has constituted the Task
Force for the enquiry. However, no permanent solution
is forthcoming. Of and on such news are repeated. It appeared
that the Department of Education is not able to identify
its root cause. The present study has brought to light
that the root cause is the supply of low quality of foodgrains.
The provision of sample checks at three points has been
quite ineffective due lack of inter-departmental coordination
and corruption. If village Pradhans are blamed, they feel
agitated and come out for roadside demonstrations. The
teachers also avoid participating in this noble cause.
secretary expressing his concern for such a situation
and appealed the government to immediately identify the
grassroots realities and find out the solution, so that
the children may not be deprived of their right to food
and could progressively advance on the path of becoming
an enlightened citizen through their devoted learning.
Thereafter, Mr. Ashok Singh invited the village Pradhans
for enkindling the lamp so that the path of the schooling
of the growing children could be broadened in that light.
The report released by Sri P. C. Pandey, Chief Executive
Officer of VANI, New Delhi. Speaking on this occasion.
Pandey thanked UPVAN and its member organizations
and particularly Sri J. N. Singh, Consultant UPVAN for
conducting a study on such an important issue of social
importance. Tracing the historical background of Mid-Day-Meal
scheme he told that it was first of all initiated as a
relief measure in the disaster affected areas by Madras
Municipal Corporation in the year 1925 so that the children
of such areas may not be deprived of education due to
their empty bellies. He further expressed that it is the
need of the day that the objective assessment of Social
and educational schemes are made. It is to be particularly
emphasized that how the funds allocated are utilized on
such schemes and programms? Whether the target group is
being benefited through them? It is essentially needed
to adjudge As to what extent the outlay of Rs. 2800 corers
have been utilized for the desired objectives. Sri Pandey
placed some of the suggestions for the successful implementation
of this scheme.
order to provide right directives to this scheme there
must be citizen monitoring, so that people could visualize
Planning Commission and MORD and MOPR must seek the
cooperation of Panchayati Raj institutions and CSOs.
The people should be apprised through their capacity
building, publishing the success stories and case studies.
order to ensure the quality of food the community Kitchen
under cluster development approach should be promoted.
The evaluation/ monitoring of the scheme should be based
on outcome and not on outlay.
is the prime duty of CSOs. to come forward and suggest
the government through such evaluation studies for changing
the image and fate of such schemes/programmes.
of the Report
Sri J. N. Singh, Consultant,
UPVAN, while presenting the report on
power point, told the audience that the National Programme
of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE)
was launched as a centrally sponsored scheme on 15th August
1995, initially in 2408 blocks of the country. Today NP-NSPE
is the largest feeding programme reaching on to about
12 corer children in over 9.50 Lakh schools across the
country. Barring few, all states were providing 3 Kgs
of wheat/rice per child per month. It was only after the
directives of Hon. Supreme Court that cooked Mid-Day-Meal
programme had to be undertaken by the state governments
after November 2001. In the state of Uttar Pradesh also
this scheme was initiated since 15th August 1995 in a
phased manner. In the first phase (1995-96) 248 blocks
of 38 districts were covered, while during the second
phase (1996-97) total numbers of blocks were covered.
During the year 2005-06 the scheme was in operation in
809 blocks of 70 districts, extending benefits to 1.86
corer children of 94000 primary schools. This scheme aims
at enhancing enrolment and stay of children in schools
by providing nutritional food so that the children could
gain health and take keen interest in education. Indirectly
it also envisages the promotion of social values and equality
through the common sharing of food by children.
of the Scheme in UP:
management of the scheme at the center, state, district,
block and village levels has been clearly stated in
the guidelines issued by the government of Uttar Pradesh
to oversee the implementation of the programme. According
to it a State Steering Committee has been constituted
under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Education.
This body is represented by the officers of the Panchayat
Raj, Planning, Finance, Urban development, Food and
Civil Supplies and Primary Education Departments.
state government has designated the District collector
as a Nodal Officer to ensure the effective implementation
of the scheme. He heads the District Steering Committee,
represented by district level officers of Education,
Panchayat Raj and Food and Civil Supplies Departments.
At the village level a committee has to be constituted
under the chairmanship of gram pradhan. Two male and
two female guardians are also designated as members
of this committee by the state government. Besides,
the Headmaster of the concerned primary school is also
designated as member.
main responsibility of the implementation of the scheme
at the village level has been entrusted to village pradhan.
norms of inspection of the scheme at the school have
been laid down in such a manner as to ensure the inspection
of every school as least once a month.
