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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Targeted Schemes & Programmes » Mid-day Meal Scheme



National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, popularly known as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM) was started in 1995 in an attempt to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance while simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children in school. It currently covers nearly 12 crore children. The main objectives of the scheme (as per the 2006 revision) are to:

  • Improve the nutritional status of children in classes one through five in government schools and government aided schools
  • To encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school regularly and help them concentrate in school activities.
  • As well as provide nutritional support to students in drought- ridden areas throughout summer vacation.

In October 2007 the scheme was revised to cover children in the upper primary section as well i.e. classes VI to VII. The Scheme estimates a cooked mid-day meal with a minimum of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in classes I - V. Upper Primary meals consist of 700 calories and 20 grams of protein by providing 150 grams of food grains (rice/wheat) per child/school day. The central government supplies state and union territory government with free food grains (wheat/rice) at 100 grams per child per school day from the nearest Food Corporation of India (FCI) go-down and compensation of the cost of transporting the food grains from the nearest FCI to the Primary school. The scheme provides assistance for meeting the cooking cost of Re 1 per child per school day.

The programme is being carried out by local authorities with assistance from village panchayats, village education committees, school management committees, parent teacher associations, etc. In rural areas the cooking is being done by women self-help groups. In urban areas, some NGOs have taken responsibility for cooking the food and bringing it to the primary schools. Free mid-day meals can achieve a great deal with regard to child education and health. They promote the participation of the child in school, reduce classroom hunger, facilitate the healthy growth of a child, promotes good eating habits like washing ones hands, finishing ones food, etc, and fosters social and gender equality as all children get the same food and must eat together.

It has been estimated that 8.41 crore Primary students and 3.36 crore Upper Primary Students i.e. a total of 11.77 crore students have benefited from MDM Scheme during 2009-10

For more information visit the MDM website
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