Maintain records of donations for midday meal: HRD Min

Maintain records of donations for midday meal: HRD Min

The Centre has asked Karnataka and other states to ensure that the schools under them maintain a separate register for the food items and donations they receive from the local community to provide meals to students on festivals and other special occasions as part of a supplementary food programme under the midday meal (MDM) scheme.

Issuing comprehensive guidelines for the implementation of such programmes, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has also asked them to ensure that only “freshly” prepared food items are provided to the school children.

“The expiry date should be checked in case of any packed items. The food items should contain adequate nutrients and should be palatable, hygienic, and operationally feasible. Vegetables, fruit and perishable food commodities should be selected fresh for consumption,” it said.

This is the first guidelines that the ministry has issued to the states for implementation of the supplementary food programme under the MDM scheme.

As many as 11 states have introduced this programme in their schools with local nomenclatures like 'Shalegagi Naavu Neevu' in Karnataka; 'Sneh Bhojan' in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra; 'Anna Dhanam' in Puducherry; 'Beti ka Janamdin' in Haryana, 'Tithi Bhojan' in Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Gujarat.

Under the programme, community members provide either a complete full meal or food items in the form of sweets, fruit, sprouts and other items, or donate for food provisions for students on special occasions such as festivals, anniversaries, birthdays, marriages, and days of national importance.

Highlighting its significance, the ministry urged all other states to introduce a similar programme either calling it as 'Tithi Bhojan' or using any other local nomenclature.

“States have been urged to adopt and introduce the programme as it does not only serve as supplementation of the nutritional value of the midday meal provided to children under the Centre-sponsored scheme but also help develop a sense of belonging among the community and a rapport with them,” a ministry official said.

The Ministry has advised the states to involve the district collectors in community mobilization for effective implementation of the programme.

“District collectors may make efforts for involving donors-individual, non-government organisations or other charitable organisations,” the ministry added.

The School Management Committee (SMC) members should also take an active part in the effective implementation of the progranmme.

“They may discuss ways for community involvement and mobilization,” the Ministry also advised.

A frequency or time schedule should also be prepared for the distribution of supplementary food to school children under the programme, it added.