Why the Rs 13,000 crore midday meal scheme still matters

As the HRD Ministry looks to review the implementation of the flagship scheme Anuradha SenGupta gets IndiaSpend founder Govindraj Ethiraj to explain the working of what is the largest initiative of its kind in the world.

FP Staff July 24, 2013 00:42:32 IST

The death of 23 children in the Saran district of Chhapra, Bihar after  consuming their school midday meal has put the union government's Midday Meal Scheme in the spotlight. The incident highlights once again how big policy initiatives are let down by poor implementation and monitoring at the ground level.

In the 2013-14 budget Rs 13, 215 crores were allotted to the scheme that was set up in 1995 and as on April 2012 the scheme had touched the lives of over 11 crore children.

Why the Rs 13000 crore midday meal scheme still matters

Mid-day meal scheme is the largest school feeding programme in the world. Seen here is a mid-day meal in a government school in Amritsar. AFP.

In its study of this scheme IndiaSpend discovered that while the scheme employs over 24 and-a-half lakh cooks across India this is still short of the number required.

The scheme that was created to increase student enrolment and retention has also worked at  reducing chronic malnutrition and providing employment to women, it found.

As the HRD Ministry looks to review the implementation of the flagship scheme Anuradha SenGupta gets IndiaSpend founder Govindraj Ethiraj to explain the working of  a scheme that is the largest initiative of its kind in the world.

Watch the entire discussion above.

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