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Midday meal scheme in the schools introduced by the government serves several purposes. Millions of children from the deprived sections of society get nutritious food leading to good health, are attracted to the schools, kept from going astray and developed into good citizens. The scheme may have some drawbacks too. Write an article in 150 – 200 words on all aspects of the scheme. You are Navtej/Navita

Answer

Midday Meal

By Navtej

The midday meal scheme in schools was initiated with the dual objective of improving the nutritional status of children in classes one through five in government schools and government-aided schools along with encouraging children from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school regularly. It is a measure taken by the government to ensure that by meeting the nutritional requirements of the students, they would also be helping them in concentrating in school activities.

The aim is also to keep children in schools, enable them to devote time to their education rather than leave the school to labour for food or get involved in criminal activities. The scheme estimates that a cooked midday meal provides a child with a minimum of 300 calories and 8−12 grams of protein to all children. This scheme was revised to cover children in the upper primary section, from the year 2007.

The programme is carried out with the help of the local authorities. However, certain issues have cropped up. There have been a lot of cases of food poisoning resulting from the partaking of these midday meals. In some schools, funds meant for such purposes have been funnelled off into the pockets of those in charge of distributing the grains.

The government must inquire into all aspects of the schemes, check the supply chain of food grains, impose strict measures for the observance of cleanliness in the school kitchens and ensure that the intention, with which the scheme was started, i.e. to help the students, continues to be the cornerstone of the scheme.