Conduct social audits of mid-day meal scheme, states told

Karnataka is one of the few states where the social audit has so far been done at least once since the HRD ministry made the provision. File Photo

The Centre has pressed all the state governments for ensuring the conduct of "periodic" social audits of the mid-day meal scheme.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked them to take "immediate" steps to facilitate holding social audits of the implementation of the scheme, underlining the significance of "public vigilance".

"No government programme can be successful unless and until it is fully supported by the public at large. Hence, through social audit, community participation can be attracted and channelised for the enrichment of the mid-day meal scheme," the ministry said in a recent communication to principal secretaries and heads of the education departments of the respective states.

The move comes as a majority of the states and Union territories continue to remain ignorant of the requirement of involving local community members and other stakeholders in monitoring the scheme through social audit, even though it was made mandatory under the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Karnataka is one of the few states where the social audit has so far been done at least once since the HRD ministry made the provision.

Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand and Tamil Nadu are the other states where the audits have been done. A social audit of the scheme was scheduled for last month in Mizoram.

The mid-day meal is a right of the children studying in government-run and aided elementary schools under the National Food Security Act.

Under the act, in cases where food is not served under the scheme, the students are entitled for food security allowance.

The state governments and Union territory administrations have also been requested to inform the ministry about "the entire exercise" of conducting social audits.

Under the mid-day meal scheme, there is already a provision for funding social audits.

"States can utilise the fund to support the exercise which is necessary for a collective monitoring of the implementation of the scheme by the local community so that corrective measures can be taken for better implementation of the scheme and also help check irregularities," the official said.

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Conduct social audits of mid-day meal scheme, states told

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