Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS): Objectives, Short Note on Mid Day Meal Programme UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Mid Day Meal Scheme was launched by the Government of India, under which it guarantees to provide a one-time meal to all the students in the government and government-aided schools and madrasas. The Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the Mid Day Meal Scheme in India to guarantee a one-time meal to students up to class 8 for at least 200 days a year. This is not a new scheme, as it was launched earlier in 1995 by the Central Government as the National Program for Nutritional Support to primary students. Later in 2007, it was renamed the Mid Day Meal Programme. This scheme is also covered under the National Food Security Act 2013.

Aspirants preparing for the Civil Services Exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission must check the free notes available here on Mid Day Meal Scheme UPSC as the direct questions are often asked from this topic in the Prelims and Mains paper.

What is Mid Day Meal Scheme?

The Mid Day Meal scheme is one of its kind and the biggest feeding program launched by the Government of India. Under this scheme, all the students enrolled between the class 1st to 8th in government or government-aided schools and Madrasas are eligible to enjoy a one-time meal for at least 200 days a year.

Mid Day Meal Scheme PDF

School feeding schemes are prevalent in developing nations not only because of their educational benefits but also for their nutritional benefits. Mid-day meal scheme acts as a source of “supplementary nutrition” for students, which helps their healthy growth. The nutritional support given by the scheme to children is given below.

No. Nutrition Primary Class Upper Primary Class
1 Protein 12gms. 20gms.
2 Calories 450 calories 700 calories

The main purpose of launching such a scheme was to increase the number of admissions to the school. States like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have actively participated in the Mid Day Meal programme and have implemented small initiatives like the introduction of the Kitchen Gardens, where the vegetables and fruits to be served to children are cultivated within the premises of the school.

Mid Day Meal Scheme in India

The history of the Mid Day Meal scheme in India dates back to 1925 by the Madras Municipal Corporation to fulfil the hunger demands of the disadvantaged children in the corporation. Despite all its economic opulence in certain areas, India lags in many social fields or parameters. One of them is child nourishment and nutrition. Forty-two per cent of Indian children under the age of 5 are underweight. Most of these children belonging to economically backward families are preceding schooling to supplement their family’s revenue. The most effective way to overcome this issue of poverty is through education. Education can drastically improve the quality of life of a family and the generations yet to come. When the necessities of a child, such as food or shelter, are not met, education often becomes the last priority.

  • In 1928, the Keshav Academy of Calcutta implemented a compulsory ‘Mid-day Tiffin’ program for school boys.
  • In 1941, Kerala started the School Lunch or School Meal Programme.
  • Gradually, by the late 1970s, the Mid day meal scheme was enacted in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Pondicherry. Slowly it started spreading to many other states too.
  • Considering the benefits and outcomes, the Government of India implemented this scheme nationwide. With this, the scheme was launched as the National Program for Nutritional Support to Primary Students, in schools, in 1995. Later it was renamed the National Mid Day Meal Programme.
  • In 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed an order for all the states to provide a properly cooked meal to all the students in school under Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS).

Launch of Mid Day Meal Scheme in India

The table provides the details of the launch of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the Indian States.

States of India Mid day Meal Scheme was launched in Remarks
Tamil Nadu 1923 Fully extended to State in 1982.
West Bengal 1928 Started in Calcutta city by Keshav Academy of Calcutta for school boys
Maharashtra 1942 A free mid-day meal program started in Bombay in 1995.
Karnataka 1946 Started in Bangalore city to distribute cooked rice and yogurt to children.
Uttar Pradesh 1953 It introduced a voluntary scheme to give ground-nut, boiled gram, rice, and seasonal fruits.
Kerala 1960 The scheme had been financially assisted by CARE (Cooperate American Relief Everywhere)
Bihar 1995 Started to give 3kg rice per month to students.
Andhra Pradesh 1995 Started to give 3kg rice per month to students with 80% more attendance in schools.
Madhya Pradesh 1995 Provided Dalia or dry ration
Rajasthan 1995 Students of Government Primary schools were provided with 3kg of rice per month.
Arunachal Pradesh 1995 Extended completely to all schools in 2004.
Punjab 1995 Students of Government Primary schools were provided with 3kg of wheat per month.
Haryana 1995 Implemented in 44 blocks of the state
Himachal Pradesh 1995 Dry ration was provided initially
Jammu & Kashmir 1995 the dry ration was provided initially
Meghalaya 1995 Students of Government Primary schools were provided with 3kg of rice per month.
Jharkhand 2003 It was implemented in 19 districts initially.

Objectives of Mid Day Meal Programme

The MDMS was launched with some specific objectives in Mind. It started with the idea of the humanistic theory of motivation, which states that the primary needs of a person affect his/her action. Following are some important objectives of Mid Day Meal scheme:

  • To increase the number of admissions in the schools and their retention, at least for primary education.
  • To increase the nutrition level of economically backward students by providing them with a nutritional meal.
  • To abolish the existing nutritional gap between girls and boys.
  • To reduce the system of casteism among the students and bring them on one common platform for education.
  • To eliminate classroom hunger.

