Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Jammu | Not a failure but faulty implementation

JAMMU: 12,500 Govt. Schools in Jammu province are presently serving the mid-day meal to children of weaker section of the society. The scheme initiated in the year 2004 in Jammu and Kashmir is running in a good state but at the cost of teacher’s pocket money.

58,800 (approx.) is the total number of children enrolled under MDM Scheme in Jammu Province and the delay in release of funds from centre to state and then state to schools is a major problem for teachers-cum-in-charge of the scheme.

Not just delay in funds is the problems for teachers to face but the divided attention between the job of a teacher and a mid-day meal in charge causes a distress among teachers. For proper implementation of mid-day meal on regular basis in schools, sometimes teachers have to buy grocery, LPG, and other food equipment from their own pockets. There is not even a well-furnished kitchen-cum-store in many a school and no standard guidelines are followed for checking the food quality. Though National Accreditation Board for Laboratories is regulated to check the MDM quality but no such actions are being performed in reality instead teachers themselves tastes the food and maintains possible hygienic environment with the help of cook-cum-helpers.

Apart from teachers even cook-cum-helpers are facing problems to drive the scheme as cook’s honorarium is never released on time and the salary they are getting is very low to which they are demanding a hike repeatedly. But nothing has been done so far by the Govt. to address their issue, said a cook Sushil Kumar.

The aim of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance among children but with poor implementation from govt. side it is difficult for teacher-cum-in-charge to regulate the scheme in a proper mechanism. Sometimes teacher skip their morning classes to buy vegetables and grocery from the market which disturbs their teaching job and ultimately sufferers are the students.Even it becomes difficult for teachers to get ration on credit as after a certain credit limit even shopkeeper withdraws to sell without cash, this problem arise due to improper functioning of govt. role in implementation of MDM Scheme.

In the era where a man loves money more than anything, just giving away one’s own money for betterment of others is a social deed and that might be the reason behind the stable functioning of the MDM Scheme in Jammu Province beside of the fact of improper regulation and delay in funds by government.

Nevertheless, Govt. has initiated an ARMS (Automated Reporting and Management System) Portal which provides information to the govt. about the total number of students who had food under the MDM Scheme per day per school. It is a pilot base online project which verifies the accountability of food served in each school. Such better initiatives by govt. can be proved helpful to run the scheme effectively.

 

The article is written by Yakita Somani

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Jammu Links News