In order to achieve the objective a cooked Mid-Day-Meal
with nutritional contents, is to be provided to all
children studying in Ist to Vth classes:
scheme of providing cooked Mid-Day-Meal was initiated
in Uttar Pradesh since September 2004.
Sri Anurag Mishra, State
Coordinator VANI, New Delhi,
invited the participants to express their news
regarding the findings of the study. The views expressed
by participant are placed in subsequent paragraphs.
Sunil Singh, RAHI Foundation, Sitapur
appreciating the quality of study of Mid-Day-Meal conducted
by UPVAN expressed that although the scheme is laudable,
yet it is not being properly implemented, so as to put
forth the desired impact. He appealed the CSOs to come
forward for organizing a campaign for making the people
aware about the present status of the scheme and build
pressure on government to streamline it. Sri Singh narrated
the manner in which the data collection process of the
study raised awareness level amongst the Gram Sabha. During
the Focus Group Discussion on MDM in a village, the Gram
Sabha members became aware of the provisions under MDM
and forced the Pradhan to implement the scheme in its
Mr. Shailendra Singh, Lokmitra,
Raibareli appreciated the report and highlighted
the problems related to distribution of food. According
to him non-payment & irregular payment of the cook
& food distributors encouraged leakages in the scheme.
The only way to improve the functioning of the scheme
is to involve parents in monitoring the MDM. Presence
of parents on a rotation basis to oversee the cooking
& distribution of MDM is a must for a well-run MDM
Mr. Ram Kumar, Shashwat Sahbhagi
Sansthan, Mishrik, Sitapur,
spoke about how FGDs conducted as a part of data collection
for the study, raised awareness amongst the Gram Sabha
members. As a result, the Pradhan has increased the number
of cooks from one to two.
Bhadauria (Rtd.) Rural life Analyst praised
the methodology of the study, as all the anomalies shown
with scheme did exist at the ground level. He told that
the indifferent of the guardians and negative attitude
of the government officials are the key deterrent factors
in the path of successful implementation of the scheme.
He elaborated that all government run schemes have similar
problems. Awareness generation of the Gram Sabha is the
key to better functioning of the schemes. Thus, he suggested
that the report should be condensed in workable points
and distributed through pamphlets at the village level.
Khan, Professor of Economics GIRI Institute of Development
Studies, Lucknow, emphasized that the
report should be presented before the concerned government
officials. He did not like the implementation of the scheme
in the existing mode. He recommended that the government
should be looking all development schemes, especially
poverty alleviation that is ineffective. He instead suggested
that the BPL families should be a given a pension which
would increase the purchasing power of BPL Families.
Mr. J. N. Singh, UPVAN,
Lucknow informed the group about how the
concerned government departments were approached and copies
had been sent the Design of the Study and thereafter the
copies the Draft Report were sent to them, particularly
to Sri Kamran Rizvi, Director, Mid- Day- Meal authority
Uttar Pradesh us for comments. However, UPVAN did not
receive any comments from the concerned Departments.
Diwaker Bhatt, Coordinator UPVAN acknowledged,
the important role, the media has played in highlighting
the anomalies in the scheme. He suggested that media and
CSOs should join their hands in streamlining this scheme.
Meva Lal, gram Pradhan, coming from the
district of Kanpur Dehat told that in his gram Panchayat
there was problem of supply of good quality of foodgrains.
He brought it to the notice of the concerned officers
and presently he is getting good quality of foodgrains.
Appreciating the report he told that the suggestions placed
in the report, are worth translating in to action. He
assured the gathering that he would like to follow the
same in streamlining the scheme in his gram Panchayat
Sri Anurag Mishra advised that the government and CSOs
must work together on the issues of Health and girls education.
This way the schemes like Mid-Day-Meal can be effective.
In the concluding session Sri
Debi Prasad Gupta, Executive Member of UPVAN
and an established journalist expressed his concern on
the unfortunate state of affairs of Mid-Day-Meal scheme
which is of prime importance because in the state of Uttar
Pradesh about 40 % families are living 'below poverty
line and their children are not getting nutritional food.
He appealed the press and CSOs to come together for the
cause of the successful implementation of this scheme.
In order to make people aware about the provision of this
scheme CSOs should initiate a campaign. At the end he
thanked the participants for their participation and specially
thanked the UPVAN staff for bringing out such a qualitative
report on such a lively topic and in such an opportune