The Mid-day Meal Scheme is an Indian school meal programme aimed at improving the nutritional status of school-aged children across the country.

On working days, the programme provides free lunches to children in primary and upper primary classes in Education Guarantee Scheme, government-aided, government, local body, and alternative innovative education centres, Maqtabs and Madarsa supported under the National Child Labour Project and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, schools run by the ministry of labour.

It is the world’s largest of its kind, serving 120,000,000 children in approximately 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres. This article will give you all the information related to the mid-day scheme.

Which Was the First State to Introduce a Mid Day Meal Scheme?

The government has taken several efforts, one of which is the Midday Meal Program. This refers to a programme that provides cooked lunches to all children in government elementary schools.

Tamil Nadu was the first state in India to implement this scheme, and the Supreme Court ordered all state governments to implement it in their schools within six months in 2001. The programme has had a lot of beneficial outcomes.

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What is the Objective of Mid Day Meal Scheme? Important for UPSC Notes

The main motives of the mid day meal scheme are

#To make sure that economically backward class children get an education. This can only happen when they get a meal of one time of the day

#Leading children to enrollment in schools, so that they can get regular attendance.

#To make sure that children continue studying after class 8th and retain them for classes one to eight.

#Providing nutritional support to children in the primary stage of the poor section of society.

How is the Scheme Implemented? UPSC Notes

The program is implemented in the form of three models

#International assistance: There are numerous international charity organisations that help in the aid of government schools and deliver their help.

#Centralised model: There is an external organisation, in the place of local on-site cooks. They cook the food and deliver it to the schools.

#Decentralised model: In this model, people prepare meals on the site with the help of local cooks, self-help groups and many other people.

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Criticism of the Scheme: UPSC Notes

There are various flaws that have been brought up for discussion

#Despite such comprehensive child development programmes, India continues to struggle with serious concerns such as wasting, mortality, stunting, and malnutrition. India’s ranking of 94 in the Global Hunger Index 2020 reflects this.

#Discrimination based on caste jeopardises MDMS’s goal – The National Campaign on Dalit Rights’ 2008 report to the UN Committee on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights also note that midday meals are typically served in upper-caste communities and that Dalit children are denied the meal during times of caste tensions to assert the upper caste communities’ dominance.

#According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 39% of children are chronically undernourished.

#The quality of food is frequently contested, with numerous media reports claiming that the food provided under the midday meals is causing children’s health to deteriorate.

Because many children do not have aadhar cards, linking Aadhar to the midday meal scheme has its own drawbacks, such as limiting children’s access to the MDMS.

Community Participation: UPSC Notes

The goal is to empower moms of children enrolled in the programme to supervise meal preparation and serving while maintaining effective vigilance. Mothers are urged to take turns overseeing the feeding of their children, assuring the meal’s quality and consistency. They only need to commit a couple of hours once or twice a month to this.

In the hiring of cooks and helpers, women are given preference.

Educating mothers about their responsibilities in the meal preparation and culinary monitoring.

Educating them on how their participation, as the primary stakeholder, will significantly improve the meal’s consistency and quality.

Educating moms on the important aspects of the programme that must be supervised by them.

Formalization of roster-keeping procedures so that mothers can take turns on specific days throughout the year and participate successfully.

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Committees that Monitor MDM Scheme – Facts to Know for UPSC Preparation

These are the committees that look after the program and see to it that they are correctly implemented.

Level  Committee Frequency of Meeting 
National The monitoring committee/national level steering

Program Approval Board (PAB)

State The monitoring committee/ state-level steering Quarterly
District The district-level committee Monthly
Municipal The municipal committee Monthly
Block The Mandal level committee Fortnightly
Village Panchayat level sub-committee Day-to-day functioning of the commission of the scheme
School Parent-Teacher Association or School management and development committee. Monthly and as when it is instructed


According to the nutritional guidelines, this is the minimum amount of calorie and food content per child which has to be given per day.

Item  Primary Class- from one to fifth class Upper Primary Class: Class Sixth to Eighth 
Calories 450 700
Protein (in grams) 12 20
Rice / wheat (in grams) 100 150
Dal (in grams) 20 30
Vegetables (in grams) 50 75
Oil and fat (in grams) 5 7.5

Way Forward: UPSC Preparation Notes

When children are malnourished or ill, they are unable to study well. As a result, children’s nutrition and health (including mental health) will be addressed through nutritious breakfasts and midday meals. This extension would assist to reduce the number of children who miss school due to hunger and increase enrolment.

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Since its inception in 1995, the programme has undergone numerous revisions. The National Food Security Act of 2013 covers the Midday Meal Scheme. The Indian school food programme has the same legal support as the National School Lunch Act in the United States.

The programme’s main motive is to educate children by providing them with the right nutrition levels. Hopefully, this article helped you to get all the important information related to the mid-day scheme. There is much more information that one can find on UPSC Pathshala to boost their score in the examination.

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In India which was the first state to introduce a mid day meal scheme? When did eventually the mid day meal started? What were the difficulties faced by the government? Get all the information here.
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