New Delhi: The mid day meal, meant to be a lifeline for many, was always touted as one of the central government's most ambitious scheme. However, repeated instances of negligence, like the most recent incident of Bihar where 20 children have died, are proving this wrong.
A day after the Chhapra mid day meal tragedy, CNN-IBN found that kids in the national capital are not only given substandard food but half of their food is being siphoned off by NGOs, which run these schemes. The minutes of the Programme Approval Committee of the HRD Ministry accessed by CNN-IBN show that A grade grain meant for the schemes supplied by the Food Corporation of India isn't reaching the unprivileged children.
The Centre for Study of Developing Societies also found that the quality and quantity given to the kids is less than that prescribed. "NGOs are selling A grade grain in the open market, they are siphoning off funds," former Mayor Farhad Suri claimed.
Nutritioninst Dr K Chugh said, "When you cook 100 gm of rice or wheat, its weight increases to 250 to 280 gm, which means kids aren't getting it all. While children aren't given vegetables as prescribed, hygiene also remains an issue.
The problem is the lack of checks. Not even a single rupee out of the Rs 52 lakh allotted for the evaluation of the scheme was used in 2010 and only 13 per cent of the allotted amount was used on 2011-2012. Despite this, the MCD continues to insist that it is doing the checks.
According to a survey by the government, 70 per cent of the students studying in government schools in Delhi were found anemic. The shameful data throws some light on the inefficiency of the mid day meal scheme.