Features of Mid Day Meal Scheme

The Cooked Mid Day Meal scheme proposed to provide a meal containing 8-12 grams of proteins and 300 calories to all the students studying in classes I to V in Public and government-aided schools. The Mid-Day Meal was introduced in all the public and government-aided primary schools in April 2002. In June 2006, adequate micronutrients like iron, folic acid, and vitamin-A were also included in the meals. Listed below are some important features of the Mid Day Meal Scheme in India:

  • It is the largest program in India that came to achieve the goal of a literate India.
  • The Mid Day Meal Programme was launched by the Ministry of Education, formerly known as the Ministry of Human Resources and Development.
  • It is a centrally launched scheme where the budget is divided between the center and state, and the center holds 60% of the total budget.
  • Tamil Nadu became the first state to implement the Mid Day Meal scheme in its schools.
  • In 2001, it was reformed as a cooked scheme where the children were eligible to get a fully prepared meal for 200 days in a year. The nutritional chart for this mail included an energy intake of 200 calories and a protein intake of about 8 grams.
  • Primarily this scheme was launched for the Government and government-aided schools. Gradually, this concept was adopted for the children studying in the education guarantee system and alternative and innovative education.
  • In 2004 the Mid Day Meal Scheme was revised for the following provisions –
    • The central government provides the cooking cost.
    • Transportation subsidy was imposed on states, where it was 100 rs. For the special states and 75 rs. For the other states.
    • Monitoring, evaluation, and management of schemes started by the government.
    • Providing the Mid Day Meal to the students during the summer vacations in the drought-prone areas of the country.
  • This scheme was again revised in 2006, with certain provisions-
    • The cooking costs were upgraded to rs .1.80 in the northeast regional schools and 1.50 in all other regional schools.
    • The calorie chart was revised, where the energy intake was increased to 400 calories, and the protein intake was increased to 12 grams.
  • In 2007, another category of students was added to the scheme. The students coming from educationally backward classes became part of the scheme.
  • In 2009, the madrasas were included in the list.
  • A very important and interesting part is that the students are provided with additional funds and meals under the National Rural Health Mission.

Mid Day Meal Scheme New Name (PM-POSHAN)

The Mid Day Meal Scheme has been renamed many times, and currently, it is called the PM Poshan Shakti Mission.

  • Under PM Poshan Shakti mission, the team successfully delivers meals to about 11 lakh Government schools.
  • In terms of finances, there is no major change as compared to the formerly existing Midday Meal scheme.
  • The PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme will be implemented after every 5 years, ie, 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • The finance distribution between the state and Centre remains the same as the Mid Day Meal programme, which is in the ratio of 60:40 in the case of general States and 90:10 in the case of special States.

Implementation of Mid Day Meal Scheme

The implementation of Mid Day Meal took place in three models:

  1. The decentralized model is where meals are prepared on-site by the self-help groups and the local cooks.
  2. Centralized model in which the preparation of meals is done by external organizations and delivered the food to the schools.
  3. The international assistance under which the charity organizations run internationally at the Government schools.

Mid Day Meal Rules 2015

The Mid Day Meal scheme rules were published under the National Food Security Act 2013 on 30 September 2015. The Mid Day Meal rules of 2015 are-

  1. Under the Mid Day Meal programme rules, the schools can utilize other funds in case the fund allotted for this scheme gets exhausted.
  2. If the school and external organizations fail to provide food to the children, then they are eligible for food allowances.
  3. The food served to the children in schools needs to be checked by the accredited labs monthly, which can be a random check.
  4. Suppose the students in a school don’t get food for three consecutive days or 5 days a month. In that case, it becomes the responsibility of the state government to fix the issue immediately through a person or any agency.

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Advantages of Mid Day Meal Scheme

Some of the advantages of the Mid Day Meal Scheme in India are as follows:

  • All the children who come in the bandwidth of age 1 to 8 years are eligible and entitled to get a healthy lunch packet daily, excluding the holidays.
  • The schools need to purchase the AGMARK grade commodities to prepare meals.
  • The Mid Day Meals are to be served to the students on the school ground only.
  • Every school needs to have a mandatory cooking facility to prepare meals.
  • The principal of the government school is entitled to use the other funds for a Mid Day Meal in case it gets exhausted. However, once they are refunded with the MDM budget, they need to return it to the government.
  • The state food and drug administration are entitled to collect the samples of the food provided to the children randomly to check the quality of the meal.
  • In case the food cannot be delivered to the schools due to unavoidable circumstances, the food allowances will be provided to the children, which is the number of food grains spent on one child’s entitlement.

Issues with Mid Day Meal Scheme

Behind every policy, there are some issues that need to be studied carefully so that appropriate actions can be taken to reduce them. Check the malpractices and issues with the Mid Day Meal Scheme as listed here:

  • Corruption: Corruption has been at the roots of the government system, and the MDM Scheme is also a part of it. There have been several cases where students were served plain chapati with salt and milk mixed with water.
  • Caste-Based Discrimination: The concept was initiated to bring all the students together, but there are cases of caste-based discrimination where children are made to sit separately according to their castes.
  • Menace of Malnutrition: the scheme was launched to curb the problem of malnutrition among children below the age of 10, but according to the National Family Health Survey, many states have been seen to record the rivers course and decreasing level of child nutrition.
  • Global Hunger Index: India has fallen back to the 101st position in the Global hunger index from 94 in 2020.
  • Global Nutrition Report: according to the Global nutrition report, there are no significant changes in the cases of Anaemia and childhood wasting in India.

Mid Day Meal Scheme UPSC

The Mid Day Meal scheme UPSC is part of the government scheme and current affairs. Since there are amendments, changes, and updates in the government schemes now and then, it becomes necessary for UPSC aspirants to learn about such schemes repeatedly in preparing for the IAS exam.

You can get the current affairs notes and the UPSC Study materials to prepare for the UPSC Prelims exam. Also, here you are facilitated with the UPSC previous year question papers that will help you to cover the topics more comprehensively.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme UPSC Question

Question – Consider the following options and choose the correct option given below-

What are the major indicators used for mapping the Global hunger index?

  1. Child Stunting
  2. Malnourishment
  3. Child Mortality

Choose the correct option-

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. All are correct
  4. 1 and 3 only

Answer – 3

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