The meeting, chaired by HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, decided to place more emphasis on quality, hygiene and safety aspects of the mid-day meal even as Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor is understood to have voiced concern over the paltry resource spent per student towards cooking cost. (Agencies)
Sources said that Tharoor wondered if the funds utilized per student were enough to meet the standard and nutritional aspects of the cooked food, with Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi supporting him.
The mid-day meal guidelines provide for cooking cost at Rs 3.34 for primary classes and Rs 5 for upper primary classes per child per day for purchase of pulses, seasonal green leafy vegetables, salt, oil, fuel etc.
The committee favoured utilizing the nearest emergency trauma services in case of any untoward incident as delay in providing treatment to the children was believed to have increased the fatalities in the July tragedy that had left 23 children dead after eating contaminated meal.
The mid-day meal coverage has increased from 104.6 million children in 2010-11 to 106.7 million children in 2012-13. In the twelfth plan period it was decided to raise honorarium of mid-day meal workers from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000.
Shahi said that his state has taken several measures to ensure better infrastructure for the scheme. Those schools which do not have the land to construct their own kitchen have been tagged with nearby schools, he said.
The Committee expressed satisfaction with the reduction in the number of poorly performing districts from 177 to 111, but exhorted Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh to focus on improving the facilities.
Reviewing the performance of the completion of kitchen- cum-stores, the committee appreciated the steps taken by Bihar and Maharashtra in completing the incomplete kitchen-cum-stores and asked the other states to take necessary measures to complete the kitchen-cum-stores to ensure safety, hygiene and quality of food.
The committee felt that appropriate steps need to be taken to enhance drinking water and sanitation facilities in all the schools in convergence with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
The Committee reviewed the work of 19 Joint Review Missions, which have been undertaken in different states, and desired that the meetings of the district level vigilance and monitoring committee under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament should ‘invariably’ be held at quarterly intervals.
The meeting, chaired by HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, decided to place more emphasis on quality, hygiene and safety aspects of the mid-day meal even as Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor is understood to have voiced concern over the paltry resource spent per student towards cooking cost.